Albemarle Commissioners Approve Site Plan for Training Facility

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People in Albemarle County aren't holding back when it comes to the police department's plans for a training facility.  The planning commission listened to public comment before making its decision on whether to approve a preliminary site plan.

A vote came down around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.  The commissioners approved the preliminary site plan with the recommendation that a final version is brought back for the consent agenda.

The commissioners made sure to stress that Tuesday night wasn't about a special use permit, noise or stray bullets; it was strictly to see if the site plan met improvement requirements. 

As it stands, the firearms range would be located on approximately 171 acres of land at the old Keene Landfill.  Although the commission said the issue isn't about use, that didn't stop people from speaking out.

Steve Blaine, a land owner's attorney, said, "And if you approve this tonight, then that vehicle for enforcing conditions that may be worked out among reasonable folks is not there, so we're asking you to defer."

"Stray bullets can travel for miles," said Laurel Davis, who lives near the proposed site.  "I live within a mile of this site. I like to walk in the woods. I like my child to play in the woods. I don't want to have to worry about her getting hit by a stray bullet."

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors already determined that the site is appropriate to use as a training facility during last week's unanimous vote to move forward on the project.

One of the commissioners asked the police department if it would be willing to delay for now, and the response was a polite "no."