In sight: Chocolay Township gun range moving forward
CHOCOLAY — Action taken at the Jan. 13 meeting of the Chocolay Township Board may mean the municipality could be home to an enclosed gun range before the end of August.
In two separate unanimous votes, the board approved the second reading of ordinance language for the township firearms and zoning ordinances, paving the way for Lake Michigan Armory to put an enclosed, self-contained shooting range near its existing business along U.S. 41 South.
Under the approved changes indoor sport shooting range was added as an exception to the township’s firearms ordinance.
“Firearms discharged within indoor sport shooting ranges that are totally enclosed and impenetrable by manufacturer-allowed calibers and velocities, mitigate noise, mitigate lead are located within the Mixed Use Overlay District or the Industrial (I) zoning district, and comply with all external government agencies including health and safety,” ordinance language states.
The second motion amended the township zoning ordinance to add enclosed indoor firing ranges in township mixed-use commercial and industrial overlay zones.
During a phone interview on Thursday, Township Supervisor Richard Bohjanen said there was no public comment on either matter prior to the board casting votes on the two issues.
Tom Kolinsky, the owner and president of Lake Michigan Armory, said the township decision brings his company “a step in the right direction” to getting the shooting facility up and running this summer.
He said the company is working with the Marquette County Codes Department for approval of its plans for the proposed building.
“The Marquette County building department has certain rules and regulations, being that it is going to be its own building and because the general public is going to be using it, they have to evaluate it due to the safety and other concerns,” Kolinsky said. “But there’s a high probability that we can get it in by early summer.”
An initial request for site plan approval was denied by the township planning commission on July 22. Upon appeal by Lake Michigan Armory, the township board voted 6-1 during a Sept. 8 meeting to approve the site plan and further directed the planning commission to provide revisions to township ordinances to accommodate the activity.
According to information contained in a letter accompanying the Sept. 13 board appeal, the building will be a “state-of-the-art indoor shooting facility, in compliance with all safety and environmental rules and regulations,” the letter states. The facility will include “extensive ventilation, spent lead collection, lead recycling, gun range safety, employee and client safety procedures, and noise suppression, among other (things).”
Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.