TOWN OF TURTLE

No bullets or shells will fly at the proposed site for a shooting and sports club after the town of Turtle’s planning commission voted 6-0 Wednesday to reject a conditional-use permit for such a facility.

Matt Lewandowski, an Illinois resident who asked for the permit at 7220 Highway 67, said Wednesday the club would be a small, private group and that shooting wouldn’t take place every day.

He said members could treat it as a “weekend getaway” and wouldn’t shoot in the morning or evening. He hoped it could help veterans.

“We want to be good neighbors. We think we can be beneficial to the community,” he said.

Residents weren’t convinced. Numerous people living in the nearby Foxhollow neighborhood and around the proposed location opposed the idea.

Most residents said they moved to the area south of Clinton because it was quiet and peaceful, and some worried about having guns that close to their children who play nearby.

Shawn Clark lives near the proposed site. He organized a petition that more than 100 people signed, he said.

Though the property now has trees and other vegetation blocking the line of sight into Foxhollow backyards, Clark said in the fall, shooters at the club would be firing in the direction of his home and family.

“This is an unsuitable piece of land to be using firearms,” Clark said.

Brian Burkman also lives nearby. He agreed that the commission should reject the club.

“I feel that our township is not a playground for people out of state,” Burkman said.

The commission agreed with residents and voted unanimously to reject the proposal. Commission member Bob Hanawell said a horse ranch nearby was another reason not to approve the permit.

Commission member Blake Hullah said he didn’t have a problem with the plan or the facility but that the proposed location was not suitable.

Commission chairman Darrell Simonides said Lewandowski said last month that there would be 100 to 200 members in the club, contradicting his assertion Wednesday that it would be a small group.

Simonides also said he asked Lewandowski other questions in the last few weeks and got mixed responses. He said Lewandowski pitched using suppressors as an option to allay noise concerns, but Simonides said one gun expert he talked to said the devices are difficult to obtain.

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