Planning Commission Hearing on Central Virginia Sporting Clays Expanding Operation

Fluvanna Planning Commission Hearing on Central Virginia Sporting Clays Expanding Operation

Virginia Citizens Defense League
Virginia Citizens Defense League

Covington VA –-(Ammoland.com)- Last night over 80 people attended the Fluvanna County Planning Commission hearing on the request of Central Virginia Sporting Clays (CVSC) to expand its operation.

The meeting ran for over 3 hours and had a lot of speakers.

The range's owner, Brad Landseadel, made some opening remarks about the requested change to the range's Special Use Permit (SUP).

Brad did an excellent job remaining calm, factual, and professional at all times.

After Brad spoke, the Commission started taking input from the citizens in attendance. There were quite a few speakers against the range.

A summary of the anti-range speaker's points:

  1. The distant pop-pop-pop of guns “day and night” has destroyed my life! My kids can't play in the yard because of the popping! (Never mind that the range has limited hours everyday and that no one complained about noise for 4 years and only did so after being contacted by the County on the new proposal.)
  2. I moved to the country to get away from sound! (What do you say to that?)
  3. NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard syndrome). Some of the anti-range neighbors were self-professed gun owners and hunters, who no doubt can, and do, shoot on their own land. Good for them to be able to do so, but many of us are not that fortunate and need public ranges so that we can enjoy shooting
  4. While people shooting guns are supposed to wear ear protection, people living a mile away shouldn't need hearing protection to sit in their yard (I kid you not – some of the gross exaggerations were mind boggling)

One of the first anti-range speakers had seen the VA-ALERTs where I said the range's neighbors were being mean-spirited. She denied this. Whether she personally fit that description is debatable, but some of the other neighbors most certainly did. For example, one neighbor, who claimed to to be an “expert,” said that each shooting position on a sporting clays range was actually a range in and of itself and CVSC was therefore operating illegally since their current SUP only allowed for one range. Another neighbor opined that allowing the Boy Scouts to camp on the property overnight was a breech of the current range SUP. Quite a few of these “nice” folks were clearly hoping to get the range in legal trouble.

A measurement of sound by some of the Commission staff showed a minimal sound impact within 1/2 mile of the range. Mr. Landseadel, using his own high-end decibel meter, found that the gunshots were below the normal noise level of a human conversation as measured on his own property limits.

The one thing that was clear from the hearing was that the County was not planning on revoking the range's current SUP, so no matter what happens the range can continue to function. I'm sure that was a surprise to the neighbors who were hoping that the range would be completely shut down. That puts Mr. Landseadel in the catbird seat, as he can operate currently on Sundays and also have as many competitions as he would like right now (albeit with shorter hours than he would like). To get longer Sunday hours and have the ability for shooters to shoot in an alternate direction, he was willing to make some concessions, including limiting the number of special events during the year and only asking for longer Sunday hours during those events.

When I spoke, I made the following points:

  1. Shooting is as American as apple pie
  2. We need more ranges in Virginia, not less
  3. Virginia law protects ranges from noise ordinances (15.2-917)
  4. The sound of shots dissipates quickly and is nominal at a fairly short distance
  5. Sound readings taken in Hanover actually had crickets drowning out the noise of gunshots from a range 1/2 mile away

THE VOTE

When the vote finally came, the Commission decided to NOT recommend the new SUP by a 4 to 2 vote.

AND A CIVICS LESSON

The Commission has no power, it can only make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. So we need another big turnout when this comes up before the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors to counter the anti-range neighbors. I expect that will happen on Wednesday, March 16th at 7 PM in the Circuit Court Room on the main level of the Fluvanna Courts Building.

Oh, and the Planning Commission members got between 500 and 800 emails from VCDL, depending on which Commission member you asked 😉

About:
Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right. Visit: www.vcdl.org