A firing range established with a handshake 40 years ago is in line to receive an operational permit, and all the rules and regulations that go with it.
Now it’s up to the folks who own the place north of Lone Star Lake — all active-duty or retired law-enforcement personnel — to see whether they agree with the conditions of a new conditional use permit.
The vote is expected Nov. 14, as members of the Lawrence lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police gather to potentially end what has been a five-year effort to satisfy Douglas County requirements, appease nearby neighbors, and accommodate training and personal requirements of FOP members and area law-enforcement agencies to properly shoot pistols, rifles and other firearms.
Douglas County commissioners approved the permit Wednesday evening, sending the two-page document along to the 250 members of the FOP’s Lawrence lodge for ratification.
“I think this has a decent change of passing,” said Dan Affalter, a retired captain for the Lawrence Police Department, who has been heading the lodge’s permitting committee for the past five years.
The permit would limit hours of operation, mandate filing of a plan for managing lead levels on the site and require that the lodge find a way to reduce noise levels affecting nearby residences.
Suggestions have included putting up a berm alongside the pistol range at the 94-acre site, something county commissioners have indicated a willingness to help accomplish — possibly using county equipment, county personnel or even county funds.
“Let us know how we can assist, when the time comes,” said Jim Flory, commission chairman.
The lodge plans on working with a sound specialist to determine what changes, if any, could be made to the site, which was established in 1967 and had its lodge built in 1971 — all, Affalter said, with verbal approval from county leaders and construction help from neighbors.
“We don’t want to waste time and effort on something that’s not going to work,” Affalter said after Wednesday’s meeting. “We will make a good-faith effort to do everything we can to make it better.”