KINGMAN – Tourists seeking to experience the Old West can pull out their six-shooters at the Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch following Monday’s approval of a cowboy action shooting range at the 350-acre ranch in Yucca.
Mohave County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to rezone a parcel on Rainbow Road from agricultural residential (36-acre minimum lot size) to commercial recreation to allow for the shooting range.
The vote overturns a unanimous recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission to deny the request based on protests from neighboring property owners.
J.P. McCormick, owner of Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch, told the board he met with neighbors about noise and safety issues and explained that the proposed cowboy action shooting range would be in a 12-foot trench covered by a roof to mitigate those factors.
He presented letters from neighbors who were once opposed to the shooting range, but have changed their stance after learning more details about the project.
“We do cowboy-related activities, cowboy shows, lassoing, obviously horseback riding is big,” McCormick said during a slide-show presentation on the ranch’s operations. “Half of our guests come from Europe and have never shot a gun in their life. It’s just an experience to try out Western shooting.”
The National Rifle Association has approved two areas for the shooting range, and shooting would be limited to two days during the week, which was not explained when the commission heard from neighbors, McCormick added.
Chris Ballard, director of Planning and Zoning for Mohave County, said the commission’s decision was based on testimony at the meeting and concerns that the shooting range was not in compliance with codes, covenants and restrictions in the area.
Supervisor Hildy Angius asked if protesting neighbors were aware of the two-day limit on operation. That information was brought out by the applicant at the commission meeting, Ballard responded.
Supervisor Steve Moss, after hearing about the trench, came out in favor of the rezoning and made the motion for approval.
“I was given a lot of additional information over the weekend,” he said. “I envisioned the shooting range above ground, where you’d shoot into a bank of dirt, and maybe the commission thought that too.”
The dissenting vote came from Supervisor Buster Johnson, who noted the ranch is not within a fire district. He wanted the ranch owners to pave the road for public safety reasons.
Supervisor Jean Bishop countered that a paved road would take away from the “rural atmosphere” of the ranch.
In other action on Monday’s agenda:
• The board voted 5-0 to amend the Mohave County General Plan and rezone a parcel to allow open-lot storage on the east side of Powell Avenue, between Neal and Northfield avenues.
• The board voted 5-0 to amend a Mohave County ordinance on processing and accepting resident-petitioned roads to be included in the county’s tertiary road maintenance. Public Works Director Steven Latoski said he wants residents who improve their roads to contact his department with their petition. Public Works will perform an inspection and then take the petition to the board for tertiary maintenance.
• The board met in executive session and approved the compromise proposal on taxes affected by the Aria litigation according to the Treasurer’s recommendation. The issue is over Indian land in Mohave Valley that has been altered by the flow of the Colorado River.
• The board voted 5-0 to authorize the Arizona Attorney General’s office to defend Mohave County in the tax appeal case of South Point Energy Center vs. Arizona Department of Revenue and Mohave County. South Point operates an electric generation plant on land leased from the Fort Mohave Indian Tribe.
• The board voted 5-0 to submit comments to the BLM on the Uinkaret Mountain landscape restoration project within the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument. The goal is to return forest, woodland and grassland health to those vegetative communities. Supervisor Gary Watson said the county has been working with livestock operators in the Arizona Strip area to find out what their needs are and to prepare comments for the BLM.