West Palm Beach mayor opposes construction of shooting range

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Mayor Jeri Muoio says she is opposed to the construction of a shooting range near the historic Flamingo Park and Grandview Heights neighborhoods near Howard Park.

On Thursday, Muoio said she was concerned about the proximity of the proposed shooting range to the neighborhoods and the park.

"For people to be going to and from that location so near a park and so near a neighborhood filled with children and young people is concerning," Muoio said. "This applicant has done everything he can do to make this a more palatable development and, of course, we want to see development in our city, but the fact that it's a gun range is concerning to me."

Earlier this year,  West Palm Beach Planning Board staff members cleared the construction of the shooting range and a gun shop in an industrial zone in the 1000 block of Clare Avenue.

Construction of the shooting range required a variance from the Planning Board because its location is within 1,000 feet of the nearest homes.

State laws allow gun shops in industrial zones.

"We want commerce in our city. That's part of what makes it a great place to live. But, when you have a business that could negatively impact its neighbors, then that is not the right business for that location," Margie Yansura, a West Palm Beach resident said.

Muoio's opposition does not mean the shooting range will not be built.

The store's owner needs the approval of the West Palm Beach Zoning Board of Appeals before the shooting range can be built.

Alex Shkop, the store's owner, referred inquiries from WPTV NewsChannel 5 to the project's planner, Jon Schmidt, president of Jon E. Schmidt and Associates.

Schmidt did not comment on the mayor's announcement.

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