The heated debate over whether to regulate outdoor shooting ranges in the Mat-Su resumes with a public hearing at the Oct. 5 Mat-Su Borough Planning Commission.
The proposal to regulate outdoor ranges has been debated for more than a year now. If the Planning Commission approves recommending the passage of Ordinance 20-025, it would head back to the Mat-Su Borough Assembly for a final vote.
The item was introduced at the Sept. 21 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting with a public hearing set for Oct. 5.
Many area gun rights advocates adamantly oppose the plan. Contentious public testimonies have warned that an extensive permitting process, which would include filing fees, site plans, civil engineering certifications and environmental stewardship strategies, will likely result in future range applications being denied and thereby restricting residents’ ability to train with and use firearms. Opponents also worry about the long-term viability of ranges that are deemed non-compliant with what the see as overly burdensome restrictions.
Others argue that regulations are needed in order to avoid the establishment of shooting ranges near existing residential homes, where they fear noise pollution and stray bullets.
The resolution under consideration (PC 20-33) by the seven-member Planning Commission would recommend that the Borough Assembly adopt standards to regulate commercial, educational and nonprofit outdoor shooting ranges across the Mat-Su Borough.