The Sheep Range mountains' craggy face overlooks a group of homes at Las Vegas' northernmost edge, forming a majestic and serene backdrop for a neighborhood that juts like a finger into the desert.
Now, as Clark County pushes ahead with plans for a 2,900-acre shooting park at the foot of the mountains, some residents worry they will lose the serenity that enticed them to build or buy upscale houses there.
They imagine a fusillade of shotguns reverberating from morning until night when the park's $64 million first phase is finished. And they claim no one informed them about the shooting range before they invested in their homes.
"I would not have lived here, and I would not buy it today," said Theresa Nolan, 50, who can see the site of the future park from her bedroom window.
Nolan and her husband, Bill Dubois, 61, paid about a half-million dollars for their house two years ago and have sunk tens of thousands of dollars into it.
County officials say residents are fearing worse noise than will actually materialize. The gun park will be a mile from the nearest houses. The sound of gunfire will fade to 57 decibels by the time it reaches the neighborhood, about the level of a soft conversation, said Don Turner, the county's gun-park expert.
Turner said he used scientific data on how sound travels to determine the decibels.
"So basically it's going to be background noise," Turner said.
The county originally planned to put the park closer to the neighborhood, but then spent $3 million to $4 million moving it farther away to avoid disturbing homeowners, Turner said.
Still, many residents aren't convinced that they can coexist with a shooting range that could cover 900 acres and be the largest gun park in the nation if the county completes all the phases in the coming decade.
Neighbors will meet privately with county officials today to air complaints and seek answers.
"We really feel let down by our public officials," said Lorraine Lennard, who has lived in her house for two years. "We were not given the right to decide."
Lennard said she and her husband did due diligence two years ago, checking the county's Web site, inquiring with the city about any potentially bothersome projects nearby, looking at an area master plan and talking with representatives of Lennar Homes, the builder.
But there was no mention of a shooting range, she said.
Jennifer Knight, county spokeswoman, said the project has been in the works for 24 years, with numerous public meetings in 2005.
Notices were sent to people who lived within 700 feet of the land, and several signs were posted near the site, telling people they could comment about the proposed firing range, Knight said.
"We've done everything except stand out in the street and announce to everyone in the neighborhood that there's going to be a shooting park," Knight said.
Knight questioned why the developer didn't clue in residents about the park before selling them homes.
Lennar representatives couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday. State law requires real estate agents to disclose to buyers how adjacent land-use could affect them.
Dubois agreed the developer should've been more upfront. Now, he wants the county to provide a preventive measure, such as berms or other sound barriers to muffle the gunfire.
However, Turner said that county codes require taking extra steps if the noise exceeds 60 decibels.
Until then, there's no reason to spend money on remedies that may not be needed, he said.
Floyd Lamb State Park's firing range is 1,100 feet from homes -- about a fifth of the distance that the new shooting park will be from the neighborhood -- and the county has received no complaints, Turner said.
The Bureau of Land Management transferred the land to the county five years ago, he said.
The $64 million to build the park's first phase is all federal money, coming from BLM land sales in the state, Turner said.
This phase will include 24 fields for firing shotguns, an area for trap and skeet shooting, an archery center, and education center and campgrounds, he said.
Park users will pay $6 per day for shotguns, and $5.50 for 25 clay birds for trap or skeet shooting, Turner said.
About 47 percent of the county's households own guns, pointing to a strong demand for a public shooting range, said Turner, who noted that all the ranges in the county now are private.
Shooting enthusiasts began pressing for a gun park in 1984, and the idea gained momentum in the mid-1990s when a law-enforcement officer was killed by a stray bullet from a girl doing target practice in the desert, Turner said.
Dubois said he has nothing against people shooting at targets, as long as they don't disrupt his life.
"If I don't see them or I don't hear them, I don't give a damn what goes up there," he said.
Contact reporter Scott Wyland at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 455-4519.