November 13, 2012
The Albemarle County Planning Commission made a decision on a controversial proposed firearms range in Keene.
The Commission approved a preliminary site plan for the range but asked the final plan be brought before the consent agenda.
Everyone in public comment asked the board not to approve the range, citing noise and safety as main reasons not to build. People said property values would decline, that calibers can exceed boundaries of the range and hearing health standards, that lead from bullets would leach into the environment, and noise scaring farmers' animals, and more.
"We make our livelihood off our land and that section of land is going to be unusable," said Pol Colman, Jr., an Albemarle County farmer.
Staff responded to the public's concerns saying they will have an environmental stewardship plan, will work with a lead contractor, and that police will have a safety plan. Staff also stated that they are going above and beyond NRA recommendations.
"I was very disappointed in the response of the planning commission to the entreaties and concerns of the public," said Dr. Bill Tunner, an Albemarle County Resident. "They didn't seem to care about the public good."
Two members of the board did vote against the range's approval.