Monday, July 1, 2013

U News: Meetings: Pittsylvania County legislative committee meets tomorrow @ 4 PM. On the agenda is amendments to the Zoning Ordinance regarding uranium mining. Also BOS meeting at 7:00pm, other stories

Great comments from our friend, PRIDE!

June 30

Comments from KM:

The u-news appears to be slowly simmering, but the is a lot boiling at the bottom of the pot. 
Reminder:  Pittsylvania County legislative committee meets tomorrow @ 4 PM.  On the agenda is amendments to the Zoning Ordinance regarding uranium mining.  Also BOS meeting at 7:00pm
The following article  appeared on the R&B papers:  Time for facts in mining debate
I am skeptical regarding the editorial's actual authorship because it reads so similarly to others of this nature.  This editorial is odd, lacking teeth.  Here are some observations. 
* Dunlap states Southside deserves an honest discussion about uranium mining in Pittsylvania County.  There has been discussion, most notably the NAS and UWG meetings.  If PEP Southside is not satisfied, perhaps they should stop whining and start holding some public forums which present both sides of the issue instead of simply whining on behalf of VUI. 
* Mining opponents have not intentionally misinformed or misled anyone.  Why would they?  What's in it for them?  Nothing. 
* Dunlap claims "alternate feed" won't be used at Coles Hill.  How the hell does he know?  Truth is, no one knows until VUI (or whoever owns or will own the operation) submits an application for permit to the NRC.  Even then, the permit can be amended to accept alternate feed.
* My favorite is Dunlap's hope that you are stupid enough to think that unearthing and processing radioactive material, using blast materials and chemicals is the same as leaving the ore in its natural state.  We eat, digest and defocate the food we eat.  No one complains when we eat.  Nor do they complain too loudly when we burp or fart.  But, take a dump at the table, and it's not sanitary...kinda' ruins the ambiance of the meal.
* Dunlap professes to know how VUI will dispose of tailings.  Again, it is unknown how tailings would be dealt with unless a permit was issued by the NRC.  The NRC would recommend how to store tailings, because that is the NRC's job.  It can not garantee the safety of any measure it recommends.  Dunlap's references to Sen. Watkins and Del. Miller are sickening.  Neither represents Southside.  Southside's elected officials have rejected the writing of regulations because their constituents have expressed their concern, based on the scientific and anecdotal evidence availabe, that they are not willing to accept the risks involved.
* Now, call for the Whaa-whaa- wham-bulance.  Dunlap attempts to defend PEP Southside's motives saying that southsides farmers, businessmen and citizens want uranium mining?  The state Farm Bureau rejected lifting the ban.  The Danville-Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce, after extensive research, rejects lifting the ban.  Citizens throughout Soutside have expressed in unity their desire to Keep The Ban.  It is more than obvious that PEPsouthside is an arm of VUI's PR push.   Where has this silent majority been for the past few years?  When someone wishes to debate/discuss an issue, they welcome the opportunity to do so.  PEP southside appears neither co
Time for facts in mining debate
The Editorial Board | Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013 6:00 am
By Chris Dunlap
The people of Southside Virginia deserve an honest discussion about uranium mining in Pittsylvania County. We deserve a discussion based on science and facts that informs us, rather than stirring up our fears and emotions.
Unfortunately for too long, mining opponents have deliberately misinformed and misled this community, and appealed to our fears and emotions. People for Economic Prosperity who support uranium mining in Pittsylvania County, we’ve had enough. We’re tired of the reckless misinformation and scare tactics, and we’re not going to stand for it any longer.

The most recent example is the outlandish claim made by Katie Whitehead and other uranium mining opponents that Virginia Uranium plans to open the Coles Hill facility in order to import uranium waste from outside of Virginia.

Lastly, I must address the personal attacks Whitehead and others have made against the People for Economic Prosperity by questioning our interest in the health and safety of this community.

We have nothing to gain financially from the Coles Hill project, other than a shared future prosperity for our region.

We all drink the same water and breathe the same air. If we weren’t absolutely convinced that uranium mining could be done safely and under strict regulatory control, we wouldn’t support it.

