Monday, April 20, 2015
Coopertown, Robertson County, Middle Tenn
Gun Range Gets A “No” Vote In Coopertown
Monday night the city of Coopertown held a special Board of Zoning Appeals meeting to cast the final vote on whether or not to permit an outdoor gun range to be operated at a residence located at 3285 Ott Wilson Road.
The entrepreneur behind the proposed new facility is Mike Barnett, a man with many years of experience with firearms, firearm safety and training. His plan is to open a training facility to teach gun safety.
As you can see by the number of the adjacent property owners that attended tonight’s meeting, Barnett’s excitement about the new facility has not spread to his neighbors. People living around the proposed facility came to express their concerns about safety, lowered property values, noise and traffic they believe the new facility would bring.
The vote by the Board was by no means fast, the meeting started at 5:00PM and lasted for two hours. The air conditioning for the small room was a little over taxed for the number of residents that showed up for the meeting. In addition, the board was very thorough, looking at every factor carefully. The thoroughness of the board and the number of residents that came to be heard made for a long two hours.
The residents were a little frustrated that their opinions on the proposed gun range would have little affect on what the Board did. The decision was not going to be based on a community vote, it was to be decided on one simple fact, did the new proposed business meet fifteen requirements set by the city.
At the very end of the two hour deliberation (and after a good number of residents spoke out against the new facility) the Board voted, the decision, no.
The (unanimous) no vote by the Board was based on what they perceived as a failure by Mr Barnett to meet all of the fifteen requirements set for an outdoor gun range to operate at the proposed location. The Board says Mr Barnett failed to meet four of the fifteen requirements.
The four requirments the Board says Barnett did not meet are:
(ii) A berm shall be present at least twenty (20) feet high in height at the rear of the berm, at least eight (8) feet in height at the sides of the berm, four (4) feet wide at the top of the berm. Any berm must be designed and certified by an engineer licensed by the State of Tennessee, as adequate. (no engineering drawing for the berm)
(iii) The rear of the firing range must be set back at least one thousand feet (1,000) from any occupied structures or roads.
(xii) A site plan shall be required pursuant to the requirements listed in Article VIII, Section 8.030(D). In addition to the site plan, the owner/developer shall submit a sound abatement plan and a safety plan. The BZA may require additional fencing, buffering, baffles, or may deny the request if the site plan does not or cannot meet the abovementioned purposes, standards, and requirements, or if other significant health and safety issues are present.
(xiii) In addition to the required application to the BZA, said applicant shall provide notice to existing landowners within five hundred (500) feet of the property in question. Click here to see the full list of requirements.
Barnett, said he’s prepared to take it to the next level. The next level is a higher court in Springfield. If Mr Barnett does take his appeal to Springfield he’ll need to prove that he did in fact satisfy all of the fifteen requirements.
Appealing will require Mr Barnett to spend money on attorneys, a process that could become expensive if it were to drag on for too long.
Did the response from the community (which included a petition against the gun range presented to the Board tonight) have any affect on the vote? One official we spoke to said “no” but Smokey walked away wondering how anyone with the power to vote tonight could have completely ignored the elephant in the room.
Smokey will follow Mr Barnett as he makes his way through the courts in Springfield. As soon as a decision is made, we will bring it to you.
What do you think? Did the Board make the right decision tonight?
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