An overflow crowd jammed the normally sparsely-attended monthly meeting of Floyd County Supervisors Tuesday for a 66-minute public comment session that brought complaints about a proposed windmill energy farm, roaming packs of animal-killing dogs, the proposed comprehensive plan and other issues.
Some of the throng remained to hear a local activist threaten the county with a class-action lawsuit over what he calls “discrimination” through selective enforcement of the subdivision ordinance.
Most speakers during public comment session opposed a proposed wind generator farm on Wills Ridge or urged the county to enact new laws to curb roaming packs of dogs that invade other homeowners’ property and attack pets or livestock.
“I am a dog person,” said Eric Underwood of Little River District, who urged creation of an ordinance to punish dog owners whose dogs run in packs and attack other animals. “The problem is irresponsible owners, not the dogs.”
Fred Jones of Little River said he has had to shoot and kill “a marauding dog” that came on his property and urged the board to step up enforcement.
“It’s time for the county to end its philosophy of shoot, shovel and shut up,” Jones said, adding that “a dog may be man’s best friend but it can be a neighbor’s worst nightmare.”
Residents from different county districts also complained about the roaming dogs while others came to the podium to oppose the proposed wind generator development along Wills Ridge.
Wayne Boothe of Courthouse District presented a petition with 426 signatures opposing the wind generators. Boothe expressed concerns about blasting to build the facility.
Raymond St. Clair, a resident of Ridgewood Road, noted that “we have a water problem” in Floyd County and said the blasting could damage a fragile water ecosystem.
Dave Dixon of Courthouse District said wind generators serve corporate greed, not environmental interests.
“The only thing green in wind energy today is the color of money,” he said. “I don’t think we should give away our ridge tops for the greed of corporate America.”
James Connor opposed a proposed 500-foot height limit on structures in the county, noting that such a limit would prohibit cell towers and hurt phone service. Connor said he leases part of his land for a cell phone tower. The height limit is proposed by opponents of the wind generators.
One resident from Indian Valley spoke in support of the wind generators.
Among other issues that arose during the comment period:
—Elizabeth Aldridge expressed concerns about the county’s proposed comprehensive plan, saying it “seems like we are going from zero to Roanoke County in three votes;”
—Joe Turman of Burks Fork, a candidate for supervisor, asked the board of reconsider its planned closing of green box sites in the far reaches of the county, noting that the closures could force some residents of his district to drive 16 miles to another site;
—Mary Osborne of Burks Fork also opposed the Green Box closings;
—Linda Wagner of Courthouse District asked the board to do something about deteriorating sidewalks in Floyd;
—Bed and breakfast owner Jesse Lawrence, who is also a candidate for the school board, urged supervisors to seek a one percent meals tax similar to the one used by the town, saying it would give the county much-needed revenue;
—Chamber of Commerce president John Getgood asked the board to reinstate funding for county promotion ads in tourism publications;
—Former Little River Supervisor Kerry Whitlock asked the audience to applaud Board Chairman David Ingram for 23 years of service on the board. Ingram lost his bid for re-election in Saturday’s GOP canvass.
In another matter not part of the public comment period, Rev. J.C. Holden of Copper Hill—a frequent speaker at public hearings and board meetings—threatened the supervisors with a class action lawsuit and accused the county planning commission of “discrimination” in what he called selective enforcement of the subdivision ordinance.
Holden was granted a 30-minute spot on the agenda but spent nearly an hour delivering what he called “the doctrine of laches” outlining a 20-year fight over land sales. The legal dictionary on the web site Law.Com defines laches as “the legal doctrine that a legal right or claim will not be enforced or allowed if a long delay in asserting the right or claim has prejudiced the adverse party (hurt the opponent) as a sort of ‘legal ambush.’ “
“I hereby state publicly that incremental usurpation of my God granted unalienable rights is an inherent component of the Floyd County subdivision ordinance,” Holden said in a three-page document delivered to the supervisors, “and that I shall endeavor by all peaceful means strive to reverse the repressive and dictatorial powers of local and regional government. “
Holden told the board that he has talked with an attorney who says he has grounds for a class-action lawsuit against the county