Commission to consider shooting range ordinance

Responding to requests made to Coweta County commissioners earlier this year and based on subsequent to research provided by the Coweta County Planning Department, the board in mid-December will consider an ordinance amendment that would provide for indoor and outdoor shooting ranges as conditional uses in some industrial areas.

The shooting range request initially surfaced after CDM Investment Partners co-owners and Sharpsburg residents Harlan Hammack and Joe Mezzatesta met with Planning & Zoning staff and Coweta County Sheriff’s Office. Their idea was to construct and operate a 15-20 lane indoor public shooting range designed specifically for small arms such as handguns, shotguns and small caliber rifles.

At the same board meeting gun store owner Rusty Morris said he was interested in establishing a 10-lane indoor shooting range with a retail component.

County Planning Director Robert Tolleson in a Nov. 2 letter to commissioners after researching the issues recommended incorporating shooting ranges as conditional uses in areas zoned industrial.

Tolleson in the letter said, “... the planning department felt that adding the conditional use permit requirement would allow the board to carefully direct the business into the most applicable locations as well specify requirements for everyone’s best interest. This would prevent shooting ranges from being placed in residential areas that might have been zoned Industrial when rezoning considerations didn’t consider the possible impact on future established neighborhoods.”

Mezzatesta in his earlier presentation to the board said the proposed CDM facility would conduct related training and education activities, including the use of non-lethal practice rounds made of alternative materials.

"There is no facility in the Newnan area,” Mezzatesta said, noting that a different type of shooting range does operate in the Grantville area. “We’re proposing a premier firearms training facility, with a retail (component) that focuses on personal and home defense where people can get firearms and home defense training. I think the training facility would be a great benefit.”