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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on April 16th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 7 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 7

City plans law enforcement shooting range at Los Flores

By ZAC EZZONE

After nearly four years without a shooting range for its police department, the city of Santa Maria plans to start construction on an outdoor range at Los Flores Ranch this summer.

The Santa Maria Police Department has been without a shooting range since the department relocated to its new station on Betteravia Road in 2015. Rather than building an indoor shooting range at the new station, the city wants to build an outdoor range on a 5-acre tract of land at the 1,774-acre ranch, which is located near the intersection of Dominion and Palmer roads.

"It's not always easy to find a suitable location because of the noise. ... Also, this is cost-effective compared to building an indoor range," Santa Maria Public Information Officer Mark van de Kamp said.

Los Flores Ranch is also the site of a future landfill for the city, and a public park with hiking and biking trails. However, van de Kamp said the city is taking precautions to ensure the project does not interfere with the safety of other people at the ranch.

"This site was carefully selected for its safety concerns," van de Kamp said. "It is in a box canyon, well away and out of view from Highway 101, and any other occupied area."

While waiting to build the shooting range, van de Kamp said officers are continuing their shooting training at a temporary range on private land that the land owner agreed to let the city use. The department has also rented time at Camp San Luis Obispo's range or sent officers to the Allan Hancock College range in Lompoc. Van de Kamp said the latter options are not preferred because they take officers out of Santa Maria.

Before the city can move forward with the project, the proposal must go through a state environmental review process and public comment period, both of which started on April 9. The state review ends May 8 and the public comment period closes on May 10.

According to the city's initial environmental study, construction of the project will have "significant, but mitigable, effects" on air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, hazardous materials, water quality, and noise. During the state's review process, numerous agencies are examining the project to ensure that it meets the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.

If the state approves the project, the city hopes officers can begin using the facility this fall. Construction of the project—which is estimated to cost $175,000 to $250,000—will include four shooting lanes, a 2,500 square-foot indoor shooting facility, a 2,040-square-foot mobile classroom and two parking lots with a combined 40 parking spaces.

Residents interested in commenting on the proposed project can send written comments to the city's Community Development Department at 110 S. Pine St., suite 101, Santa Maria, or email iyeung@cityofsantamaria.org or cng@santamaria.org.




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