Southern Bartholomew rifle range approval on hold

A shooting range in southern Bartholomew County is on hold for at least six months.

Watson Chambers Defense Institute had filed a conditional use request for the agricultural properties off of the 15000 block of South Jonesville Road. That would have allowed the company to operate commercial shooting ranges for handguns and rifles.

However, dozens of neighbors and opponents turned out last night to protest the application. They packed the council chambers at Columbus City Hall shoulder-to-shoulder, spilled over into the hallway and into a neighboring conference room set up with a video feed of the proceedings.

In documents filed with the planning department, neighbors and others said they were concerned about the safety of the range, citing a lack of 20-foot tall earthen backstops, 8-foot-tall side berms and other structures recommended by the National Rifle Association.

But Bartholomew County Board of Zoning Appeals Chairman Roger Glick said that the shooting school had withdrawn its rezoning request. That request can not be refiled for six months and the company cannot use the property for the shooting range in the mean time, according to code enforcement officer Bill Klakamp.

Because of the withdrawal, the county BZA did not take any testimony from the applicants or the public.

The city-county planning department staff had recommended a continuance of the proposal before last night’s meeting, as they felt they had not received information needed to make a recommendation.

Facebook ads for the company have advertised a mile-long range for precision rifle shooting.