By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Board of County Commissioners approved the zoning request to allow for the construction of the new shooting range for the Reno County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday.
"It's going to be right south of where the new landfill facility is currently being constructed," said county planner Mark Vonachen. "This shooting range is going to be used by the sheriff's department and other law enforcement agencies. It is not going to be open to the public. A 40x60 building will also eventually be constructed on that property for various training needs of the sheriff's department and other law enforcement agencies. The nearest residences, according to the documentation that is in your packet are over a half-mile away."
Because of the proximity to the landfill, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment had to sign off on the use and they already have.
"The sheriff's department has said that they are going to have a parking lot that can hold at least 75 vehicles," Vonachen said. "The sheriff's department will be planting trees out there to cut down on the noise. They're going to be scattered about the perimeter of the property. The facility will have lights for security purposes, but also for training purposes. They are looking at doing some nighttime training. The area will also be fenced in to provide for added security measures."
There will be three types of 26-foot berms built along with eyebrows above them to provide additional height to stop any errant shots.
"The majority of the shooting will occur to the west," Vonachen said. "The high-powered rifles, or sniper rifles, if you will, will be shooting to the east. Mohawk Road, for that portion, has been vacated, so there will not be any kind of traveling public going between the shooting range and, say, the landfill. This is really at the cul-de-sac at the dead end where we vacated Mohawk Road."
Commissioners asked about the concerns from the closest landowners about errant long-range shots and found that the planning commission didn't believe there was enough risk to endanger anything, so they went along with that recommendation and approved the application 2-0, with Chairman Ron Hirst abstaining because he owns land in the immediate area.