Clovis planners support keeping Firing Line gun range open

The Fresno BeeSeptember 26, 2013 

An indoor Clovis gun range that residents of a south Clovis neighborhood oppose because of gunshot noise got support to stay open after the Clovis Planning Commission ruled that changes made have reduced sounds going into the adjacent residential area.

But residents remain upset about the noise and say the city never should have allowed it to go into the 1173 Dayton Ave. industrial building nearly two years ago.

The Clovis City Council will take up the issue on Oct. 21.

Earlier this year, the City Council required Jacob Belemjian, the owner of The Firing Line, to make changes to the building to reduce gunshot noise that was spilling into the neighborhood.

Today, city officials say Belemjian has made a good-faith effort to reduce noise and that he is operating within the city's conditions for approval.

Under the agreement reached Thursday night, Belemjian agreed to reduce shooting hours at the range, but that wasn't enough for about a dozen residents, who told the commission they remain opposed to the gun range because the noise continues.

"It's scaring the hell out of me," said Bruce Meredith, who lives just north of the gun range. "It's devastating me to listen to this every day. It's torture."

Tim Kelley, another neighbor, said the business is a public nuisance that is disturbing the peace.

City officials believe Belemjian succeeded by insulating areas where the noise was coming from. Noise consultant Jeff Hall also reported a reduction in noise leaving the building.

Hall's noise report said that sounds from Belemjian's building were low enough that other noise in the neighborhood covered up the gunshot sounds.

In a 4-0 vote, planning commissioners said they empathized with the residents, but that the firing range is within the proper zoning and that Belemjian followed the rules.

"The basis for our decisions are grounded in rules and laws," said Vong Mouanoutoua, planning commission chairman. "We can't stray too far from the rules and laws."

City Planner Dwight Kroll said before the meeting that the "high impulse" noises coming out of the building have "kind of calmed down."

Kroll said the noise still exists, but it's impossible to entirely cover it up.

"You are going to hear something out of there," he said. "You can't fully encapsulate that building because of the fire venting on the roof, but (the improvements) dampened the sharpness of that noise and it's pretty much what you would expect out of an industrial area."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6166, or @beebenjamin on Twitter.

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