Panel gets update on firing rangeAfter a controversial decision last year to allow the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department to develop a firing range for training purposes, work could begin this year to make that training facility a reality.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
After a controversial decision last year to allow the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department to develop a firing range for training purposes, work could begin this year to make that training facility a reality.
“We are ready to proceed,” said Deputy Steve Olson, addressing the Douglas County Zoning Committee on the status of the range to be built in an old mine pit in the town of Bennett. He said after the committee approved conditional and land use permits for the project a year ago in May, garnered town board approval after a delay and successfully fended off an appeal from a neighboring property owner through the Zoning Board of Appeals, Olson said the sheriff’s department allowed the dust to settle on the controversy before proceeding.
While the county’s forestry department did preparation work at the site last year, construction of a building to be used at the range is still in the works.
The site, which has been used by local residents for target practice has a locked gate on the road to control access to the site.
Olson said the sheriff’s department hopes to begin pouring concrete for the project in June or July with construction of the building to follow.
Once the building is in place, the property will be posted no trespassing, Olson said.
Also, around the gate is poison ivy, Supervisor John Robinson noted.
Keith Wiley of the county’s zoning department, advised there would be an extension needed on the land use permit if the work is not started by May 17, a year from the date the permit was issued.
Committee Chairwoman Mary Lou Bergman commended the sheriff’s department with moving ahead on a project that will spare the county future costs to utilize privately-owned firing ranges for officer firearms training.
“I really appreciate the fact that you let the dust settle,” said Supervisor Nick Baker. “That was a smart move … it was a sensitive issue.”