Residents near a proposed shooting range are still marshaling support against the project, even though it’s located on tribal land that is exempt from local zoning regulations.
A meeting was held Thursday evening to update concerned neighbors who say it is just several hundred yards from two elementary schools. Around 61 homes immediately surround the property on the south side of Hwy 50 off Shingle Springs Road.
Among them is Gary Vreman whose property backs up to the proposed site.
“The sound can carry for a mile or two,” said Vreman, who was shocked to find out about the plans.
The Tribal Administrator for the Tribe of Miwok Indians, which also runs the Red Hawk Casino, says they are listening to complaints and trying to adjust their plans.
“We were going to move a little bit quicker but after hearing the concerns by community members, especially the individuals most affected, the schools, the tribe has pulled back it’s timeline,”said Ernest Vargas.
The tribe will conduct live fire acoustical testing on a test range at the site to determine a shooting range an hours of operation. It says it will follow strict federal safety guidelines.
The tribe says the range would be open to the public and would be a safe place for gun-loving El Dorado County residents to shoot.
Neighbors are frustrated that legally their wishes can be ignored.
“We understand it’s their land , we respect that, we’re just asking that they be good neighbors,” said Damon Tribble whose child goes to one of the schools withing earshot of the range.
Neighbors say the land is not traditional tribal property but purchased by the tribe just over ten years ago. A health center and homes were noted in the land exchange documents but there is no mention of a gun range.
Neighbors say an ideal compromise is putting in an indoor range, but the tribe has looked into that option and dismissed it as being too expensive.
The tribe says no final determination will be made on the size, design and hours of operation until its acoustical testing is complete. That might be two or three months away. In the meantime residents say they will keep the public pressure on.