S. Carroll residents to appeal zoning OK for shooting range


Some South Carroll residents plan to appeal in Carroll Circuit Court this week a county zoning board's decision to allow an indoor shooting range at the Eldersburg Business Center.

Baltimore attorney Dennis Hoover, a South Carroll resident, agreed to waive his fee to handle the appeal, resident Shelley Counts said.

Residents will raise money to pay court costs, she said. She wasn't sure what the costs would be.

Mr. Hoover is a partner in Siskind, Grady, Rosen and Hoover, said Cynthia K. Hitt, a senior partner in the firm who is helping with the appeal. The firm represents the Town of Sykesville, she said.

The deadline to file the appeal is Thursday.

The Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously April 27 to allow Top Gun Indoor Range Inc. to open at the Eldersburg Business Center on Route 32 across from Liberty High School.

Pikesville attorney Jay L. Liner and Arbutus home builder Joseph R. Twilley plan to open the business this fall. It would be the first indoor range in Carroll.

Residents said they did not object to an indoor range, but to the location. In the business park, the range would be next to Super Sports Inc., a recreation sports arena popular with children. Residents said they feared guns might discharge accidentally in the parking area and injure children.

The residents decided to appeal at a May 3 meeting of the South Carroll Coalition, a citizens group. Seventeen people attended the meeting at the Eldersburg branch of the Carroll County Public Library.

They agreed to appeal if they could find a lawyer to work for free. An appeal would cost $2,500 to $3,500, Coalition President Kathleen Horneman said.

About 40 residents signed a petition asking for a court appeal of the zoning decision, Ms. Counts said.

In its written decision, the zoning board said opponents' arguments that opening an indoor range at the Eldersburg Business Center would "promote irresponsible and unlawful acts" by range customers were unfounded.

Opponents did not show that the range would have more adverse effects at that location than at another location in the industrial zone, the board wrote.

At the zoning hearing, Mr. Liner and Mr. Twilley testified that they will hire a security guard to patrol the parking lot during peak hours at the sports arena. Instructors will teach gun safety courses at the range, they said.

They said the 6,600-square-foot range will have 16 25-yard lanes and will be open to the public seven days a week. Handguns, small-caliber rifles and shotguns will be allowed. Customers will pay $10 an hour to use the range.

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