Batavia city planners hear proposal for firearms training site | Local News
Proposed firearms training site at Batavia
BATAVIA — Planning council heard a brief outline Tuesday evening of a proposed firearms training site off Harloff Road, but a fuller presentation is expected at the April 6 council meeting.
Brandon Lewis, who owns The Firing Pin, LLC, in Bergen and offers the training site to Batavia, said he would provide a more detailed look at the proposal in three weeks.
Lewis applies for a special use permit for the firearms training range on property he and his wife, Anna-Marie, own in Batavia. The council plans to schedule a public hearing on the application on April 6.
Lewis said he would be willing to speak to anyone with concerns about noise or any other issues.
“I hope this is one of those things that we start the discussion on with the city and nearby residents and neighbors,” he said. “We want to be good neighbours, obviously, and we want to see that happy common ground.”
Lewis said Batavia’s property is the former PolarWave Snowtubing property, 3500 Harloff Rd. The training facility would be open seven days a week.
“We’ll find hours of operation that will work for everyone and go from there,” he said.
Brandon Lewis said there was nothing wrong with the operation of private gun clubs in the area, but said his proposed range of firearms training would be a bit more accessible to the public.
“Most clubs don’t have websites. If you don’t know someone who is in the club, it’s very difficult to reach them,” he said. “It (the Harloff Road site, will be open for the majority of the day and evening. Training is a huge aspect of what we will be doing, along with social activities like any other club would have for its members , whatever they want to have.
What type of firearms training does the site offer?
“Everything from basic beginner-type stuff to very high-level training – from people who have never done it before to law enforcement and military looking to stay current and everywhere in between — the kids, the trap teams,” he said. “We’ve been spreading the word about the property for quite a while now. There’s so much excitement.
“We are very friendly with … area law enforcement – not only Genesee, but also Orleans and Wyoming County. A lot of these guys are very dedicated to their own training program…whether their department pays or not, they’ll be there in their spare time. We would love to formally partner with the departments,” he said. “I know Genesee County has their own range, which is a nice tactical range, but they don’t have long range elements, whereas here we’re hoping to go up to 300 or 400 yards or more. I think it would be a good addition to what they already have access to. It’s definitely something unique and we hope people will take advantage of what we’re going to offer.
Part of the uniqueness of the proposed firearms training site at Batavia, Lewis said, would also be the style of training.
“We are going to offer a current teaching style. There’s a big growing movement of what we call combat athletics,” he said, adding that combat athletics is physical activity combined with shooting. He said it would be similar to what is done during tactical games, which the games website says is a platform to test the skills and readiness of tactical athletes from all walks of life.
The 22-acre site on Harloff Road would provide significantly more space than The Firing Pin to set up courses and have spectators.
“You will have to take a course before you are allowed to go out and use the facilities… Once you are a member you will have a lot more freedom to go out and use the club,” he said.
Lewis said that if the proposal is approved, once the training center is up and running and bringing in money, he hopes a clubhouse can be built in which to hold classes. For the time being, the course should take place at the Firing Pin.
“We’ve been setting up the ranges for most of the past year. A big part was, ‘If we set a goal here, does it work?’ The terrain is such that there is not much you can do to start a shooting range,” he said.
Lewis said he was seeing concerns on social media about noise and other issues related to his proposal. He said he understands the concerns of people who have not seen the training site plans.
“We’ll be happy to show everyone the plan…and just the things we’ll have in place, security-wise,” he said. “I think it’s well suited to what we want to do.”