Franklin County Commission

More shooting ranges could be coming to Franklin County under a zoning code change approved by county commissioners Tuesday.

The change allows people to apply for conditional use permits to open gun ranges in nonurban/agricultural zoning districts in the county.

The change was sought by Robert Dix of St. Louis who is proposing a gun range in southeast Franklin County in the Lonedell area off Highway 47.

The commission did not grant approval to the actual gun range that Dix is proposing.

The application for a conditional use permit for Dix’s actual gun range was scheduled to go before the Franklin County Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday night.

Planning and zoning commissioners were scheduled to take the matter under advisement and then send it to a planning review committee.

The planning and zoning commissioners are scheduled to give a final vote on the gun range April 16.

The county planning and zoning board has the final say on conditional use permits, not the county commission.

Dix’s proposed gun range is controversial because residents in the rural area are worried that it will be noisy with continuous firing.

But Dix said the gun range will be built in a fashion to hold down noise.

Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer said it makes sense to allow for a conditional use permit process for gun ranges in nonurban/agricultural areas. Gun ranges can already seek the permits for more urban areas, he said.

Likewise, Second District Commissioner Mike Schatz said if gun ranges seek the permits to operate in the areas, each application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, the zone change approved by the commission does not give blanket approval for gun ranges to operate in nonurban/agricultural districts.

The planning and zoning commission had already voted 10-0 to recommend that the county allow a conditional use permit process for gun ranges in the districts.

First District County Commissioner Tim Brinker said he thinks the fact that the gun ranges could not already seek the permits in the rural areas was an oversight in the county’s zoning code. Rural areas are commonly used for gun range locations in other counties, Brinker said.