departments that now use the Burns Harbor firing range for training will
have to look elsewhere.
residents implored the Town Council on Wednesday to shut it down after
describing hours of continuous gunfire, loud noise, window-rattling booms
and fears that a child playing in their own yard could be injured.
The firing range
is three earthen embankments west of the town Street Department complex off
Chuck Tuter of
Indian Springs subdivision north of the range said from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
each of three weekdays last week there was incessant gunfire, hundreds of
rounds, some large caliber. “If (the range) was sitting in any of your
neighborhoods and you had that six hours a day, day in and day out, you’d
think you were at war,” he told council members.
of the same subdivision said most town residents feel they’re not being
respected by other Police Departments that use the range. Burns Harbor town
marshal Craig Barnes estimated that number is about six or seven departments
including SWAT teams and some federal agencies like the Coast Guard.
when weapons are being fired it’s not safe to use the recycling drop-off
site very near the range, or be at the fisherman’s parking lot north of
there, because a bullet could ricochet.
Day said it sounded like a concussion grenade was set off in violation of
the town’s noise ordinance. “It seems like the Police Departments are taking
advantage of us. It’s gotten unbearable.”
Weibl said sometimes even he hears the gunfire at his home, about seven
blocks to the east.
Mike Perrine said he built the range when he was a town employee, but
circumstances change and “you can’t guard against an accident.”
On member Greg
Miller’s motion the council voted 5-0 to place a moratorium on outside
agencies using the firing range; Barnes was directed to limit its use by the
town’s officers to handguns and shotguns only until another range for
practice can be found.
going to another location will carry an additional expense for fuel,
officers’ travel time and paying for a range instructor, which in the past
departments using the range have provided. Police are required by state law
to qualify with their weapons during the year.
In a related
police matter, Barnes urged residents to register at www.nixle.com to sign
up for local emergency and information alerts through the free Nixle public
messaging service. Residents can choose to receive phone or email notices.
the Town Council agreed to replace a guardrail on Verplank Road that it had
installed on private property to prevent vehicles from going off the road.
Barnes was asked to pursue reimbursement from the driver of the vehicle who
damaged the guardrail.
The issue arose
as the council considered accepting relocated Verplank and related
infrastructure tied to the KEJOB commercial subdivision of Bob Kerr east of
Lake Shore Ford. Building commissioner Bill Arney said the guardrail was not
on the plat and not required of Kerr when the project was approved.
On the Advisory
Plan Commission’s recommendation, the council unanimously accepted the
subdivision improvements; Kerr will deposit a $5,000 check as security for a
one-year maintenance bond.
A street sign
for Verplank at U.S. 20 will be installed soon.