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County moves firing range meeting to Grove Street Courthouse

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The number of people expected to turn out to oppose a firing range in Saluda prompted a change in location late Friday afternoon in the meeting place for adjoining property owners.

Due to traffic and safety concerns associated with holding the proposed training center informational meeting in the Macedonia Road area, county officials moved the meeting to the Grove Street Courthouse, 200 N  . Grove St.  County officials said the meeting is for residents of the Macedonia Road area who were previously contacted directly by Henderson County via letter. County officials will be there to answer questions and respond to concerns about the proposed location.


"We did test shooting out there yesterday and you cannot hear it in Saluda," Wyatt said. "We fired everything we had and had  decibel readers" to measure the sound at several locations. The noise did not carry to the town of Saluda. The shots could be heard at nearby homes, he said, but that's before any sound suppression measures or berms to block the noise.

The decision to hold the meeting in Hendersonville reversed earlier plans to meet on the site.

Adjoining property owners make up a fraction of the total number of area residents already involved in a robust effort to oppose the firing range. Opponents in the town of Saluda organized a communitywide meeting Monday night to talk about the plans and plot their opposition. Henderson County Commissioner Grady Hawkins, who represents the district where the range would be built, said Thursday night he had received "more emails than there are residents of Saluda."

Green Riverkeeper Gray Jernigan announced to volunteers Saturday that MountainTrue was postponing a river cleanup in order to attend the Saturday morning information session.

"The reason for the change is that Henderson County is moving quickly to acquire a property adjacent to the Green River Game Lands at 2823 Macedonia Road for a law enforcement training center and shooting range," said Jernigan, who is also MountainTrue's southern office director. "We have lots of concerns about lead contamination and water quality, noise impacts on wildlife, sedimentation from land clearing and development, and potential steep slope development and landslide risk. The county has scheduled an informational meeting on the site for 10 a.m. Saturday. We plan to attend before the cleanup, and hope you will join us."

John McHugh, who owns 30 acres adjoining the 99-acre site the county wants to buy for the training center, responded to several points Wyatt and county commission Chairman Michael Edney made in response to an opponent of the firing range.

 "What people seem to be missing is the fact that the property at some point in time would likely be developed for residential purposes," the county officials said. "In other words the potential for 70 to 80 single family houses."

"It appears that whoever wrote this is unfamiliar with both the property and the relevant portions of the county's own Land Development Code," McHugh said. "At 1.5 acres per dwelling under R3 zoning, the maximum number of houses would be 66, if the land were flat. The land is not flat and the code substantially reduces density in such cases.  The density is further reduced by floodplain areas, space needed for access roads, utilities, etc."

The Macedonia Road property is between U.S. 176 and Old Howard Gap Road and near I-26.