WESTMINSTER -- A county recreation and parks advisory subcommittee recommends the county pursue plans to establish an outdoor shooting range at Hoods Mill Landfill near Woodbine.
But the subcommittee hesitated to recommend the controversial site as appropriate, saying that details of how the range would be designed and managed should be established and revealed to the public before a decision is made.
Six subcommittee members voted unanimously Wednesday to pass the recommendation to the full, 12-member County Recreation and Parks Advisory Board. Board Chairman Clark Shaffer said the full board likely would vote at its Wednesday meeting to make the recommendation to the county commissioners, who will make the final decision.
The recommendation was prefaced by a statement that the county has a need for a shooting range, which should be a high priority among recreational projects.
The recreation board meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Carroll County Education Center, 495 S. Center St., Westminster.
Several subcommittee members visited the site and said it appeared suitable for a shooting range because it is in a valley surrounded by woods and hills.
"The site has what I consider an awful lot of potential," said member Jennifer Munch.
Residents from South Carroll and Cooksville in Howard County opposed the proposal at a hearing, saying they feared a range would produce unacceptable noise, create accident risks, decrease property values and diminish their quality of life.
Shooting enthusiasts support the proposal, saying they need a place to practice their sport safely and to prepare for hunting season.
The site is west of Route 97 off Hoods Mill Road, about 1,000 feet north of Howard County.
Commissioner President Donald I. Dell said other sites could be considered, including the state-owned Morgan Run Natural Environment Area, where a shooting range has been proposed in a draft plan. Residents who live near Morgan Run opposed that plan at a Wednesday meeting.
Mr. Shaffer said the advisory board's assignment is to evaluate the Hoods Mill site, not compare various options.
He said he was "impressed" with the site and convinced that the Carroll County Sportsmen's Association would do a good job in managing the facility.
But he said he couldn't recommend approval of the site until specifics are developed, such as hours of operation, the types of guns permitted, the facility's design and noise abatement measures, and procedures for managing the range.
Donald Farb, owner of Shady Spring Boarding Kennel, said he's "surprised at the lack of effort by staff to define the project so the public can be informed."