Residents of rural northwest Hillsborough County will have to wait a month to find out if they will get relief from what they say is the constant barrage of gunfire from a major shooting range nearby.
The owners of the Silver Dollar shooting range want to rezone their property to permit three shooting stands that have been around for a while, despite being in violation of zoning.
During a Land Use meeting that stretched into this afternoon Tuesday, the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners was evenly split on the subject.
Fed-up resident Deanna Corarito lives north of the shooting range.
“This has been going on for a year. Just the zoning part. The violations were even before that time. And county staff made the recommendation that it was inconsistent and not supportable. They have all the information they need to make a decision.”
Like Corarito and others who spoke out against allowing the change, Kim Paulson wore a bright yellow shirt.
“We cannot avoid hearing it [gunshots] in our homes. With our windows closed, with our doors closed the television sounds like my grandmothers house. And still we hear gunfire. It’s an escalating, unrelenting sound of gunfire that forces us to leave our homes to find peace and quiet. We’re being deprived of the reasonable expectation to find solace in our homes.”
The general manager of Silver Dollar told Commissioners that the shooting range needs those three stands and failing to approve the zoning changes would endanger the range’s contracts with two national or international shooting events.
Supporters of the gun range’s request for rezoning wore green t-shirts that read, “We support Silver Dollar.” That includes member Bernard Friedman.
“The clays we shoot are biodegradable. The lead shot is re-mined, reclaimed out of the ground, and recycled, thus no harm to the environment. Noise is kept down through regulation of acceptable ammunition. Failure to grant our zoning request will a lot more harm than good to the local community and our club. It will make the anti-gun element happy, however, as they would be one step closer to doing away with the private citizen’s right to enjoy their Second Amendment rights.”
Even though many residents to the north of the range still oppose the changes because of noise problems, a lawyer representing residents to the east, Todd Pressman, says his group now supports the zoning changes Silver Dollar is asking for.
The motion to approve Silver Dollar’s zoning change failed on a tied 3-3 vote but the Commission will consider it again during its morning meeting on June 12. Sandra Murman, Pat Kemp and Les Miller voted against. Victor Crist, Ken Hagan and Stacy White voted for. Al Higginbotham was absent.