Development order in place for outdoor shooting range

By DOTTY NIST

A development order is in place for the Range Project, an outdoor shooting range planned for a 48+-acre site on the east side of U.S. 331 and just south of DeFuniak Springs.

The Range Project was approved 3-1 by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) in November 2019 following a four-hour public hearing.

The approval had been subject to the applicants, 331 Property, meeting conditions they had agreed to at the hearing, among those eight-foot buffers, a wall on the west and south property boundaries, the use of sound suppressors, and the type of design outlined by the applicants, along with other conditions recommended by staff.

According to Mac Carpenter, Walton County Planning and Development Services director, the development order had been issued on Feb. 28 after expiration of the period allowed for appeal of the project. (There was no appeal.)

The development order specifies that: no caliber larger than 7.56 millimeters will be used at the range; noise suppressors will be used on rifles with caliber greater than 5.56 millimeters; type and design of baffles will be in line with published National Rifle Association (NRA) caliber standards; no alcohol will be allowed outside of the posted “no weapons” area; any weapons-related incidents will be reported to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and the planning department; there is to be no parking on the U.S. 331 right-of-way; a trained Range Safety Officer is to be present anytime there is live fire; and that Eglin Air Force Base is to be kept up to date on any changes in operations, among other conditions.

Carpenter said no additional county approvals are required for the project.