Planning board approves expansion of gun range

by Kate Shunney

During their July monthly meeting, the Morgan County Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the expansion plans for a Morgan County gun range near the state fish hatchery in the southern end of the county.

10X Freedom Range had applied for approval of plans to expand the existing range by adding 27,000 square feet of shooting area. That will tack on roughly half an acre of additional space to the range, which sits on the east side of U.S. 522.

Owner Jim Riffle had also asked county planners to waive the requirement to have a professionally-prepared site plan, due to the fact that the project will add on to an existing approved business.

Riffle also sought a waiver of the county’s requirement for a stormwater management plan. Once the new area of the range is cleared, it will be seeded, so the project will not create any new impervious area that could stop stormwater from being absorbed into the ground, plans stated.

Planners on July 28 heard from two citizens who attended the public hearing on the waiver requests. Nearby residents said they would request more engineering that would allow for soundproofing at the range.

There are no state or county ordinances in effect that apply to daytime noise levels from an approved range, but 10X does have rules in place for range users to reduce noise from repetitious gunfire and large-caliber guns.

Riffle has said the expansion of the range will accommodate requests from law enforcement agencies and other groups who are looking for more space to train on firearm use in the local area.