Shooting range plan to be withdrawn Sportsmen's Association seeks new site


The Carroll County Sportsmen's Association will withdraw its proposal to put a public shooting range on county-owned property on Rinehart Road, association President Steve Scherer said yesterday.

He said the association invited owners of land bordering the site to a meeting Wednesday evening, and about 55 people attended. He said it became clear that many neighbors opposed the plan.

"We're going to take the results of the meeting back to the Rec Council," Mr. Scherer said. "We're going to withdraw the site."

Mr. Scherer said the association is an umbrella group of 13 recreation organizations, with about 1,200 members.

He said the meeting Wednesday was not confrontational, but those attending raised several strong objections. Noise, increased traffic, injury to property values and supervision of the site were major concerns, he said.

"The biggest concern was that it would be unsupervised and open, basically, to anyone," said Stephen McDaniel, who owns land bordering the site and is on the advisory council of Hashawha Environmental Appreciation Center, near the proposed shooting range.

He said the Sportsmen's Association had said it would require anyone using the site to undergo training, but that if the site were unmanned, there would be nobody to enforce the requirement.

Mr. McDaniel also said the range would be noisy. "It's just a very quiet place. That's why people like to live there," he said. "The sound there would be very, very intrusive."

Another neighbor, John Untener, said the noise would bother the ostriches he raises on his farm. "They sort of like their privacy," he said yesterday.

He said he has seven ostriches and hopes they will produce 30 to 40 chicks over the next three months. Lots of noise and an influx of people might upset the birds, he said, and that could cause the females to lay infertile eggs.

Mr. Scherer said there are no public shooting ranges in Carroll County.

He said there are about six private ranges, but there are waiting lists to join them.

He said three private ranges in the county had closed when new housing crept closer and made them unsuitable.

Carroll County needs more shooting range space, he said, because the population is growing and more people are taking shooting courses and looking for places to practice.

Some people are now shooting on their own land, he said. Association members say a range would offer a safer, more controlled alternative.

Mr. Scherer said, "We've looked at 10 sites. We still have couple more on our list."

He said the best site would be the Northern Landfill off Route 140, east of Westminster.

It has good access, there is no housing nearby, and there is a temporary shooting range there used by police, he said.

Mr. McDaniel said he thought opponents of the proposed range left Wednesday night's meeting satisfied after Mr. Scherer announced he would withdraw the plan.

"That's what people really wanted to hear," he said.

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