Last week V.A.S.T. in Augusta county Virginia was denied a Special Use Permit by the Augusta County Board of Appeals that would allow them to continue to have their launches.The battle was over being able to launch rockets on agricultural property. This is another sad blow to the hobby. Chuck Neff and the VAST team put up excellent arguments but still the board voted against them. This is just an example of how easily quality launch sites can be lost because of an ignorant and misinformed public. A study released this year shows that the U.S. ranks 29th in science education in the world. This is a dismal statistic. It’s acts like this that only solidify that number.
Most of the launches that I attend take place on agricultural property. We must put forth some effort to curtail the misinformation, counter the arguments and pay forward. Perhaps an email to the Augusta County board to complain their decision would be a start.
What’s next? According to Chuck Neff,
“The next step is to decide whether or not we want to appeal the Boards decision. We have 30 days to file an appeal and although I don’t know all the details about the process, it is my understanding that a District Court judge (possible not associated with Augusta County) hears the case. This would possibly mean a more impartial hearing, but still would not guarantee a victory. There’s also the financial aspect to take into consideration since an attorney would be required.”
At least the local Cartoonist agreed with our cause in the Sunday paper: