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Northwest residents up in arms about shooting park

A collection of northwest valley homeowners filed a lawsuit Monday against Clark County, attempting to stop the construction of a 2,900-acre shooting complex just outside their neighborhood.

County officials have characterized the project as a shooting park, a term that makes residents chuckle sarcastically.

“We think it’s a little more like Disneyland with guns,” said attorney Matthew Callister, noting that the shooting range is six times the size of the amusement park.

Homeowners believe the location of the park, which is under construction, is absurd. The distance from the complex to the nearest home is a half-mile, they said. The project is also within walking distance of Shadow Ridge High School and K.M. Ward Elementary School. That’s much too close in a era where school shootings are all too frequent, residents said.

“The residential neighborhoods and schools predate construction of this massive commercial shooting complex,” a complaint filed by Callister says.

County spokeswoman Jennifer Knight said the county cannot comment on the issue because of the lawsuit.

“This is pure common sense; this is just mind-boggling,” said Tyson Wrensch, who bought his home in 2004.

Plans to build the shooting park have been in the works for more than two decades. But since the project was first pitched, neighborhoods and schools have sprouted up in an area once considered distant from urbanization. The park is located between Decatur Boulevard and Buffalo Drive, just north of Moccasin Road at the base of Sheep Mountain.

Wrensch and his neighbors said this isn’t a case where residents moved in next door to an airport and then complained about the air traffic. They said they were never told by homebuilders or real estate agents about the shooting complex; county commissioners never required the disclosure.

Before buying or building their homes, residents did their due diligence, studying master plans and future uses of surrounding land. Until recently, the master plan showed the property, which is larger than McCarran International Airport, as intended for public use. Realtors told home buyers the land would most likely be developed into a water facility, library or even an equestrian park with trails.

Residents believed any of those uses would be compatible with their neighborhood.

A shooting range is not.

The complex will include a 1,200-yard high-power rifle range, 125 trap ranges and 24 skeet ranges.

Knight recently told the news media that the sound generated by the facility would be comparable to dogs barking or a helicopter flying overhead.

“To hear an occasional barking dog or a helicopter or even a fighter jet is not a nuisance,” said resident Lorraine Lennard. “But imagine hearing dogs barking or helicopters flying or repetitive, constant gunfire 12 hours per day.”

A study conducted by residents showed the noise level at nearby homes between 90 and 100 decibels. A county ordinance does not allow noise levels to exceed 56 decibels in residential neighborhoods.

Wrensch, who served as a spokesman for the homeowners Monday, said nobody is anti-gun. They simply believe the complex is in a bad location.

“There are more guns in my house than people,” Wrensch said. “This is not an anti-gun community.”

Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at apacker@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710.

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