2 hearings scheduled on planned gun range


Residents concerned about a proposed public shooting range at the Northern Landfill will, beginning tomorrow night, have two opportunities to let county commissioners know how they feel.

The commissioners decided earlier this month to place a shooting range at the landfill near Westminster rather than at the Hoods Mill Landfill in South Carroll.

County Recreation and Parks Department officials will answer questions about the proposed 10-lane range at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Carroll Springs School on South Center Street in Westminster.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, the commissioners will hold a public hearing on the shooting range proposal at the County Office Building.

The decision to forgo the Hoods Mill site for the one near Westminster was regarded as a reaction to strenuous community opposition near the South Carroll landfill.

But, according to Recreation and Parks Director Richard Soisson, opposition to the Northern Landfill site is brewing.

"We're starting to hear the same types of complaints," Mr. Soisson said Friday. "They [opponents] are beginning to mobilize."

The commissioners' July 13 vote to place a range at the Northern Landfill occurred nearly four years after they abandoned an earlier plan for a range there. That plan was scrapped, amid environmental concerns that have been addressed since, officials said.

The plan approved by the commissioners calls for a 10-lane, 250-yard range that they hope could accommodate more than 1,000 customers a year.

Although it would be a public facility, the commissioners would pay only for site preparation, a fraction of the $35,000 construction cost. The Carroll County Sportsmen Association would pay the rest.

Mr. Soisson predicted that neighbors of the Northern Landfill site would voice the same complaints that residents near the Hoods Mill site did in opposing a shooting range there.

VTC Residents in South Carroll who opposed the Hoods Mill site said they feared that a public gun range would be dangerous, noisy and an environmental hazard.

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