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Proposed ‘shooting range’ draws fire

A proposed shooting range and training facility off Sheffield and Duke Whittaker roads has neighbors in an uproar.

Kirk and Christina Peavy own Recoil Management Academy, and have asked the Davie County Board of Adjustment for a special use permit to build and operate the facility. The board is expected to hear the request at a 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday, March 17 in the commissioner’s meeting room, second floor, Davie County Administration building in Downtown Mocksville.

The opposition to the proposal has nothing to do with an opposition to firearms, Jody Blackwelder, a nearby resident, said in a Facebook post.

“Our community does not need this facility,” he said. “This facility is going to bring endangerment to our community, it is going to hurt the wellness of our community, and it’s going to hurt the environment.”

He mentioned the long-range shooting ranges and high-powered weapons proposed to be fired at the proposed range. They are too close to homes, churches and William R. Davie Elementary, he said, adding that some of the weapons can fire ammunition that can travel up to five miles.

“We’ve got to fight this,” he said. “The only way we can do this is to show up (at the meeting). We have to show up in numbers.”

Also in a Facebook post, the Peavys said that “misunderstandings are being shared in our community.” The Peavys, along with their children, live on the property.

“While it is difficult fo us to see and hear such come from sources who we have yet to meet or speak with directly, we deeply understand the sensitivity around the topic of firearms and the standard our community will hold us to,” they wrote. “We believe both to be fair, and indeed embrace them. It is your right as a Davie County citizen to know what Recoil Management Academy is, what we intend, and how our company will interact with and affect our greater community.”

The academy, already taking memberships online, said it’s personnel has “vast military special operation experiences,” and will teach executive protection, high threat training cells including sniper and long-range shooting, threat and vulnerability assessments, security audits, active shooter training, incident response training, workplace violence prevention training, and drone surveillance and protection operations.

It would feature a 100-yard covered range and a 400-yard known distance range, a 5-stage skeet range, a pro shop, classrooms, MediVac helicopter pad, and locker room. Some of the packages being sold online include cigars and liquor.

Blackwelder posted that tactical exercises should be expected. “The facts are, this is not going to be safe. William R. Davie Elementary School is just 2.8 miles away and a stray bullet like they’re firing is going to go over five miles. This is going to be military exercises and its going to affect our well being.”

Kirk Peavy is a retired military member, and continued working with the military after retirement.

“Because of Kirk’s service, we recognize the need for safe, reliable and well-disciplined personal firearms instruction for the many members of our community who also recognize the need for proper exercise of our rights as American citizens,” the Peavys wrote.

They go on to say that such training could include those who help keep people safe.

“Our charter is to forge and strengthen the bonds between its residents and community stakeholders – all of us. That charge is one we hold dear, and one we know to be in all of our best interests.

“We are fellow Davie County and Sheffield community residents first and foremost. We live, eat, work and play here, as do our children. We want to know you, and we want the opportunity to earn your trust. Although ours are not yet quite as deep, we, too, have planted our roots in Davie.”

The Peavys have requested a special use permit for an outdoor shooting range, which is allowed in residential-agricultural areas as the property is zoned. The quasi-judicial adjustment board hears evidence from both sides before making decision, much like a jury does.

The county’s definition for a shooting range: “The use of land for archery and/or the discharging of firearms for the purposes of target practice or temporary competitions.”

Andrew Meadwell, Davie’s development and facilities services director, said that per county ordinance a special use permit “is permitted in a zoning law subject to specific requirements that are imposed to assure that the proposed use is in harmony with the immediate neighborhood and will not adversely affect surrounding properties.”

To grant a permit, the board must find that: the use will not materially endanger the public health or safety; meets all required conditions and specifications; will not substantially injure the value of adjoining or abutting property, or that the use is a public necessity; will be in harmony with the area in which it is to be located and will be in general conformity with the plan of development of the county; and the project will be consistent with the Davie County Land Development Plan or other adopted policies.

The Peavys had applied for a special permit from Yadkin County for a similar facility, and it was unanimously rejected by the adjustment board there.