Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

Meade County Commission drafts shooting range ordinance; first reading set for November

STURGIS, SD – The Meade County Commission has drafted a proposed shooting range ordinance in response to the proposed $10 million shooting range complex to be located near the intersection of Elk Vale Road and Elk Creek Road in Meade County.

After being made aware by those opposing the gun range that the county could make the final determination of whether a shooting range could be built or not based on South Dakota Codified Law 21-10-32,  the commission asked that a draft ordinance be developed outlining requirements for such a construction.

At it’s meeting Tuesday, the commission set first reading of the ordinance to be held November 8 at the regularly scheduled commission meeting.

The proposed ordinance was devised using National Rifle Association guidelines and county ordinances in other locations.

Tyler Woods, among landowners opposing the gun range, said the commission did a good job of drafting the ordinance.

Woods posits the requirements of the ordinance might be enough to stop the project completely. But, if the project was to move forward, the ordinance would at lease set forth regulations that must be followed by the South Dakota Game Fish & Parks, the agency developing the public shooting range.

He is recommending to include public right-of-ways in the language in the ordinance that deals with restrictions that currently reference only roadways and buildings.

The first reading of the ordinance and public comment is set for Tuesday, Nov. 8 in Sturgis at the county commission and safety building.

The Meade County Commission initially opposed the proposed gun range. In a draft letter to Gov. Noem, the Commision noted objections while seeking guidance on how to address the issues, particularly as to “how the State can partner with Meade County to ensure our residents are not carrying the financial burden of this project.”

That letter prompted South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks representatives to meet with the Meade County Commission on July 27, 2021 with an overview of what was initially being called the Rapid City Firearms Range Complex.

Since that time, ranchers whose land is adjacent to the range have opposed the project that if built, will be  the largest gun range in the United States. They note concerns of decreasing property values, increased crime, safety issues, loss of livestock, road maintenance, air, ground and water pollution, increased taxation and loss of quality of life. Also opposing the gun range are the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, the Prairie Hills Audubon Society, and Defenders of the Black Hills.

South Dakota Governor Krist Noem is a supporter of the project as are economic development agencies in Sturgis and Rapid City, SD. Plans were to break ground on the project in May 2022.  That has been delayed with continued opposition.

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