LIVINGSTON - The Livingston Parish Council was in for a long debate last night following the news of a proposed 200-acre gun range on a property in Springfield.
Jay Foster, the landowner and developer, brought the gun range plans to the parish's attention a few weeks ago, but last night was the first time it was discussed by the council and residents.
Those residents, called upon the council to halt Foster's plan after a heated fifty-minute debate.
Residents along Hutchinson Road argued that the gun range would diminish property value even further than already done so by the flood. Another topic discussed was the environment the firing range would ultimately turn the residential neighborhood into, some citing sounds and safety as major concerns.
"I'm not against guns, I don't mind people going shooting, but having an overabundance of guns on quiet times, like weekends is one of my concerns." Said EJ Moore.
The Moore's house is 625 ft., from the property of the possible firing range. Their house is also, one of the dozens flooded in August, still working on re-building, now worry about their property's value decreasing even more. But, safety seems to take the front seat when discussing the topic.
"A 9 mm round fired at a 45 degree angle can fly up to seventy-two hundred feet, every one of these homes on this map is within this range." said Springfield Fire Chief, Brian Drury.
"Tell me where that bullets going to land? Is it in my backyard? Is it E. J's Backyard? Or any of these neighbors in this area? What about one of these churches when they have a service going on, or, youth outside playing, my opinion this is too close to residents to be safe." Asked the fire chief.
Drury's just one of the many who oppose Foster's plans, but the developer argues there aren't any rules in place to stop him.
"I met a lot of opposition on my own property. There's no ordinances against it, it's not zoned but, yet, it didn't go through. Said Foster, "People are worried about me do it, people are worried about the sound, but we've done sound decibel tests, and the cars passing on the road are actually louder than the gun shots they will hear."
Now, the Ordinance Committee will hold a special meeting and hopefully come to a decision on the firing range or create some rules at the very least.
"So, what our objective is to have Livingston Parish put in some ordinances that will regulate firearms, operations, and how these places are constructed, because right now there's none."
Foster says he is following all the NRA guidelines, and says the only reason he is going before the council because he is within two miles of a church.
He said he will be attending next Friday's meeting with his lawyer, but is still confused with the opposition.
"I'm just really disappointed in what's happening I never thought it'd be the day where someone would tell you can't do something because they just don't want you to do it. They gave reasons why they don't want it, but then we explained it, it's been answered, but then they still don't want it, there's a new excuse." Said Foster.
The meeting for this discussion is set for Nov. 18, at 8:30 a.m.