Mt. Pleasant planning commission denies shooting range request

By Stacy Jacobsonsjacobson@abcnews4.comMOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- At a small shopping center in Mount Pleasant, children dance in a neighborhood studio. Their moms walk them to the car. Steps away, children walking in to the homes in the neighborhood called Charleston National. But just next door at the shopping, there is a proposal to add a shooting range in a business called Palmetto State Armory. The retail shop is already set to move in but the shooting range violates zoning code. So far, business owners are split."This shopping center needs revitalization. There's not a whole lot here. Hopefully this will help the center grow and bring more business," said Scott Coley, who owns Manhattan's Bar and Grill."The shopping center in question is not the right location for a gun range. I've got 250 students that pass through our parking lot," Dance Carolina owner Angie Baker said.Baker held back tears while appealing to the Mount Pleasant planning commission Tuesday evening."They walk to their cars. They bike in to come to class," she said.Current zoning in the area allows for Palmetto State Armory to open the retail shop, but the South Carolina chain would have to get a special permit for the range.The proposed location is off Highway 17 in the old Food Lion building, about one mile from Wando High School."Accidents happen when guns are around sometimes. I'm not sure I want someone carrying their guns back and forth in to a firing range," said one speaker who opposed the shooting range.A Palmetto State Armory representative answered the commission's questions, but never explained how the store could ensure safety outside the shop."To address safety issues, we actually build a building within a building. From a safety aspect inside the shooting range, the chances of a round exiting are slim. We can't say it wont happen because there's always human error," the representative said.The planning commission denied the zoning request so, at least for now, Angie Baker won't worry; she can focus on whether her dancers put their best foot forward.The planning commission will give its recommendation to the town council's planning committee. The committee and town council will ultimately decide if the zoning exception gets approved.