P&Z board shoots down proposed gun range
By MICAH HENRY
A proposed shooting range on Teague Town Road has hit with opposition from the local zoning board. However, the matter must still be heard at the February meeting of the Alexander County Board of Commisioners.
On Thursday, January 10, 2019, at Alexander Central Auditorium, the Alexander County/Taylorsville Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing to consider Conditional Use Permit 18-2. The application is for approximately 68 acres of property owned by Hal Hefner and is located on Teague Town Road (specifically Parcel ID# 0002994).
Applicant, Landon Ferguson, is requesting a Conditional Use Permit to operate an outdoor shooting range on the property.
At the January 10 public hearing, approximately 30 residents spoke about the proposed land use, most speaking against the location. Many stated they were gun owners and wanted a shooting range, but disagreed with the Teague Town Road location as being too residential.
Of the nine member Alexander County/Taylorsville Planning and Zoning Commission, two members voted to recommend the conditional use permit, and seven voted against recommending it.
(Check back soon on this page, or see The Taylorsville Times print edition on January 16 for comments from the public hearing.)
Issue goes to County Commissioners Feb. 4
The recommendation made on Thursday, January 10, will go before the Alexander County Board of Commissioners at their February 4 meeting. At that meeting, there will also be a public hearing in which interested persons may speak. It will be held February 4, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. and the usual meeting place is CVCC Alexander Center for Education, Room 103 (main building).
A copy of the proposed plan is on file with the Alexander County Planning Department at 6125 NC Hwy. 16 South, Taylorsville.
Ferguson told The Times following the January 10 meeting that he plans to continue researching shooting ranges and will travel to such sites in the region to observe their noise-dampening methods.
Give the Mitchell family credit, they put great effort into their disapproval. They “ginned” up the residents and got them to come out and take part in the public hearing. There were some “stretches” to some facts given about the situation. I personally do not have “a dog in this fight” but I have lived on Church Road for 57 years 4 houses North of the Mitchell home. Since Christmas week there has been at least 500 shots fired in our neighborhood with numerous ones from Barrett’s Mtn. No one in the neighborhood has any idea who is shooting, what they are shooting or in what direction they are shooting. Just lots of it. N.C. Wildlife officer Chad Starbuck said this had been a problem for years but it is apparent no one has had an organized protest against it. Not even the couple of residents from the back side of the mountain that testified at the hearing about the interrupted peace and quiet the range would bring to the area.
There was a report about the Lead Poisoning and watershed contamination and all the harm that would create. The disregard of facts presented was the lead would be collected in water troughs and removed from the site according to EPA and ATF standards. Also stated was the skeet range would utilize steel shot. Ironically the Mitchells stated in an interview they shot skeet in their backyard so my question is where did that “lead” go? People who shoot extended range distance do so to “sight in” their guns not just to make noise. My own deer rifle costs about $2.40 every time you pull the trigger. That gets expensive to just shoot for fun. One of the Board truly had a “conflict of Interest” and should have recused himself from the vote even though it would not have made any difference other than his statement truly had an influence on the result.
I take issue with Mr. Frye’s remarks. The Mitchell’s with very little notice and very little time gathered facts concerning the proposed Shooting range. Were it not for them, many in the surrounding area would not have known about this proposal. Also, the resistance to the proposed site for the outdoor shooting range is overwhelming. Mr. Frye is correct that there is considerable shooting noise, but he is incorrect in saying that the shooting comes from the top, and along the ridge of Barrett Mountain. The noise I hear comes from the Bethlehem side of the area. This noise is intermittent and generated by private land owners. The idea that these people would go to a gun range and pay money to shoot when they can shoot for free at home does not make sense to me. What we would have is more shooting noise, not less. Another flaw in Mr. Frye’s argument is that people would not “just shoot for fun” because of the cost of bullets. As to Mr. Frye’s final point about the realtor on the Planning Commission recusing himself, the realtor’s point goes directly to the rules governing the Conditional Use Permits, and it is entirely his duty to point out where the request does not comply with the stated rules.
Mr. Frye states that he does not have “a dog in this fight”,and if he believes that we who live on the “back side” of Barrett Mountain do not have a legitimate complaint or “dog” in the controversy, he is just uninformed. The first home that we built is exactly on the side of the mountain of the proposed shooting range, and is currently occupied by my daughter and her family. Our current home that we built for our retirement sits on Bald Knob and sound travels from all directions. Most of our neighbors are retired and came here in search off solitude, peace and quiet. If everyone who is against the permit had spoken then we would all still be sitting there in the auditorium.
When we moved to Barrett Mountain over 40 years ago, there were only three families living here. Now there are 10 times that many and that does not include the new developments on the Bethlehem side of the mountain and in the Mountain Creek area. I believe the proposed site is too heavily developed for this shooting range and the lives and property values will be detrimentally impacted.