MITCHELL, S.D (KELO) — Plans for a piece of land near Lake Mitchell is stirring some mixed feelings.
In 2019, the city purchased the land with the intent to use part of it for a wetland conservation project.
Now the City is working to build a gun range with the leftover land.
The empty field spans close to 300 acres and is currently farmland. But the City of Mitchell is working with Davison County to turn this field into a gun range.
“We looked at a few different sites, CDI out of Brookings actually put two site designs together for us. One was our old, our old dump location. And then this was the second. And this site was the one that was chosen,” said Joe Schroeder, Public Works Director.
The proposed 1.3 million dollar project will include multiple bays going from 50 to 600 yards. Because the range is outside City limits, a conditional use permit must be approved first.
“It is the biggest hurdle. If it doesn’t… if it doesn’t receive the board of adjustment approval for the conditional use permit, the project is done,” said Jeff Batchke, Davison County Planning and Zoning Director.
Residents in the area found out about the proposed project last week.
“I am not against the shooting range. Just don’t put it in my backyard,” said Tom Starr, landowner and resident.
Tom Starr lives across the road from the proposed range. He says he’s worried about the noise and safety for the area.
“I’ve hunted enough, been around wildlife enough. I know that that shooting will affect wildlife,” Starr said.
Starr is not the only resident with concerns. Loren Vanovershelde lives adjacent to the proposed range.
“I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe anybody would even think of putting a gun range in this locality in this range knowing full well of all the residents surrounding it,” said Loren Vanovershelde, resident and landowner.
Vanovershelde says he’s concerned about property values decreasing and the disturbances caused by the range.
“How would we be able to enjoy our property, or the neighbors enjoy their property for that matter, with a constant barrage of gunfire and listening to that? There’d be no more outdoor enjoyment,” Vanovershelde said.
Residents can have their input heard on September 5th at the Davison County Zoning Hearing at 7 p.m.
The meeting will take place at the Davison County North Offices.
The next meeting will take place on September 19th.
A list of what is on the agenda for that meeting can be found here.