Private shooting range in central Berks puts residents on edge

Residents of the Lower Alsace Township are concerned about noise and public safety issues associated with the use of a private firing range at a residence in Wolters Lane.

“Two bullets have already hit a neighbour’s house,” said a resident, who wished to remain anonymous, in an email to Reading eagle. “Anxiety levels are high.”

This resident said the noise was disrupting the lives of residents of the 2700 block of Hill Road in the township.

Township manager Don Pottiger said authorities began receiving complaints of gunfire from the Wolters Lane property in late May.

A real estate listing on Zillow shows the property was purchased by a new owner in February.

Pottiger said complaints initially only came in on weekends, but recently residents have said disruptive shootings are also happening during the week.

“We are working with the owner and the police department … to make sure the shootings that are going on there are done in a proper and safe manner,” Pottiger said.

Pottiger said the township notified the landlord of residents’ concerns.

“At this point, I think the only response (from the owner) is that there is no shooting outside of the hours covered by the ordinance,” Pottiger said.

He said that under the township’s gun rules, guns cannot be fired until two hours after sunrise and firing must stop one hour before sunset.

Measuring the range’s compliance with the township’s noise ordinance would require hitting the area while noise continues, which can pose a challenge, Pottiger said.

“I’m not even saying they’re not in compliance,” Pottiger said. “At this stage, we have not found anything that would indicate that anyone is guilty. But we heard the complaints, so we have the right to go out and check.

As to whether bullets hit nearby homes, Pottiger said police were called to the scene, but no evidence was found that bullets from the range hit a resident’s home. found.

Pottiger said the township is considering strengthening its firearms ordinance, but any discussion on the matter is still preliminary.

He declined to provide details of new rules the township plans to adopt.

“If there’s anything we would do that would impact the current owners, we’re not looking to lay charges because we really don’t have enough evidence of what’s going on up there,” Pottiger said.

He said the township’s current stance on the issue is one of exploration: They’ve acknowledged residents’ complaints and are working with the landlord and police to figure out what’s going on.

A request for comment from the Central Berks Police Department, which covers Lower Alsace, was not returned.

Contact details for the owners of the Wolters Lane property were not available.

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