The owner of the Whistling Pines Gun Club in east Colorado Springs has succeeded in his effort to build a west side branch.
Late Thursday, the city's planning commission decided to allow Bob Holmes to build Whistling Pines West. The vote came after a hearing of several hours, during which gun club staff and opponents made appeals.
The new indoor range will be on Peace Palace Point, near the intersection of Garden of the Gods Road and Centennial Boulevard. The 18,000 square foot building, sitting on 2.5 acres, will include a larger section for rifle shooting.
The new range will be at the base of a bluff under the Pinecliff neighborhood where 671 homeowners live. Opponents say at least half of the homeowners are against the range, partly because of concerns about noise and its effect on property values.
"We're not against guns," said homeowner Gail Morrison. "We're just against the noise. It's not a matter of loudness, but of the constant sound of gunfire at our homes. My home is just a few hundred feet from where the range will be. That's unacceptable. The range owner notified only two of us about this. I may have to move."
A city ordinance states the noise level for an indoor shooting range may not exceed 45 decibels between the range's and neighborhood's property line, and adhering to that was a condition of the commission's approval.
Experts say 45 decibels are comparable to normal levels of noise in an office setting, compared to a typical male voice from 3 feet away, which can reach 65 decibels.
A sound engineer hired by Whistling Pines to study noise around the proposed site said the area is zoned as light industrial and produces a consistent level of 50 decibels. The east side location, he said, has a maximum level of 60 decibels, mostly because of traffic on U.S. 24.
Whistling Pines plans to include sound-muffling materials at the range and is willing to install more to comply with the city ordinance. Several neighbors said they'd be more willing to accept the range if more noise mitigation is added.
Holmes didn't comment after the vote, but previously said much of the opposition was based on false assumptions and incorrect information.