Grandview residents stand their ground on noisy shooting range
By Kathy Feist
“During the day I cannot stand to be in my yard when shooting is going on. In the night time I cannot stand to be in my yard when shooting is going on.”
Retired physician Paula Davis was one of eight Grandview residents who appeared at Grandview City Hall on September 23 to voice displeasure with the noise coming from a new state-of-the-art shooting range that opened September 9. Around 25 other neighboring residents crowded the hall in a show of support.
The shooting range, located in a former softball field located on the west end of Grandview on Main Street and Arrington Road, is used by the Grandview Police Department. It was approved by voters in 2014 as part of a no-tax-increase bond issue. Up to now, the police had been using a natural outdoor berm shooting range some 200 feet away. The new version is a 10-lane, 300-foot-long outdoor shooting range made of concrete walls.
“These 10-foot conrete walls magnify sound,” explained Mike Rainy as he addressed the mayor and city aldermen. “They act like an open megaphone that faces the houses.”
So far, the city has addressed the noise issue with new shooting restrictions such as banning rifles and no shooting after 8 p.m., as well as a plan to plant hundreds of trees to act as a natural noise buffer. But residents were not convinced of the trees’ effectiveness.
Jeanette Peterson lives on a farm that is separated from the gun range by the heavily wooded 42-acre MRI Global property. “Thousands of trees do nothing,” she retorted. Others pointed out that the greenery would take four to five years to mature.
Complaints ranged from environmental lead poisoning from the bullets and lack of safety once open to the public, to the effect the shooting has on veterans with PTSD, children with development disorders and frightened pets.
No one questioned the necessity for police to practice target shooting.
All were concerned about decreasing property values.
“We love Grandview. We love our subdivision. But right now, I can’t imagine trying to sell a house with machine guns going off,” said Mark Mahaney, a realtor who lives in the nearby Fountain Lake subdivision off Blue Ridge Boulevard.
Property values in the surrounding area range from $100,000 to $380,000. “We have a right to reasonable enjoyment of a homeowner’s property,” voiced Nancy Ward, who invested heavily in her home along scenic Robinson Pike Road.
Many would like to see the range enclosed or moved.
Rainy suggested encapsulating the shooting range inside a large hangar that would allow for target practice on moving vehicles as well as practice in dark conditions during the day.
He recommended moving it to the former Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base. “Based on lawsuits and the loss of property values, it would be less expensive to move,” he said.
Sue Yerkes, director of Grandview Parks and Recreation, helped select the gun range designer TRS Range Services based in Idaho for the project. “We are aware of the noise issue and are trying to mitigate it through vegetation,” she said. “We are also working with TRS to find other ways to mitigate the problem.”