Aiken officials deny rezoning for shooting range

AIKEN --- Several Aiken County residents who live near 240 acres off Rudy Mason Parkway got their wish Tuesday.

The council unanimously denied a proposal to amend the Aiken County Zoning Map to change the zoning of the land along Rudy Mason, Richland Avenue East, Old Wagener Road and Rushton Road from industrial to rural.

Before the vote, Rushton Road resident Darryl Messer said the change, which was proposed in hopes of placing a shooting range on the land, would be a nuisance and a danger to those near the property.

"This is not what needs to be in a residential neighborhood," he said. "You hear gunshots, and you're going to think the worst. You're going to think your neighbor got shot."

Several council members agreed that the area was not appropriate for a shooting range.

Councilman Scott Singer said the proposal could be a positive development in other rural areas of the county.

"There's probably an appropriate place in the county for your visions," Mr. Singer said. "It just has to be right. This isn't right."

Councilwoman Kathy Rawls said the residents who attended the meeting to oppose the zoning change should speak with their councilman, Willard Hightower, about the current industrial zoning. It permits salvage yards and development that would not be desirable for the area, she said.

"There's no buffer there for the industrial zone and the residential area," Ms. Rawls said. "I suggest you all check on the current zoning because there may be other things that come along that are permissible but undesirable."

Sean Power, the developer who proposed the zoning change, said he hopes to find a better location for the outdoor sporting park and open it by 2011.

Reach Stephanie Toone at (803) 648-1395 ext. 110, or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

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