League City council puts off vote on gun range
League City officials postponed a vote Tuesday night on a zoning change for the Clear Creek Gun Range so they can visit during a workshop meeting next week.
City Council unanimously approved City Councilman Tim Paulissen's motion for the postponement and City Council's workshop at the gun range, which is on 80 acres near FM 1266 and Texas 96. The meeting will tentatively be held either next Tuesday or Thursday, Paulissen said.
But despite Paulissen's motion for the postponement and workshop, he said he still supports changing the gun range's zoning from single-family residential to general commercial. When City Council gave preliminary approval to the rezoning earlier this month, City Councilman Neil Baron cast the lone dissenting vote.
The proposal to change the zoning requires support from three-fourths of the city council because Sam Boyd, owner of property next to the gun range, has protested the switch.
I want all the council members who haven't had a chance to visit the property, see its topography, and the proximity to the other concerning properties to have that opportunity," Paulissen said. I'm 100 percent for granting the commercial zoning, but I think there are some other council members who feel a little bit uncomfortable."
The gun range is currently exempt from zoning restrictions because it opened long before League City adopted zoning, but the owner -- the mayor's father-in-law, Ernie Randall -- has said he wants to make sure future city officials don't change their minds.
Paulissen said he's fine with rezoning the gun range since only a portion of it could be developed because of a lake on the property. That area is already next to commercial property, he said.
My contention is there's plenty of water, berming and quite a bit of property on that side that already buffers it," Paulissen said.
And while Paulissen said he has only received one e-mail from a resident protesting the potential zoning change for the gun range, Baron remains opposed to the proposal. But he commended City Council for postponing its vote and deciding to have a workshop meeting to visit the gun range.
For a rezoning request of this magnitude involving these individuals, I am very pleased to see this council continue to demonstrate its willingness to invest their personal time to make sure that we get these things right," Baron said.
Baron said he still believes that revising the city's zoning ordinance for the issuing of a special-use permit to allow the range to continue operating would be better than rezoning the property to a much less restrictive category. A special-use permit would allow the gun range to operate without exposing neighbors to the future possibilities allowed by commercial zoning, he said.
It's better than simply just changing zoning classifications on a case-by-case scenario," Baron said.
In 2005, the range's zoning designation was changed from office commercial to single-family residential as part of a citywide rezoning while owner Ernie Randall was on vacation in Alaska. Then-Mayor Jerry Shults at one point met with other city leaders and Boyd to discuss declaring the gun range a public nuisance, according to city legal invoices.
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