But we are not guided by fear or emotion. We are guided by science and facts. And the facts are clear: Uranium mining will be done safely, and it will be strictly regulated. That’s why we support the Coles Hill project, and that’s why we won’t let mining opponents obscure the facts any longer.
 Comments from KM:  What do sex stores and uranium mining have in common? These appear to present similar constitutional issues regarding count "bans".
Pittsylvania County’s targeting of two local stores for selling sex toys and pornographic DVDs poses constitutional concerns, said legal experts.
  The county’s director of code compliance recently ordered two stores — Shhh ... Intimacy on a New Level in Mount Hermon and Lovely Lady Lingerie in Ringgold — to close.
  Code Compliance Director Odie Shelton cited violations of the county’s zoning ordinance as reasons they should shut down. Stores selling sex toys and pornographic DVDs are not permitted businesses in Pittsylvania County, Shelton wrote.

Trish Post, owner of Shhh ..., has appealed the county’s order, and a public hearing will be held on the matter Sept. 10 during a meeting of the Pittsylvania County Board of Zoning Appeals. The county is allowing Post to keep her business open pending the outcome of the appeal.

Post, who sells sex toys at her business, stopped selling pornographic DVDs before receiving the county’s letter ordering the store to close.

Lovely Lady Lingerie, which the county ordered closed in a letter dated June 11, reopened Thursday after the owner stopped selling adult novelties. The store offers lingerie, hosiery and Halloween costumes.

However, the county’s action raises problems under the First Amendment, legal experts said.

“The sale of adult books and videos may be limited to certain areas, but not prohibited altogether,” Glenberg said. “To the extent that the ordinance purports to ban pornography everywhere in the county, it is unconstitutional.”

Josh Wheeler, an attorney and director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, agrees with Glenberg.

“The county’s arbitrary use of this zoning ordinance sounds constitutionally suspect to me,” Wheeler said.

Pittsylvania County’s ordinance, which Shelton cited in his letters, gives a long list of permitted items and stores — more than 100 — plus others allowed under special-use permits. But two permitted establishments — “gift shops” and “novelty shops” — are unclear, given the county’s orders, Glenberg pointed out.

Also, the ordinance does not list any type of book or video stores as permitted uses in the General Business District (B-2).

“If, as the county claims, any retail stores not expressly listed in the ordinance are prohibited, then the exclusion of bookstores and video stores also violates the First Amendment,” Glenberg said.
Danville’s zoning ordinance allows adult stores under a special-use permit in the (M-1) industrial manufacturing district.

Marshall Ecker, chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, said he personally opposes allowing adult stores anywhere in the county. But he acknowledges the ordinance poses constitutional concerns. It illustrates the need for the county to enhance its ordinance to zone those types of establishments in certain areas, Ecker said.

Adult stores should be limited to sections in the county away from schools, churches and residential neighborhoods, Ecker said.

“They shouldn’t be in a community-type setting,” Ecker said.

Chatham-Blairs Supervisor Brenda Bowman, who notified Shelton of Shhh ... after a nearby business owner alerted her about it, said she was mainly concerned about the store’s location near homes and not far away from a church.

“I’m certainly not trying to hurt any businesses in the county,” Bowman said. “It’s a matter of looking at our ordinance, what we can have and where.”

Everyone has the freedom and the right to patronize any store they want, but the establishment’s location — which is in Bowman’s district — was a concern, she said.

That the county does not require business licenses further complicates the issue. However, by ordering the stores to shut down after they’ve opened, the county is requiring business licenses — in a way — after the fact, Wheeler said.

“They’re giving themselves the authority to come in after the fact, and deciding what’s allowed based on what they don’t like,” Wheeler said.

As for obscenity, mainstream XXX pornographic movies depicting consenting adults do not meet its definition, said Phil Harvey, founder of Adam & Eve, an adult video and sex toy distributor headquartered in Orange County, N.C.

The definition of obscenity was set forth in the U.S. Supreme Court case Miller vs. California. The county’s definition of obscenity appears identical to the state’s statute, which has been upheld by the Virginia Supreme Court and is similar to what was established by the U.S. Supreme Court, Glenberg said.

In order for something to be found obscene, the average person, “‘applying contemporary community standards,’ must find that that the work, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;” the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition also examines whether “the works depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

Pornographic movies with depictions of violence, inclusion of excretory functions, sexual acts with animals or underage performers may meet the definition of obscenity, Harvey said.

The county, however, did not cite its obscenity ordinance in its letters to the owners of Shh ... and Lovely Lady Lingerie

“Whatever the zoning board decides at its appeals process, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end of the matter,” Wheeler said.

Post told the Register & Bee Friday she may take the matter to court is she loses the appeal.
Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee.
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