LAWRENCEVILLE – The Brunswick County Board of Supervisors denied a request for a conditional use permit submitted by Hakeem Garner to construct, operate and maintain a private shooting range and educational center in the Agricultural (A-1) Zoning District. Supervisor Bernard Jones – Vice Chair, made the motion to deny the conditional use permit, seconded by Dr. Alfonzo Seward. Supervisor John Zubord abstained.
The hearing on the request was held on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021 at 7:30 pm. at the Brunswick County Government Building, 228 North Main Street. Those opposing the proposed shooting range came out to voice their opposition. The common thread was that the residents approved of the facility but just not in their neighborhood.
Prior to the vote Dr. Seward said he viewed the area for the proposed shooting range and called the office thinking he was at the wrong location. He said he supports gun ownership but safety and peace of mind of the residents must be considered.
Supervisor Welton Tyler agreed with Dr. Seward and further stated he supports the idea but not in this location.
Zubrod said he is a gun lover and a member of the NRA. He supports instruction and gun safety. Zubrod said the proposed shooting range is too close to residents.
Jones said he viewed the site and visited almost every home talking to about 30 families. He said he was a great idea but the wrong location. Jones said this is a close community where everyone is treated like family.
Dr. Barbara Jarrett Harris – Chair, said she was raised with guns in the home and stressed the importance of proper training. She commended everyone for coming out and voicing their opinions on the issue. Dr. Harris encouraged the applicants to find a new location.
According to information provided by George E. Morrison, III, Director of Planning, the subject property is located the west side of Tanner Town Road (State Route 657), approximately five-one hundreds (0.05) of a mile from the intersection of Go Cart Road (State Route 623) and Tanner Town Road, located in the Red Oak Election District.
Morrison said the applicant is requesting approval of a conditional use permit for a shooting range to educate and train beginner and experienced individuals with firearm safety, training tactics, and self-defense.
As background the Brunswick County Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on this request on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Numerous persons spoke in opposition and in favor of the request. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Planning Commission deferred action on this request until their Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021 meeting. On that date the Planning Commission voted eight to one to recommend denial of Conditional Use Permit Case #21-008.
At the September meeting Shawn Banks, applicant, said he has ties to Brunswick County and Saint Paul’s College and wants to help develop the county. The applicants has resources, owns firearms, and wants to provide training for children and grown ups. Banks said there is nothing like this in Brunswick County emphasizing the emphasis on safety and impact on noise. He said the facility would bring tax dollars to Brunswick County.
Hakeem Garner also spoke in favor of the facility.
Paula Tanner spoke in opposition. She called attention to it being a small community. She said it would be better suited for another location.
George Tanner spoke in opposition. He said he has lived in the area for 70 years and has many friends. Tanner said children walk on the side of the road and fears the facility will be a danger. He also expressed concern that the value of his property would go down.
James Glascott spoke in opposition. He said kids play in the yard. Glascott said the facility is not feasible and asked the supervisors if they would want the facility in their front yard?
Patrice Clayton spoke in opposition. She said her property adjoins Go Cart Road. She moved back to Brunswick County for the peace and quiet. Clayton said the community is like family and look out for one another. Her mother is 94 years old, the matriarch of the family, lives close by. She said she is a gun owner and supports the Second Amendment. Clayton said she worries about the noise impact and asked if the supervisors would want the facility in their back yard? Clayton asked the supervisors to keep the residents in mind.
Velma Brown spoke in opposition.
Bailey Banks spoke in favor of granting the conditional use permit. He said he was a product of Brunswick County and further stated that there was not a lot happening in Brunswick County. He moved from Richmond back to the county and sees the potential of the business.
Gwendolyn McMillan spoke in opposition. She said she served on the IDA Board of Directors for 13 years and sees the potential for a gun range. McMillan said she was born and raised in Brunswick County and urged the supervisors to make safety a priority. She said the gun range was not a good fit for Brunswick County.
Brenda Brown spoke in opposition.
Daniel Tanner spoke in opposition.
Sharon Glasscott spoke in opposition. She asked why the applicants chose this property?
Louise Tanner spoke in opposition. She said she was not opposed to a gun range but not on this site. Tanner said it is a busy road that connects Route 1 to Route 58 and she worries about the increase in traffic. Tanner said she can see the gun range from her home. She said she wants to see the county grow.