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Taking aim in Spring Valley

Published: Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 3:49 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 3:55 p.m. CDT

SPRING VALLEY — On Wednesday, the city of Spring Valley is taking its next step in allowing indoor gun ranges in Spring Valley.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, the city’s planning commission will meet to create an ordinance for the proposed gun ranges.

The Spring Valley City Council began discussing the indoor gun ranges in September 2012.

In November, the council approved changing its zoning code to allow for the ranges in certain zones with a special use permit.

On Monday, Spring Valley City Attorney Tom Tonozzi said the planning commission members have already received a packet of material to read and study.

Spring Valley Planning Commission member George Forsa said he and a number of other people had researched the issue, including visiting several existing gun ranges and reading other communities’ ordinances on indoor shooting ranges.

“We’re building an ordinance for our code book that doesn’t now exist,” he said.

Although at least two Spring Valley businesses have expressed an interest in opening a shooting range, Wednesday’s meeting is not in response to any petitioner. After an ordinance is approved, the petitioners will apply according to those rules and regulations.

Tonozzi said the meeting will allow the planning commission to make a recommendation on the ordinance that would then be considered by the city council at its next meeting.

Tonozzi said the meeting would be divided into two parts, with the first part addressing the physical requirements of the building.

The second part will be more detailed and cover the rules and regulations under which the shooting ranges would operate.

“No drinking, that kind of thing,” Tonozzi said.

While the no drinking rule might be easy to agree on, there could be more debate on some of the other rules.

For example, will the shooting ranges be limited to .22 caliber rifles, or would high-powered rifles be allowed?

Another question would be about ammunition. Could shooters bring their ammunition with them, or would they be required to buy it on-site?

Tonozzi said he has seen some cities with vague ordinances on indoor shooting ranges, but he wants Spring Valley’s to include all the “nuts and bolts.”

“We need to have an ordinance to enforce,” he said.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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