Greene Co. Planning Commission Holds Public Hearing on Gun Range
People for and against a proposed shooting range in Greene County came out to a public hearing held by the Planning Commission Wednesday night. More than 200 came out to participate and get information. The crowd was about evenly split on a requested special use permit needed by the applicant, Lyle Durrer.
Durrer says the gun range could keep $600,000 - $800,000 in the county each year. Opponents worry about safety concerns and noise issues for neighbors.
“The number one question in the gun shop: “Where can I shoot,” says Lyle Durrer, owner of a gun shop called Big Iron Outdoors, LLC and the applicant for the Greene County permit. Durrer and his wife want to convert two acres of their 105 acre farm into the shooting range. The proposed range would be built near Route 29 and Route 33 in Ruckersville.
“As a Planning Commission, we also need to look at Greene County in a larger perspective. It's not just the neighbors who own houses. It's where it is in Ruckersville and what our comprehensive plan says,” explains Jay Willer, chair of the Planning Commission.
Some nearby homeowners say the location is not the right spot for a semi-outdoor gun range. “Many are regular shooters that belong to other gun ranges. So it's not anything to do with the second amendment, the right to carry arms, but we are concerned about the design and or the location,” says Mark Norman, who opposes the special use permit.
Besides safety and noise issues, opponents say lead dust could contaminate groundwater. “They're going to discuss whether or not this might impact the value of homes. I'm going to tell people if they find elevated levels of lead in the water over and above the CDC's recommendation, you can forget about revaluing homes,” says Norman.
“Safety, noise, neighbors, all those concerns. We're dealing with professional range people. We're dealing with professional acoustical people. This isn't something you just go out and start building. This has to be done right,” says Durrer.
After the Planning Commission decides whether or not they want to support the special use permit, the proposal will go before the Board of Supervisors. The board will then host its own public hearing on the issue.