Letter supporting Simmons for Botetourt County Republican Committee Chair
I am writing this letter in support of Chad Simmons, who is running for re-election as the Botetourt County Republican Committee Chairman. The Committee exists to promote the principles of the Republican Party, to elect Republican candidates to public office, to assist the citizens in the districts served by the Botetourt County Republican Party, and to assist elected Republican officials in carrying out their responsibilities. Under his leadership, our Committee has doubled in size, and continues to successfully support and elect Republican candidates at all levels of public office. I have known Chad his entire life, and I am happy to provide this letter of support on his behalf. Please join me in supporting Chad by turning out to vote at our Republican Party Canvass on March 19, 2022 at Lord Botetourt High School between 10 am and 1 pm.
Dick Bailey, DVM
Chairman Botetourt County Board of Supervisors
Letter endorsing Pugh for Republican Committee Chair
An important election for Botetourt County Republican Chairman will be held on Saturday, March 19, at Lord Botetourt High School from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. I would encourage you to vote for Carol Witt Pugh.
Carol is a graduate of Lord Botetourt and Radford University. She worked for National Security Services in law enforcement for 35 years, and is now a local farmer. She is a true conservative who values responsibility and accountability in elected officials. She has Christian leadership qualities that will bring empathy and respect to the Republican Party. She is a grandmother, mother, and lifelong resident of the county.
She appreciates the historic culture of the county and will work to preserve and foster the environment that we all enjoy here. She will work within the party to improve life for all county residents, and believes strongly in schools that support our children and teachers. She plans to work diligently to increase the membership of the party. She will change the face of the party by welcoming a new generation of conservative voters. She plans to work within the school system to achieve that goal by enhancing the membership of the Botetourt County Young Republicans.
She will bring harmony and cohesion by planning social events as well as scheduled monthly business meetings every month. She will bring positivity, integrity, and a different perspective to the party. She will bring a welcome change to the party through open and honest communication.
There are but a few of the qualities of a strong Chairman and she has held multiple leadership positions in the past. I believe Carol Witt Pugh is the best person for this important position, and I would encourage you to vote for her this Saturday.
Botetourt County Resident
Letter endorsing Pugh for Republican Committee Chair
I have volunteered to work for Republican campaigns for the past 40 years in various locations. I moved to Botetourt ten years ago because I enjoyed the hometown environment where I spent most of my childhood. I recently decided to become involved and reconnect with the Republican Party of Botetourt after being invited by a friend to attend a meeting.
I immediately sensed that the atmosphere in the room was not inviting, tense, and not at all what I was accustomed to seeing in the Republican Party meetings that I had been involved with elsewhere. The meeting quickly disintegrated into chaos and I was appalled at the lack of respect shown to attendees. Everyone seemed to be talking at once and there was no order or civility. I began to wonder if I had stepped into a Democrat or Republican meeting. The mood became hostile as attendees struggled to be heard. Important issues were on the table that needed to be discussed and I thought, “If Republicans are going to quarrel in the manner within our own party, how are we going to join forces against the opposing party?”
It appeared the meeting had been orchestrated by a few people to control individuals and limit any measure of free speech that Republicans hold dear. The chairman’s inability to control the meeting and then improperly adjourning the meeting to stifle voices was unprofessional and unkind. I actually felt like I was in an unsafe environment.
For the first time in my life, I felt ashamed to be a Republican. It is for this reason that I have decided to support Carol Witt Pugh for chairman of the Botetourt County Republican Party. I feel she will bring respect to all members and bring dignity back to the office of chairman.
Letter supporting Simmons for re-election
I am writing this letter to support Chad Simmons, who is running for re-election as Chairman of the Botetourt County Republican Committee. The Chairman leads the Committee in their goal to support and elect Republican candidates throughout the County. Chad has been a steady and consistent leader for the Committee, and has kept the Committee intact and effective, even during COVID restrictions. I am asking my friends, family, and supporters to come out and vote for Chad Simmons for Chairman of the Botetourt County Republican Committee. The vote will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, at Lord Botetourt High School in Daleville, Virginia.
