Eagle approves downtown indoor shooting range
The building at 108 West Second Street has a storied history — it has housed a saloon, a hospital to treat victims of the Spanish flu, and Eagle’s Town Hall.
And now, pending successful negotiation of a lease agreement and a construction financing plan, the structure will be the site of an indoor shooting range operated by Alpine Arms owner Matt Solomon. The building at 108 West Second Street is owned by the town of Eagle and Solomon currently rents half of the structure while the Eagle Valley Enterprise is housed in the other half.
Tuesday night members of the Eagle Town Board unanimously approved a special use permit to allow the shooting range application.
“Shooting sports, believe it or not, has become a tourist activity in this valley,” said Solomon. “This is going to bring people to downtown Eagle.”
In presenting his plan, Solomon acknowledged that resolution of gun shooting noise issue is at the heart of the downtown compatitability question. He passed out samples of acoustic blocking material, saying that two layers of the product would cut noise levels to state requirement levels.
Those state levels are actually more restrictive than Eagle’s noise regulations. The restrictions state that noise levels cannot exceed 54.9 decibels between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., noise levels would be restricted to a maximum of 49.9 decibels. For comparison, a garbage disposal or a dishwasher noise is classified at 80 decibels while a passenger car traveling at 65 miles per hour is charted at 70 decibels. Conversation in a restaurant is generally classified at 60 decibels and conversation in a home is classified at 50 decibels.
Solomon said his noise abatement program will cut sound emanating from the shooting range to the 54.9 level at the property line. The state standard is actually less restrictive. It measures the noise standard 25 feet from the property line
Eagle Town Planner Tom Boni noted when Solomon first presented his application, staff was obviously concerned about approving a noisy operation in the heart of downtown. But after touring various facilities and testing sound levels, Boni was convinced the noise could be mitigated.
“From staff’s judgment, 54 decibels is barely noticeable.”
A number of community members voiced support for Solomon’s plan. Ray Long, president of the Eagle County chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation noted that the indoor facility would provide year around opportunities for hunter education classes. “This would show the town is pro Second Amendment,” Long said.
“Carrying firearms and shooting firearms is serious,” said resident Darrel Lundholm. “This will allow people to learn safe handling and safe shooting. It’s not something to take lightly, but it sure is fun.”
Other supporters said the indoor range will bring more visitors and more sales tax revenue to the town.
Town board member Brandi Resa said she isn’t overly concerned with completely masking the gun shot noise from the range. “It feels like the wild west. It adds to the pedestrian feel downtown,” she said.
“Gun shot to a redneck is like bacon to a dog,” Long agreed.
After public testimony and discussion, the board unanimously approved the special use permit for the indoor range with conditions imposing the state noise standards applied at the property line and limiting the business operations to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. Additionally, they tied the special use permit to a successful lease negotiation. The building lease will come to the town board separately for consideration.
“This is just the first of many steps,” said Solomon after the unanimous approval. However, he noted the action was required before he could proceed with leasing negotiations and investor discussions.
In other action the town board:
Heard a proposal from Holli Snyder for a community art project. Snyder presented a plan for construction and decoration of 100 Adirondack chairs, a signature project from the Eagle Valley Middle School wood shop class. Students would build the chairs, complete unique decorations for them and then the chairs would be stationed around Eagle this summer. At summer’s end, the chairs would be auctioned off as a fund-raiser for the school. Snyder said she is looking for a title sponsor for the event and asked the town to be a community sponsor at an estimated level of $12,000. Town board members said they would consider the request during budget discussions planned Nov. 26.
Approved planned unit development zoning for the site previously proposed for a Kum and Go store near the Sylvan Lake Road roundabout. The new zoning specifically prohibits development of a gas station at the site.
Heard a report from Susanna Morgan regarding a planned visit by Up with People during the week of Feb. 10-17. The performance/public service troop will present shows at Eagle Valley High School and stay with local host families during the visit. Morgan requested a $5,000 donation from the town to subsidize the group’s appearance.
Passed a proclamation declaring Dec. 10 as Colorado Gives Day in Eagle. The event is being promoted by 34 non-profit organizations in Eagle County. For additional information visit http://www.coloradogives.org or http://www.eaglecogives.org.