Some Woodbine-area residents say they'll fight a proposed ** outdoor shooting range at the Hoods Mill Landfill -- just as they did three years ago.
County commissioners and representatives of the Carroll County Sportsmen Association have reached an agreement that calls for a range on county-owned property at the landfill.
The county would construct the range, while the sportsmen would be responsible for securing upfront money, Commissioner Benjamin Brown said yesterday.
An outdoor range has been shot down by community opposition at six locations over the past decade, including a 1992 proposal at Hoods Mill.
Several proposals for indoor ranges in various parts of the county also have been defeated because of community opposition or zoning restrictions, though Westminster city planners have given their blessing to a proposed facility at the air business center on Route 97.
The county Department of Recreation and Parks would run the planned Woodbine facility. The county and the association are working on cost estimates, but officials believe it will be far cheaper than the $300,000 or more it would cost to build an indoor shooting range.
Recreation and parks officials said last month an outdoor range would cost about $30,000. The facility probably would have 10 firing lanes, ranging in length from 25 yards to 200 yards.
Bullets would be fired at targets with mounds of dirt as backdrops.
But while the sportsmen are cautiously optimistic that Tuesday's agreement will produce a range, opponents of the Hoods Mill location are angry and vowing a fight.
"There doesn't appear to have been any testing, any analysis, any figuring out what effects this will have on the neighborhood," said Jerry Markowitz, who lives about a mile from the proposed site. "There are two issues here: the way they went about reaching the agreement and the lack of input from the community."
To address neighborhood concerns, Mr. Markowitz and other range opponents have scheduled a meeting for 7 p.m. Monday at the Ramblin Pines Campground, 801 Hoods Mill Road.
"With an outdoor range, you don't know where that bullet's going to go," said Wilman Dively, a campground employee and area resident. "I thought we had it squished years ago."
Meanwhile, the sportsmen aren't sure that this week's agreement won't end up in defeat as have the previous six shooting range proposals.
"We've been close before," said Steve Scherer, a past president of the sportsmen association. "A public range is needed in the county, there's no doubt about that. There's public support for a safe place to shoot."
The association represents more than 1,300 people in 13 clubs ** throughout Carroll, Mr. Scherer said.
"The whole intent of this project is to have a place where fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons and mothers and daughters and anyone else can go to practice their hobby safely," he said.
Proceeds from the purchase of passes would go to the county, Commissioner Brown said.
The commissioner said construction of the range could be as much as a year off, with the commissioners hoping to time it with the capping of a cell at the landfill.
He said there would be opportunities for the public to address the issue. The commissioners liked the idea because they would be able to construct high dirt walls around the shooting range, and the sportsmen have agreed to pay for the construction of shooting lanes and sound-abatement systems, Mr. Brown said.
Mr. Scherer said the commissioners were impressed with an outdoor range run by the state at Elk Run State Forest in Cecil County.
Commissioner Brown said he didn't visit the site when his two colleagues toured it two weeks ago but hopes to improve on the 18-lane range that attracts 30,000 shooters a year. The Cecil range collects about $50,000 a year in permit fees, said Clifford England, forest supervisor at Elk Run State Forest.
"That one's out in the forest, so we think we can do much better sound control here," Mr. Brown said.
Dirt walls surrounding the firing range at Hoods Mill would be at least 15 feet high.