Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Gun Club approved for new location

Sun Valley OKs new facility

Express Staff Writer

A new Sun Valley Co. Gun Club facility is on target to open next summer. The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission approved the relocation of the Gun Club this week to a new, permanent location, with assurances that lead-shot pollution will be mitigated.

"We are doing the politically and environmentally correct thing. This is not a biohazard of any kind. We are going way beyond what I think is safe for the environment and for the people," said Wally Huffman, Sun Valley Co. general manager.

The commission approved the design review application Tuesday, Sept. 12, for a new site on Trail Creek Road, directly across the road from Trail Creek Cabin. The location is approximately one mile north of the pre-existing Gun Club facility, which was located northeast of Sun Valley Village along Trail Creek Road.

"This canyon is probably as good as we are going to get," Commissioner John Gaeddert said.

The city granted administrative approval on Aug. 31 for temporary storage of the Gun Club clubhouse to the new area. The existing structure has been moved to the new site and will be placed on a new foundation, with construction of a gravel parking lot slated. Water and power will be extended from the facilities at Trail Creek Cabin.

Approval for a permanent facility, which will include skeet, trap and sporting-clay shooting accouterments, came on Tuesday after the commission questioned the environmental impacts of lead levels in the soil. The discussion is in light of the company's current work to reclaim soil from years of Gun Club activity on the previous site.

The company has not decided whether to limit the use of lead shot or to line the area, but it does provide for an underground culvert, designed to mitigate water pollution, in its design.

To prevent lead infiltration into riparian areas, the commission approved the design, subject to a condition that if lead shot is allowed, the adjacent land shall be lined according to the Department of Environmental Quality guidelines.

Plans to reopen the new facility in June 2007 should please Gun Club enthusiasts. Earlier this year, there was no determination as to whether Gun Club activity would continue at a new location, how the historic clubhouse building would be used, or where it might be relocated.

Activity at the historic facility ended in July to make way for a new nine-hole golf course and housing. The new development is part of Sun Valley Co.'s long-term master plan for its vast acreage.

"We suggested that we weren't motivated to relocate the Gun Club. We had significant public input, both local and from our guests, that wanted it to be relocated," Huffman said.

The approval also came with a condition to require that litter is contained, noxious weeds are mitigated and the Bureau of Land Management is allowed administrative access to the adjacent public lands.

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