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Liberty OKs shooting range near county line
Jeremy McAbee presents to commissioners the request to develop a private gun club and shoot facility near Highway 17
Jeremy McAbee, a planner with the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, presents a proposal for a shooting range during the Liberty County commissioners meeting Tuesday. - photo by Photo by Tiffany King

A new, private gun club and shooting facility will be developed on the east side of North Coastal Highway 17 near the Leroy Coffer Highway intersection, close to the Bryan County line.

The request to operate a shooting facility was presented at the Liberty County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday evening and was approved. Kyle Christiansen and his business partners will lease 250 of the roughly 1,100-acre property owned by Joseph Norris Jr.
Jeremy McAbee, planner I with the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, presented the request.

“Currently, the property is undeveloped and bounded by the northeast and east by land owned by a timber company,” he said. “And that’s worthy to note because that’s the direction the range will actually face. They’ll be shooting away from (Highway) 17.”

McAbee said the Planning Commission heard one concern from a nearby neighbor about noise.

Toby Hansen, Christiansen’s business partner, explained that he did a noise test using a dosimeter, a device used to measure sound levels. He found that on a Sunday afternoon, with light traffic and no log trucks, the dosimeter measured 80 decibels. The noise of skeet shooting measured between 50 and 60 decibels — quieter than passing traffic. Hansen also measured noise near the neighbor’s home while having someone shoot on the property. He said the noise didn’t register.

Commissioner Marion Stevens Sr. asked about future development in the area near the gun club. District 4 Commissioner Pat Bowen, whose district includes the planned gun range, responded that he doesn’t foresee a lot developing in the immediate area. He said that there would be more than 800 acres of buffer between the shooting club and any development.

Hansen said an industrial park will be developed north of the site, but he doesn’t think noise will be an issue.   

“All the shooting will be directed towards the east, away from the property, out into the marsh,” Hansen explained. “We want to add skeet and sport clays, a rifle range, pistol range and there’s a big pond there that we are in the process of trying to get stocked now.

“We’re really going to try and create a family atmosphere, where people keep using the place, bring their kids there to fish in the pond, and have separate range just for children,” Hansen said. “We plan on building a small lodge, where we have an entertainment-type room. It will have a fireplace, TV for football games, Super Bowl games, things like that, where people can hang out after shooting. Also, we want a pro shop with some hats and T-shirts.”

Stevens mentioned that people have already been shooting on Norris’ property.

The facility will offer instructional classes taught by certified professionals and an archery range, along with a five-stand and trap area. Local schools and youth organizations, such as the Boy Scouts and 4-H clubs, also will have access to the range for instruction.

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