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Gun range venue could be changed to southwestern Carbon county



By Sun Advocate

County planning and zoning director Dave Levanger meets with some of those attending the gun range scoping session in early October.

A discussion at the Carbon County Commission meeting last week about the long planned gun range south and east of the airport brought out the fact that proponents are looking toward another site, just in case the original one doesn’t work out.
“When we had the scoping meeting walk through and the meeting itself some concerns emerged that made us think that we should at least look at other sites,” said County Commission Chairman Steve Burge. “So we have held off formalizing the architect until we could determine which site would be used. We are now looking at two areas, the original one and one near Pinnacle Peak.”
The concerns arose as the proponents spoke with airport officials and they determined that even with the archery range being moved out of the flight path of landing planes, the Federal Aviation Administration might have a problem with the ranges location.
“Mark (Francis, airport manager) is concerned about shooting in connection with United States government flight paths, even though we moved the archery range,” stated Don Burge, the executive director of the gun range movement. “There seem to be many concerns although we have nothing official.”
Ben Clement, who represented the counties geographical systems at the meeting told the commission he couldn’t be sure what the FAA wanted.
“It looks as if we can go ahead and do what we want as long as we don’t move away from their rules,” he explained. “By what they have given me I can tell if a building can be one place or another, but whether an arrow can invade that space I can’t tell you.”
According to the county commission chairman both sites have their good and bad points.
“That access to the Pinnacle Peak site is good because it has much better roads, but there is more infrastructure in place at the site near the airport,” he said.
It was also pointed out that the Pinnacle Peak site would have higher natural berms, but fewer of them. Proponents of the range said that the first site would require 1440 acres, all Bureau of Land Management land, while the other site would only take up 720 acres, all of it state institutional trust lands.
Most of this discussion resulted because the commission was listening to a discussion about range architects. Don Burge had made the recommendation that two architects who bid on the project be selected because one was more specialized in the range layout and the other in designing the buildings they would need for the range.
“I would just like to see a motion and for us to contract with the two united in their efforts,” he stated. “One of them has already begun working on the project on his own.”
However, Commissioner Mike Milovich was concerned about cost and what the architects would charge.
“Once we get that cost we can move ahead,” he stated.
County attorney Gene Strate pointed out that the one architect had already been selected (one of the two being suggested) and that there might be problems should the contract be changed.
“He made a bid and we accepted it,” stated Strate. “He can sub-contract to whoever he wants. But for us to get away from that may mean we have to bid it out differently.”
In the end no decision was made until the issue is studied more.
In another piece of business the commission heard from Les White representing Whitmar Exploration on a proposed lease. The company had proposed a low initial amount to lease some county property for gas exploration, but had given a good rate for the percentage should the wells produce.
“As far as we are concerned we can’t do it for less than $35 per acre and a 15 percent royalty,” said Commissioner Bill Krompel.
White agreed to go back to the company and check and the commission approved the lease contingent on the company approving that change.
The commission also discussed a safety program for the county employees.
“The question is how to address these things,” said county attorney Gene Strate who was making the presentation. “I think the right answer is to do it on a county wide basis rather than department to department.”
The county has a part time safety officer who has basically just begun his work. He must work out programs on everything from hazardous communications to MSHA gravel pit regulations.
The commission is going to study the problem and work with some people to come up with a direction in which to head.

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