Sheriff, Botetourt County
Trepidation regarding potential Buchanan convenience store
I’m writing this message to the people of Botetourt County to convey my trepidation about the planned Truck Stop for the exit 162 area (Mill Creek, Hardbarger Road) in Buchanan.
I have just recently learned of this project and the fact that our Board of Supervisors may be considering the approval for a development company to place 20 acres of asphalt, as well as a full-service, overnight truck stop in the area across the road from the Botetourt Event Center and Hughes Transport. I am hoping that this letter will open the eyes of my fellow Botetourt Citizens of the possibility of this and to garner support in telling our Supervisors that WE DO NOT APPROVE!
I have lived on Hardbarger Road since 2007. There, my wife and I have raised two boys, 13 and 6 years old, now. I have worked diligently to improve my property, as I have appreciated my opportunity to live in such a wonderful area of the county and this nation. I have neighbors who have spent their lifetimes settling in this area, raising families, building their vision of the “American Dream.” I have neighbors who have their retirement homes in various stages of construction—symbols of their cumulative efforts of hard work, perseverance, and their resilience in the pursuit of the “American Dream.” I watched families move to this area, just as my family did, in admiration of the beauty and peacefulness that comes with living in this part of the county.
I recently learned that all of what I cherish about living here is under any immediate threat of dissolution. At this very moment, our county is determining if they will allow a development company to place what they call a “Convenience Store” approximately one-half of a mile from I-81, exit 162 onto US-11. The initial plans for this “Convenience Store” are to provide Over Night Tractor/Trailer parking, high flow fueling stations, Sheetz-branded storefront, with full-service facilities to accommodate tractor-trailers, all situated on 20 acres of asphalt. 20 Acres—directly across the road from Mill Creek.
The initial numbers of through vehicle traffic to this “Convenience Store” is estimated to be between three thousand and six thousand vehicles per day. A simple study of the through traffic at Whites Truck Stop located in Rockbridge County indicates an average through traffic number of six thousand per day. How, without major modifications (which there are no plans for at this time), will those exits, northbound and southbound, account for that number of vehicles, let alone large tractor-trailers. Imagine the congestion and the traffic hazards that this will cause. Imagine the all too often traffic accidents on I-81 causing spillover onto Route 11. How can the town of Buchanan handle that kind of traffic?
Imagine the environmental impact. Just yards from this proposed site sits Mill Creek, a tributary to Looney Creek, feeds the James River just behind Limestone Park. The James is a major contributor already to the pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. After years of clean-up efforts and countless studies on the environmental impacts of run-off to our beloved Bay, are we to go backward in the name of revenue—revenue that benefits a development company that is not even located in Botetourt County? I remember sitting on a plane speaking to a gentleman years ago on a flight from Atlanta to Roanoke. He spoke about how he volunteered to collect water samples to measure the pollution levels of our local water sources. I remember him specifically speaking about how Mill Creek was already threatened by heavy metals from run-off. Can we only assume the developers have such care for our waterways to take this into account before they pave 20 acres with asphalt for a collection of fueling stations, anti-freeze fill points, and possible truck washes just yards away from this lovely stream?
The answer is: they don’t. They don’t live here. Initial reports indicate that because of the proposed location, the site will have to drill its own well, as well as a leach field-type septic system. Imagine the impact on the surrounding area’s water supply. Imagine the amount of water it would take to operate a large truck stop providing 24 hours of service. This may sound selfish, but the idea of sharing my already low-pressure supply, as well as allowing the grey and black water from a truck stop to go into the same watershed as my drinking supply, are not what I imagined when my family chose this location to live.
I know it is not what the hundreds of my neighbors envisioned whenever they decided to raise their families here. I know it’s not what countless visitors, tourists, and shoppers seek to discover whenever they visit, or maybe one day settling in our great county.
Do we not remember the truck stop at exit 150 before it was finally demolished? Was that considered a “Convenience Store” as well? I remember beginning my career in law enforcement quickly learning about the drugs, prostitution, human trafficking, and countless other illegal activities that took place there. It was rumored that the cost of enforcement in that area far outweighed county proceeds in tax revenue. Have we forgotten so soon?
