Valpo council approves former Fetla’s annexation
By James D. WOlf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent July 23, 2012 10:12PM
Updated: July 23, 2012 11:24PM
VALPARAISO — The former Fetla’s Trading Post on Indiana 2 is coming into the city, and the people buying it hope to have the bow-and-arrow and gun and shooting range called The Range open by the start of 2013.
The City Council approved the annexation of that property at 1457 Indiana 2 and two others — 1457-1 and 1451 Indiana 2 — Monday night in a 6-0 vote with Council Member Joey Larr absent.
Although the council chambers were packed with people, only three spoke against the project, which would turn the building into a six bay, 15 range shooting facility.
The developers would begin 30 days after this annexation on construction of a concrete building within the 30,000 square foot existing building at the cost of more than $1 million.
Before the vote, Council Member Tim Daly said the council researched the matter, some of them going with Bill Ferngren, the developers’ attorney, to look at a similar range built in the Lake Station City Hall.
He said that noise levels were so low that when they were outside, kids dribbling basketballs down the street overpowered any shots.
“I hope you feel a little better that we did look into these things,” Daly said.
The Range needs to keep noise levels under 65 decibels at the property line with restrictions the city put on the property, which is next to residential housing in unincorporated Porter County.
Ferngren said that level of noise is similar to a restaurant conversation, and a vacuum or garbage disposal is 80 to 85 decibels.
The city also won’t allow outdoor ranges, and the owners are required to clean the outside within three years.
Council Member Bob Taylor said, “Can you step that up? Certainly if you’re putting that kind of money into the inside, can’t you do something with the outside?”
Resident Petar Arsenijevic said he is concerned not only about his family, but the affect the noises would have on nearby businesses, such as a stable, as well as toxicity from things other than lead from bullets.
The city is requiring compliance with EPA and OSHA and state, local and national standards, including lead removal and for The Range to have air filters as part of the added eight conditions.
Simone Byvoets, a University Heights resident for more than 20 years, said she is concerned the city doesn’t have power to make changes once The Range is functioning.
An attorney, Byvoets said she hasn’t decided yet what her next step would be.
City Planning Director Tyler Kent said the annexation would benefit the city by bringing in $1.476 million in taxes.