MOCKSVILLE — After a five-hour public hearing, the Davie County Board of Adjustment delayed voting Tuesday night on a controversial special-use permit application filed by the owners of a proposed gun range/paramilitary training center.
On a unanimous voice vote, the five board members approved a motion to continue the meeting for another week until Sept. 23.
“We’re all tired. We’ve been here a while,” said Wayne Webb, the board’s chairman. “We’ve heard a tremendous amount of testimony both for and against the request. Everyone who signed up to speak — and some who didn’t.”
More than 250 people filled an auditorium at the Brock Performing Arts Center and spilled into an overflow room set up in an adjacent gymnasium to hear details about the training center presented by Kirk and Christina Peavy, the owners of Recoil Management Academy LLC and their representatives.
At issue is a large gun range and training center that the Peavys propose building on about 40 acres of a 138-acre tract they own in the Sheffield community in western Davie County.
The Peavys, through their attorney Michael Boyer, presented results from studies about noise, ballistics and safety.
“It’s about accountability,” Kirk Peavy said during the hearing.
Led by attorney Kirk Sanders of Winston-Salem, opponents voiced objections over safety issues, fears about declines in property values, noise and environmental pollution and an unwanted incursion into a quiet, rural lifestyle.
Sanders showed photos of damage caused by bullets he said were fired from the property earlier this year.
“There’s not any ballistic proof of that,” Kirk Peavy said.
Bill Massencup, a neighbor and retired Winston-Salem police officer who worked with the department’s tactical squad, spoke about the Winston-Salem Police Department’s decision to close a police firing range in Clemmons in 2003 due to safety concerns.
He said that bullets fired from trained officers occasionally strayed over protective berms installed there and worried that the same will happen with a long-distance firing range open to novice shooters.
“The Winston-Salem Police Department didn’t close it because it was the right thing to do,” he said. “They closed it because it was the safest thing to do. They were worried about bullets going over the berms and made that decision with the safety of the community in mind.”
The Board of Adjustment meeting is scheduled to resume at 6 p.m. Sept. 23 in the same auditorium at the Brock Performing Arts Center.