The people spoke and the leaders listened

Published 9:35 am Wednesday, July 27, 2016

When you elect people to represent you on any level of government, naturally you expect that they’ll listen to you, though that’s not always the result. Just ask the people concerned about the Camp Parkway project.

Thankfully, though, the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors paid attention to the people of Walters last Thursday evening.

How could they not? That’s when scores of residents crowded the boardroom, hall and downstairs to make their voices heard and obeyed: No public shooting range in Walters. Ever.

The repeated concern was that allowing people to frequently fire guns of various types would create an intolerable level of noise pollution, one that would ruin the quality of life the townspeople have cultivated for decades.

The protests might seem to stem from yet another case of “Not in my backyard,” and to a degree it was — but many of the speakers gave concrete examples of how the proposal, if passed, could seriously affect them both personally and financially.

They also gave evidence that the safety of family and friends would be jeopardized by how the range would be physically structured.

As one speaker put it, the supervisors who ran for office said they’d listen to the voters and now was a time to prove it.

To the credit of all who spoke, they behaved respectfully by listening to other viewpoints and not continually interrupting those in opposition.

That’s a significant contrast to the session before the Planning Commission back in May.

We commend the people of Walters for channeling their passion into professionalism before the supervisors, and suggest that might have steered the decision-makers to their way of thinking.

The supervisors get a pat on the back not because they voted as most in Walters pleaded, but because that they acknowledged the concerns and responded with informed empathy.