Fellow citizens, I implore you to quickly take notice of what our Board of Supervisors is considering. Please write, call, attend the meetings, and let them know your stance. We need to preserve the treasure of this area. Will the permission of this project allow for future projects at exits 156 or 168? An initial review of the proposed zoning changes from agricultural to commercial may allow that.
To my Board of Supervisors, I implore you to consider the safety of your citizens on their road-ways, the environmental impacts, as well as the law-enforcement ramifications that this potential TRUCK STOP will impact. I urge you to preserve what your citizens call home. I am one of many who are against this project. Would you want to look out your home’s window to see a TRUCK STOP? Would you want to hear the TRUCK STOP from your front yard?
Letter concerning Buchanan convenience store
For about three months, there have been conversations among Buchanan area residents about the prospect of a truck stop coming to Exit 162 on Interstate 81. Some residents were under the impression it was a conventional Sheetz convenience store. In fact, it would start off as a 20-acre project that consists of a Sheetz-branded store (a facility that will not be owned by Sheetz) with high-flow diesel fuel pumps, 50-60 parking spaces for tractor-trailers, overnight parking, and so on.
The county is considering changing our zoning to accommodate such a facility at any Botetourt interstate interchange. There are so many reasons why such a facility is inappropriate for Exit 162 or any exit along 81 in Botetourt County.
The prospect of tax revenue for the county sounds appealing as if it will save money on residential real estate taxes. However, according to a former Board of Supervisor involved in the nightmare when we had the truck stop at Exit 150, the revenue collected was more than eaten up by the costs to the county in responding to calls for law enforcement. There was a great relief when that truck stop was closed.
The former Exit 150 truck stop, unfortunately like most truck stops, was known for crime, drugs, prostitution, and human trafficking. Does the county want a repeat of that at Exit 162? Area residents sure don’t. While jobs generated are a consideration, is that an environment where our area residents would be safe working?
The old Exit 150 truck stop was 11 acres. Imagine the proposed truck stop at up to 20 acres? Nearly twice as horrific as the old truck stop. It will start at that size, but who knows how big it will get over time?
The Valley of Virginia is known for its karst topography, characterized by sinkholes and interconnected underground caverns. This is evident in the area around Exit 162. Because there are no public utilities at Exit 162, the proposed truck stop must drill its own well and build its own septic system that thousands of people will be stopping to use daily. Do we see potential issues with nearby homes and farms, given the volume of water that would be used at a truck stop and wastewater and sewage put into the ground? Also, this proposed facility is across from a creek that feeds into the James River. What about diesel fuel leakage?
The proposed truck stop will be located across from the Exit 162 southbound exit/entrance ramp. Exit 162 northbound and southbound ramps are controlled by stop signs at Rt. 11. Presently few tractor-trailers use this exit, and as any local resident can attest, it’s difficult for tractor-trailers to negotiate the interchange. Now imagine thousands of tractor-trailers a day trying to move within the confines of this small exit. VDOT reports that the two stop signs do not qualify for replacement by traffic signals because they are too close together. Worse yet, VDOT reports that there are no plans for reconfiguring Exit 162. So it will start off as an accident-prone deathtrap and evolve from there.
Responsible development at Exit 162 would be a good thing. The property to be sold for this project is owned by a man everyone likes. He is entitled to sell his land as any of us are. But a facility of this scale with the environmental concerns, located at an already inadequate interstate interchange, is not responsible development. For property owners, particularly those close to the truck stop, how will their quality of life change? How will this affect their properties?
This ill-conceived project must not happen. At their May meeting, the Board of Supervisors will vote to accept or deny the change to the county zoning regulations that would permit construction of such a truck stop. This zoning change would apply to all four Interstate 81 exits within the county, so if it is passed, a truck stop could be coming to an interstate exit near you, starting with Exit 162. Citizens of the entire county should contact their county supervisor and discourage them from voting in favor of this zoning change and altering the beauty and peacefulness of Botetourt County. It is a very bad idea.