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Private gun range in central Berks puts residents on edge

Residents of Lower Alsace Township are concerned about noise and public safety issues surrounding the use of a private gun range at a Wolters Lane residence.

“Two bullets have already hit a neighbor’s house,” one resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said in an email to the Reading Eagle. “Anxiety levels are high.”

That resident said the noise is disrupting the lives of those on the 2700 block of Hill Road in the township.

Township Manager Don Pottiger said officials started receiving complaints about gunshots from the Wolters Lane property in late May.

A real estate listing on Zillow shows the property was bought by a new owner in February.

Pottiger said that initially, complaints only came in on weekends, but recently residents have said disruptive shooting is going on during the week as well.

“We’re working with the property owner and the police department … to make sure whatever shooting is being done down there is in a proper and safe manner,” Pottiger said.

Pottiger said the township has told the property owner about residents’ concerns.

“At this point, I think (the property owner’s) only response is there is not shooting going on outside of the hours that the ordinance covers,” Pottiger said.

He said that under the township’s firearms rules, guns can only be fired starting two hours after sunrise, and shooting must stop an hour before sunset.

Measuring the gun range’s compliance with the township’s noise ordinance would require reaching the area while the noise is still going on, which can pose a challenge, Pottiger said.

“I’m not even saying they’re not in compliance,” Pottiger said. “At this point we haven’t come up with anything that would say that anybody is guilty. But we did hear the complaints, so we’re entitled to go out and check on it.”

As for whether any bullets have hit neighboring houses, Pottiger said police have been called to the scene, but evidence that bullets from the range hit a resident’s house hasn’t been found.

Pottiger said the township is considering strengthening its firearms ordinance, but any discussion on the matter is still preliminary.

He declined to provide specifics as to what new rules the township may be planning to enact.

“If there’s something we would be doing that would impact the current property owners, we’re not looking to make any accusations, because we really don’t have enough proof of what’s going on up there,” Pottiger said.

He said the township’s current position on the issue is one of exploration: They’ve acknowledged the complaints from residents and are working with the property owner and police to figure out what’s happening.

A request for comment from the Central Berks Police Department, which covers Lower Alsace, was not returned.

Contact information for the owners of the Wolters Lane property was unavailable.


Source: Berkshire mont

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