New gun range will become a reality
By Neal A. Shipman
With an unanimous vote by the McKenzie County Board of County Commissioners approving a Firearms Facility Overlay District on Tuesday, Oct. 2, the McKenzie County Sportsmen’s Club cleared the final hurdle for the creation of a new gun range in McKenzie County.
“I’m pleased that the Planning and Zoning Commission and the county commissioners did the right thing,” stated Brent Schwan, Sportsmen’s Club president. “In the end they looked at what was reasonable, both legally and practically.”
McKenzie County has been without a public shooting range ever since the Badlands Shooting Club’s gun range on the east side of Watford City was closed by a court order in October of 2104. The court order cited safety concerns for closing the former facility after stray bullets from the range hit nearby buildings.
The commissioners’ decision on Oct. 2 followed extensive discussion regarding the proposed new gun club’s safety issues, as well as comments from several county residents asking the county to consider some form of financial compensation to the Gressman family, who lives near the proposed site. During the planning and zoning commission’s public hearing on Sept. 26, the Gressman family expressed their concerns that the new gun range would increase noise and traffic, pose safety risks and reduce the value of their home.
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