WOODBINE — A noise analysis for a planned firing range near the Camden County landfill is recommending “the lower end of the annoyance criteria” be used when the facility opens later this year.
J&A Engineering LLC, the company that conducted the analysis, concluded noise should not be an issue because of the lack of residents living near the proposed site.
The study, which still has to be approved by Camden County commissioners, identified three locations where residents may hear gunfire, depending on the distance from targets and the type of weapons used.
Capt. Larry Bruce, a Camden County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said the closest family lives about one mile from the site.
The range is mostly for public use, but it will be used by local law enforcement and public safety agencies periodically, Bruce said.
“The majority of the time it will be for public use,” he said.
Currently, the only firing range is in St. Marys and it is not open to the public. The range, used by local law enforcement officials, has very limited capacity for training, with no targets more than 75 yards long.
According to the study, the planned range will typically operate four to seven days a week, during daylight hours only.
The study suggests planting tall vegetation or trees on earthen berms to “completely block the view” of the range and to dampen noise. The wind direction will also determine how well nearby residents hear noise from the range.
A business plan is being developed to determine who will manage the range and the amenities that will be offered at the site.
Camden County Administrator Steve Howard said county commissioners are expected to meet with one of the consultants who conducted the noise study within 30 days.
They also have to accept the $500,000 DNR grant that will pay for the range. The grant requires the county to operate the range for the next 25 years, which is why commissioners will also carefully review the business plan, Howard said.
Bruce said he expects the range to be open for business by the end of the year.
“Once we start turning the dirt, it will be usable within six months,” he said. “It will be a work in progress.”
Concessions, safety and instruction courses, and a possible archery range also planned, Bruce said.
“I think it will attract people from Southeast Georgia and North Florida,” he said. “We’re hearing really positive feedback.”