Zoning panel to consider firing range

April 14, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Sportsmen will be able to test their shooting skills at Top Gun Indoor Range Inc. if two Baltimore County men receive permission to open the business at the Eldersburg Business Center.

Pikesville attorney Jay L. Liner and Arbutus contractor Joseph R. Twilley have applied to the Board of Zoning Appeals for permission to open the range. A hearing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. April 27 in Room 7 of the County Office Building.

If the county approves the project, it would be the first indoor shooting range in Carroll.

Two of the county commissioners have said they think indoor shooting ranges would be a good alternative for sportsmen. Carroll residents have objected when outdoor ranges were proposed for their areas.

Mr. Liner and Mr. Twilley will ask the Board of Zoning Appeals to waive the requirement that an indoor range be 1,000 feet from homes, schools, churches or other institutions.

The two men plan to rent 6,600 square feet in a warehouse at the industrial park off Route 32 across from Liberty High School, and to open the range this fall, Mr. Liner said.

The range would be in the same building as Super Sports Inc., a 17,000-square-foot indoor sports complex open since November 1992.

"It will be a state-of-the-art range," said Clark R. Shaffer, a Westminster attorney who is representing Mr. Liner and Mr. Twilley. The range would open with 16 lanes and would be open to the public seven days a week, Mr. Liner said. A membership program that would offer a reduced hourly rate would be available, he said.

Handguns, small-caliber rifles -- such as .22s -- and shotguns would be allowed, Mr. Liner said.

Mr. Twilley is "an avid lifelong sportsman" and familiar with shooting ranges. Mr. Liner said he is a business partner in the venture. The range would be the first indoor range they've

owned.

A real estate agent led them to the Eldersburg site, Mr. Liner said.

"They plan to be actively involved on site with the business," Mr. Shaffer said.

Mr. Liner said they plan to have an area to sell accessories and supplies, to rent handguns for use at the range and to sell some weapons.

Tentative hours for the range would be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays, he said.

The county is studying whether to change its zoning law to allow indoor shooting ranges to open in agriculture, conservation and industrial districts without permission from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Officials began studying the idea in February after James E. Harris Sr. of Westminster asked for the change. Mr. Harris said a corporation he's involved in is interested in opening an indoor range.

Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Elmer C. Lippy have said they favor the zoning change.

Current law allows outdoor shooting ranges in agriculture and conservation districts with special permission.

The Carroll County Sportsmen's Association has been looking for a site for a public outdoor range for several years. The county's Recreation and Parks Board said last year that a shooting range should be a high priority among county recreation projects.

Residents who live near Union Mills and near Hoods Mill Landfill and the planned Gillis Falls Reservoir area, both in South Carroll, have opposed locating outdoor ranges in their areas.

Residents said the outdoor ranges would bring increased traffic, noise and a reduction in property values.

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