Archive for Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Shooting range issue remains undecided

November 29, 2006

Joseph and Cheryl Nave's plans to open an outdoor shooting sports facility remain in limbo.

At a hearing Monday to consider the Nave's request for a special-use permit, Leavenworth County commissioners referred the request back to the county's planning commission.

The planning commission again will consider the Nave's request for a permit at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13. The planning commission earlier recommended to the county commission that the Naves' request be denied.

Chris Dunn, Leavenworth County's director of planning and zoning, said this will give the planning commission an opportunity to consider a safety report prepared by Robert Sedlacek, a National Rifle Association technical team adviser.

Dunn said that shortly before Monday's hearing began, he received the report, which included safety recommendations for the shooting range.

Sedlacek suggested the Naves, who plan to operate their range at 25299 4-H Road, raise the berm on the far side of the range to 20 feet or higher. Currently, according to the report, the berm is about 12 feet high. Sedlacek also advised the side berms be raised to heights of 12 feet.

Sedlacek noted the area's topography, which is slightly rolling.

"The topography of the area does not enhance the safety margins since the range and improvements of the adjoining (downrange) landowner are at similar elevations," the report reads.

Sedlacek included a list of seven more recommendations, one of which was that the Naves keep a log detailing when the shooting range is used, who's shooting and any other details that might be pertinent.

Sedlacek prefaced his report by noting his recommendations are not requirements of the NRA -- but merely suggestions.

The Dec. 13 planning commission will be the third planning commission hearing for the Naves, as well as for their neighbors, who've opposed the proposed commercial shooting range and have signed petitions against it. The first hearing, on Oct. 11, was continued to Oct. 25, when the planning commission voted 4-2 against the special-use permit.

Dunn said about 20 people attended Monday's county commission hearing. He said the decision to send the request back to the planning commission was not a popular one.

"I believe a lot of the audience was disappointed," Dunn said. "I heard that from both the applicants and the opponents."

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