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Shooting club gets five-year extension

A shooting complex that was built amid a barren expanse 50 years ago now lies within a half-mile of Summerlin homes, prompting a developer and some residents to express concerns about noise and safety.

The Desert Sportsman’s Rifle & Pistol Club sought a 10-year extension on its use permit for the complex off West Charleston Boulevard. The county has extended the club’s permit every decade for the past 40 years.

After listening to supporters and critics Wednesday, Clark County commissioners voted to extend the permit to five years, require a noise study, shorten the hours of operation and build a sound barrier near the closest homes.

Commissioner Susan Brager, who said she supports the club, proposed the five-year extension and other conditions as a compromise.

“I appreciate that people have a passion for the range, and it’s been there a long time,” Brager said. “Public safety is high on our radar.”

Hours for shooting will be trimmed to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The ranges had been run from 7 a.m. — opening at 6 a.m. in hotter weather — to midnight.

Noise must be tested at the closest homes, the school site and parcels where houses will be built. The club must look into creating a berm or wall beside nearby houses to mute gunfire.

Arlie Anderson, the club’s executive officer, said the shooting complex has a spotless safety record. All of the ranges, he said, are designed for bullets to be fired in the opposite direction of homes.

The club built a berm in one section to muffle the noise, he said.

Critics contend that houses have cropped up within 850 yards of the firing ranges since the permit last was extended a decade ago. More houses and a school will be built in that area.

One critic was Summerlin’s main developer, the Howard Hughes Corp., which pushed to limit the extension to three years.

The purpose of the periodic extensions is to review the site’s effects on the surrounding area and make the needed adjustments, whether it’s shortening the hours or moving the ranges elsewhere, said Greg Borgel, a land-use consultant representing Hughes.

“Indeed things are changing,” Borgel said.

Not only are neighborhoods creeping closer to the complex, but it has a .50-caliber rifle range, something that was never envisioned 40 years ago, Borgel said.

Anderson argued against phasing out the gun ranges, saying it would hurt tourism. The venue is one of the few in the nation big enough to host a national tournament, he said.

Law enforcement agencies train regularly at the site, Anderson said.

Hughes spokesman Tom Warden said the five-year extension was acceptable.

The club has offered a valuable venue to the public and police, and overall has been a good neighbor, Warden said. But it needs to accept that it now infringes on a growing neighborhood, he said.

Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.

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