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Clovis City Council says gun range complies with city code, not a nuisance

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Clovis city council sided with an indoor shooting range that's been under fire from its neighbors. Nearby residents are upset over the noise of gunfire that can be heard from their homes.

During Monday's Meeting, the city council voted 4-1 to approve a resolution that says The Firing Line in Clovis is in accordance with the city's noise laws and is not a public nuisance.

Since The Firing Line opened in 2011, several people have complained about the gunshot noise from the indoor shooing range filtering into the neighborhood.

"I hear it all day long," Bill DeGroot said. He's lived in the neighborhood for 25 years and is not happy about constantly hearing gunshots outside and inside his home. "It seems to be worse after work and on the weekends is when it's loudest and that's when I want to relax."

Many of DeGroot's neighbors expressed the same concerns to the city council before the vote. They asked the city council to reject the resolution.

"The best way to describe it; is let me get a starting gun in here, and have me let it off a couple of times," one resident said.

The Firing Range sits on industrial land adjacent to the neighborhood. The city says it allows a measurement of 65 CNELs (Community Noise Equivalent Level) at the property line and 45 CNELs inside a resident. The City says sound studies found the noise coming from The Firing Line meets the standard for industrial noise.

Many neighbors wouldn't buy it.

"Gun fire is not an industrial sound," one resident argued. "It's not the sound of a saw, or a forklift, or something falling to the ground."

Jacob Belemjian, the owner of The Firing Line, says he's made several modifications to his building over the years, to minimize the noise leaking into the neighborhood.

"It's not without great expenditure of blood and treasure on my part to further reduce our levels beyond what the city's ordinances and standards that were granted to us by the original conditional use permit," he said.

Belemjian says he's done all he can to do be a good neighbor.

"If I said I was happy about this, that wouldn't be telling the truth, I'm unhappy that they're unhappy. But there's only so much we can do,"

Mayor Lynne Ashbeck was the only dissenting vote on the city council, but she says she is okay with the outcome.

"There's a set of rules, he followed it, and it's a majority vote. And think we move on and try and continue to help the neighbors," she said.

The city resolution will go extra lengths to reduce the noise for neighbors. It will raise a brick that separates the neighborhood from the range from 6-feet to 8-feet. The city will also $2,500 to the handful of homeowners that live directly next to the gun range to get double pane windows.

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clovis, local, anthony pura
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