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70 residents attend meeting about Norwalk shooting range

Cary Ashby • Updated Mar 29, 2017 at 11:28 PM

About 70 people attended the public hearing Tuesday about Gunners Haven, a shooting range proposed to be on Laylin Road.

More than 20 different residents shared their opinions and concerns — mostly about the issue of noise — over the course of nearly 80 minutes with Norwalk city council.

Jeremy Norris, who would own the facility, started the hearing by clarifying that Gunners Haven “is not an outdoor shooting range” and is a building. Instead of having a roof per se, he said it has concrete baffling in the middle and padded walls that will help deaden the noise. 

“It has a roof on one end. It has a roof on the other end,” he said.

Norris equated Gunners Haven as being the “exact same thing” as the range at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in London, Ohio — “just on a grander scale.”

Norris, Councilman Dave Wallace, Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light and safety-service director Dan Wendt previously went to the OPOTA facility and tested the decibel levels. At 715 yards away in direct sight line of the range, Norris said the noise was only as loud as someone rubbing their fingers together.

Combined with the padding on the walls and the traffic from U.S. 20, he said “any sound we make, you’re not going to be able to hear.” 

Wendt shared his thoughts on the OPOTA experience. He said at 210 feet away from the range, the noise registered at 70 to 80 decibels and from 715 to 718 yards away, it didn’t register on the sound meter he had.

“It was negligible,” the safety-service director said. “It wasn’t spiking like it was at the first test.”

Several residents supported having Gunners Haven in Norwalk, while Councilman Dave Wallace said the residents of the second ward “overwhelmingly oppose this.” A Whitefield Boulevard man said he’d much rather have the facility “in the city limits and control it” rather than in the unzoned township.

“I can’t think of a better area or location than in the manufacturing district,” he added.

A Milan resident said Gunners Haven would be benefit people who own guns so they can train locally instead of having to drive to the nearest facility in Lorain.

A woman who worked for Norris’ landscaping business said Norris is very knowledgeable about guns and is dedicated to Norwalk. She also said she suspects Summit Motorsports Park is much noisier than Gunners Haven.

In other business Tuesday, council voted down Steve Schumm’s legislation which would have prohibited the cultivation, processing or “retail dispensing” of medical marijuana in the city.

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