Frankford Neighbors at Odds with Bethany Beach Police Over Plans - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Frankford Neighbors at Odds with Bethany Beach Police Over Plans for Shooting Range

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Neighbors Gathered at the proposed site Monday morning to express their concern (Source: WBOC) Neighbors Gathered at the proposed site Monday morning to express their concern (Source: WBOC)

FRANKFORD, Del.- Some neighbors in the Frankford area are concerned over a proposed shooting range in their neighborhood. The proposal, being made by the town of Bethany Beach to the Sussex County Board of Adjustments, would only be for police officers, but still nearby neighbors are concerned, in particular with safety. 

The application is for a plot of land off of Blackwater Road, in the unincorporated area of Frankford. The town of Bethany Beach purchased the land primarily for storage purposes, but on Monday night, town officials made their case for a special-use exception for a shooting range in front of the board. The board voted to table the vote until Mar. 21. 

"I know it wouldn't be intentional," said Argetta Shupe, a neighbor who was leading the charge against the range. "But things can happen. One stray bullet is all it's going to take. One stray bullet to take a child. To take an elderly person." 

Shupe joined WBOC Monday morning, surrounded by about a dozen other neighbors. Beyond safety concerns, Shupe said they were also worried about noise and property values. 

Bethany Beach Police Capt. Darin Cathell said that the safety concerns were misguided. He said the range would have an 18-foot wall in the rear, as well as 15-foot walls on the sides. He also said that experienced officers would be there for all of the trainings. 

"They probably won't even notice the use of the range," he said. "They may hear the shots, but it's going to be so irregular and so randomized. When we come utilize the range - we try to limit the hours - the scope - to be good neighbors. That's what we want to be. The town wants to be good neighbors to those people." 

Cathell said that use of the property would be limited because there are only 10 officers on the force, as well as two retired officers. Each officer would be required to have three training visits per year. They could also visit more, but only between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays. 

Neighbor Chuck Kaiser said he has concerns. 

"Property values within one-mile of a firing range decrease by 15 to 30 percent," he said. "We don't have million dollar houses. We have $100,000 houses. They don't want it in their neighborhood because of their property values dropping." 

WBOC will update this story when a decision is made. 

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