IOW board’s decision frustrates community

Published 6:42 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2019


Last Thursday the Board of Supervisors approved the placement of an institution that went completely against the community affected. That community did all that could be done to voice their concerns about this project. They wrote letters, made calls and sent emails. They went door-to-door and gathered petitions. They showed up at the public hearing by the hundreds. Many stood on their feet for five hours or more to speak and voice opposition. Most spoke passionately, eloquently and convincingly against how this would affect their community. The Windsor Town Council voted unanimously in opposition. Concerns included little to no financial return at such high cost to the county, the highly visible location, the lack of criteria for the initial goals set for the industrial park, the complete loss of oversight by the county that comes in deeding land over to the state (no real estate tax, no machinery and tools tax, forever), and lack of consideration for other much more suitable locations across the state of Virginia.

Rarely in my previous six-year tenure on the board have I seen a community speak with one voice in one direction so clearly to an elected board called to represent, and be, their voice.

I was personally lobbied by county staff for support and asked not to speak against this project (a request to which I could not agree). It was then stated they were lining up their own people. I believe these actions crossed the lines of necessary neutrality required from county staff on such issues.

The Board of Supervisors has decided to put a highly suspect institution not well suited for the location in a long-established community whether that community wants it or not. It is a gutting of justice. It makes a mockery of the calling of elected officials. It leaves an entire community frustrated at the political process. And it is wrong.

Rex Alphin