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Borough Shoots Down Seldovia Gun Range Location

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Photo from KBBI Database
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A proposal to develop a borough-owned parcel of land along Rocky Street in Seldovia as a shooting range was shot down by the assembly at its meeting May 17. 

The Seldovia Sportsmen’s Club petitioned the borough to classify a nearly 30-acre parcel as recreational, and applied to lease the property. The club says that membership is growing, and developing a spot out of town to shoot will increase safety and decrease public nuisance from noise. The parcel is next to the landfill on Rocky Street, about a mile and a half south of town.

Other community members disagree. Seven Seldovia residents and landowners attended the meeting to tell the assembly in person why they oppose that location for a shooting range. Noise is the biggest complaint. Linda Smogor lives 2,000 feet from the borough parcel.

“It’s pretty unnerving, there’s a psychological response. When you hear gunfire it’s like, 'Whoa. What’s going on here?'" said Smogor.

Carolyn Strand has land across Seldovia Bay. She says she can already hear gunshots from people shooting at the landfill. She also thinks a shooting range in that location could hurt tourism.

“The kayaking has gotten to be quite popular because the bay is quite nice to kayak in, and it’s much safer than Kachemak Bay. They’re not going to come with this noise, and I think a lot of the business people haven’t figured that out yet,” said Strand.

Other concerns include a negative impact to property values, safety issues and potential lead contamination, since the parcel has several creeks draining into the bay.

Most of the residents didn’t object to the land being classified recreational, but wanted a stipulation that it not be used for a shooting range. Assembly members agreed that the spot wasn’t ideal for a gun range. Given that, Brent Johnson, of Kasilof, said he didn’t see the point in reclassifying the land at this time.

“Perhaps later it will turn out that Seldovia grows and that part of this would be useful for residential. At this time the future borough administration will make recommendations to us, or the people of Seldovia will,” said Johnson.

The assembly voted unanimously against the reclassification. That means the gun range lease is discharged, as well.