Archive for Wednesday, November 15, 2006

County commission to consider permit for shooting range

Area residents file protest petition

November 15, 2006

Last Wednesday night, Leavenworth County's planning commission voted 4-2 to deny a special-use permit for Nave Outdoor Shooting Sports Facility.

Now, the decision of whether the commercial shooting range will be allowed to operate rests with county commissioners. The county commission will consider Nave's request at 1:30 p.m. Nov 27.

In July, Joseph and Cheryl Nave, who live at 25299 4-H Road, about 10 miles northwest of Tonganoxie, applied for a building permit to construct a gazebo.

On the Web

According to Chris Dunn, the county's planning director, when a county employee visited the site he realized the proposed structure wasn't a gazebo -- but part of a commercial shooting range.

Dunn located information on the Internet about the Nave's firearms business, M.R. Arms Company.

According to the Web site, the firm "is a full-service firearms dealer and training facility."

Dunn realized the firm's business was of the type that required a special-use permit. In late August, Dunn notified the Naves, who then applied for the permit.

The firm provides instruction on courses offered by NRA, including training for law enforcement officers. They also offer training for Boy Scout merit badges, and trainer courses for Boy Scout leaders of shootings sports programs. And, with the state's concealed-carry law set to take effect in January, the firm has held classes for people seeking licenses to carry concealed weapons.

On M.R.'s Web site, the most recent training program at the site was an Oct. 28, "Cook Out Shoot Out," event. This event, which cost $50 to attend, included a covered-dish dinner, as well as these classes: "Response Training for Real Life Situations" and "Shooting at Threat Targets."

The process continues

As part of the permit application process, the county notified residents who live near the Naves.

Since then, the neighbors have united to prevent the county from issuing the permit, primarily because of safety concerns.

At two planning commission meetings -- on Oct. 11 and last Wednesday, neighbors presented their concerns.

And last Thursday morning, residents who live within 1,000 feet of the Nave property submitted a petition protesting the special-use permit.

Dunn said about 30 percent of those in the protest area signed the petition.

When 20 percent or more sign a valid protest petition against a proposed SUP, it will take a unanimous vote by the county commissioners to approve the permit. If only one commissioner votes against it, it will not pass. Dunn said Tuesday that the petition was valid.

The planning staff has recommended approval of the application with 17 conditions.

Currently the shooting range encompasses 10 acres of the Nave's 80-acre site. However, the Naves have asked for the permit to apply to their entire 80 acres.

In Dunn's report, he said the site has a gently rolling topography.

And, Dunn said, noting the range's open-top design, as well as its location and alignment, has "an inherent potential for errant rounds that may endanger off-site residents."

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