[On the scene] Sounding off

Homeowners rue the backyard gun range

Joshua Longobardy

The vast majority of the 200 homeowners in the Carmel Canyon community in northwest Las Vegas just came across, this January, life-halting news: The Clark County Shooting Park, to be the world’s largest, is set to go up next year in their backyard.

And so, anxious and worried, they scrambled together an emergency homeowners’ association meeting on February 13 at Aliante Library, and invited various representatives from the government involved in the park to listen to their concerns. Which are namely noise and safety. That is, quality of life.

“Why haven’t they done the proper studies?” said resident Nick Uchyn, delivering a professor’s lecture, with diagrams and research, 30 minutes prior to the guests’ arrival. “It’s because they are not looking out for you.”

It was with this sentiment that the homeowners greeted the phalanx of government reps, including Councilman Steve Ross, in whose Ward 6 Carmel Canyon stands; representatives from the parks and recreation department and the offices of commissioners Rory Reid and Tom Collins; and the man on whom they all have conferred management of the park, on account of both his expertise and experience, Don Turner.

Those guests, seated in front of the room, were wholly unprepared for the barrage of questions, complaints and insults that were to be thrown their way.

“We had thought we were coming here to give a presentation,” said Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Terry Lamuraglia, when his genuflections to start were met with jeers.

It turned into a completely uncivil and discourteous affair, and it could only be explained by the homeowners’ impassioned fear for both the safety of their children and their peace and quiet, two entities worth fighting for tooth and nail, they say. The dignitaries, too, by and large, became indignant and indomitable, and in the end no actual discourse took place, so that if anyone, homeowner or government rep, came into the meeting ignorant or misguided, he left in that same exact state.

The shooting park is already a foregone conclusion—one 24 years in the making and solidified in 2002, when the land was transferred from the fed’s hands to the county’s per the Southern Nevada Land Management Act. That was two years before the first homes at Carmel Canyon were even built. And so, the fact that the homeowners moved in without any knowledge of the nearby shooting park, imminent and massive, seems to be strictly a conflict to be settled between the homeowners and their home-builders, Lennar, who allegedly, and apparently, did not disclose the information. Except for this critical fact, which was never broached in the heated three-hour meeting at Aliante: Why did the Las Vegas city council permit Lennar to build homes so close to the proposed shooting park?

Above all, without engaging the counsel of Don Turner, the shooting park’s expert in residence. “I don’t recall being a part of any conversations,” Turner said earlier to the Weekly.

“I wouldn’t have approved the homes,” said Ross, who was elected in 2005, one year after Lennar came before the city looking for permission to build Carmel Canyon. “I had no control because I hadn’t been elected.”

City representatives did not return phone calls by press time.

Photograph by Jacob Kepler

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