Coventry residents concerned about proposed outdoor gun range

COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Residents in Coventry are expressing concerns over a proposed gun range located within miles of a school.

The gun range would be located outdoors and would allow high-powered rifles.

People in town say the proposed location, in the area of Town Farm and Mile Roads, is worrisome because it is not far from a school.

Shane McGrath lives on Town Farm Road and he says part of the reason he lives there is because it is quiet most of the time. His nephew and niece also live there and enjoy playing outside.

He is worried that wouldn’t be possible with a gun range right through the woods.

“We have serious safety and noise issues, never mind the fact that our real estate value, resale value, would plummet,” McGrath said.

About two dozen other properties are within 200 feet of where the proposed range would be located. While plans for the range show it will not be firing in the the school’s direction, the proposed range is only about a mile away from Washington Oak Elementary School the way the crow flies.

“The sound of gunfire has absolutely no place at an elementary school,” McGrath said.

Under the town’s zoning ordinance, the gun range would require a special permit.

One of the items it has to prove is that it will be, “generally compatible with lots in the same or abutting zoning.”

The zoning board will review the application at a meeting on Dec. 6.

In a written statement sent to Eyewitness News, John Psilopolous from 3 Zero Eight, who wants to build the range, said:

“Presently, we are in the process of seeking approvals from Town of Coventry agencies to develop a long range shooting facility on the nearly eighty acre parcel of property commonly known as 710 Town Farm Road. In brief, the proposal will serve members of the community, many of whom are law enforcement personnel, as a training facility. The design for the proposed long range is well thought out and fitting for the unique characteristics of the subject parcel. We have been offering training programs locally for many years and looks forward to expanding capabilities through the development of the Town Farm Road site.

As part of the Town’s continued review, the proposal’s design features will be analyzed, along with confirming adherence to municipal regulations. Importantly, results of testing performed on the property reflect that the noise from the facility will not exceed applicable Town limits. Notably, the suggested development of the facility involves modifications, or site work, that will further reduce the sounds generated during operation.

Additionally, an extensive operating procedure manual has been developed for the facility and submitted to the Town. The protocol advanced for the facility incorporates the best safety and management practices used by similar operations across the Country. In striving to gain the approvals necessary to develop the facility, our goal is to establish a state of the art shooting range for members of the community to use safely and responsibly for training purposes.”