O.C. residents up in arms over proposed shooting range
Mike Boyd and his wife, Ruth Christy, moved to this quiet, sidewalk-lined Midway City neighborhood 18 years ago, attracted to what they call an “old-fashioned” place to live.
But Boyd, 73, and a handful of other residents are up in arms about a proposed 6,380-square-foot indoor gun range in their neighborhood, an unincorporated area of Orange County that borders Westminster. Residents say the range would destroy their quiet, their property values and their peace of mind.
“I’m not opposed to a shooting range,” Boyd said. “It’s just a totally absurd place to suggest putting one.”
The 14-lane range would be built on the side of an existing business, Field Time Sports & Guns. Last month, the Westminster Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit allowing construction to begin, despite a staff report recommending denial. Residents have appealed the decision, and the City Council will weigh in at a hearing Wednesday.
Residents, who have toted petitions door to door, say a more appropriate spot for a gun range would be an industrial park, far away from homes. They’ve written protest letters to Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen and the Westminster City Council.
Advocates say that there aren’t enough shooting ranges in Orange County and that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for local, state and federal law enforcement to find places to train in Southern California.
Bob Wickes, the owner of Field Time Sports & Guns, said the busy traffic on Beach Boulevard makes more noise than the proposed range would. Numerous regulations would prevent unlawful amounts of lead from seeping into the environment, and the walls surrounding the range would be solid steel and concrete.
“There’s not a chance in the world that a bullet would leave this building,” he said.
Greg Caringella, who would own the proposed shooting range, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
City staff’s initial report to the Planning Commission concluded that the project would “infringe on the residential character of the surrounding residential land uses.”
Westminster Planning Manager Art Bashmakian said his staff rejected the project because it’s not compatible with the area and would share a property line with homes.
“Typically, shooting ranges are located within commercial and industrial zones as higher levels of noise are accepted in these areas,” the report stated.
The report also said that noise from the range would be audible, which is one of Christy’s main concerns. The 70-year-old retired library worker likes to garden, especially in her frontyard.
“We were planning to live here until we die,” she said by telephone while writing a letter to the police chief. “Now we’re thinking of moving if this thing happens.”
She said her neighborhood isn’t full of wealthy residents, so their homes are their biggest investment.
“Nobody is going to buy a house that’s adjacent to a shooting range,” she said. “Would you?”
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