WILMINGTON -- Chris "Kip" Adams, an owner of the Adams Farm, attended the last part of a hearing regarding a proposed paintball course on the property and defended bringing the activity there.
"It is an Adams Farm endeavor," he ensured neighbors. "We have the petting farm there. We have the animals. I don't want them shot. I don't want the public at the farm getting shot. We're going to make sure that doesn't happen."
Although it was not and did not need to be warned, most of the attendees who opposed the project at the previous meeting were at the Development Review Board meeting on Monday, June 2.
Adams and his wife Tina Cullen had applied to the DRB to install two paintball courses on the property at 15 Higley Hill Road. Farm employee Jim Knabe represented the applicants at the previous meeting on May 19, where he said an Act 250 permit would be issued. The hearing was kept open so that more maps could be entered as exhibits. Some neighbors believed that the map was not accurate and asked for more details.
This time, Knabe brought former professional paintball player Ryan Todd to alleviate some of the worries having to do with noise. Knabe mentioned that when shot, the paintballs for sale at the farm would reach 27 decibels and no other paintballs could be used on site. DRB member Wendy Manners believed a normal conversation reaches about 50 decibels.
Knabe also said he had experience running paintball events in Tennessee and will be supervising any games held at the farm.
"If we don't do this in a professional manner, our insurance won't cover it," he added. "We'll have to train some other people on the farm. We're trying to use people to the best advantage so there's no down time."
For insurance purposes, there can be no more than 30 people on each of the proposed courses at a time and no more than 60 altogether. If there are 30 for one game, two officials will be need to be watching in the style of a referee.
Neighbor Beth Jennings Leggiere, who had voiced strong opposition to the project at the earlier meeting, brought her own copies of maps to show the board. She thought it would be close to her property.
"There's no paintball that's going to go that far," said Adams. "The closest house will be my own."
Abutters called for policies and procedures to be spelled out before a permit is granted, along with hours of operation. The size of the course was a question that lingered before the hearing was closed.
"I just feel like this is above and beyond farming activity," said Leggiere. "I went to the zoning office and there were six files in there since we moved in here in 2006 ... Bands and bonfires one time, I can deal with. This is every single day they're asking to do it."
DRB Chairman Peter Wallace reminded her the board needed to remain objective and assured her that the board heard all the testimony given during the hearing.
At the previous meeting, Steve Adams, a neighbor and member of the family, brought up the struggles of keeping the farm within the family and supported the project. As its current owner, Chris Adams spoke of how they needed to do something soon to keep it going.
New operations that include a slaughterhouse are part of an effort on the owners part to keep the farm within the family.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.