East Bay parks hearing could determine future fate of Chabot Gun Club

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- A long-awaited hearing is underway Tuesday night to determine the fate of an East Bay gun range.

The Chabot Gun Club is located on park lands in Castro Valley. Its future is being weighed by the East Bay Regional Park District in Oakland.

Time may be running out on a 52-year-old East Bay institution as the East Bay Regional Parks District decides whether to renew the lease of the Chabot Gun Range.

A board hearing on the issue drew a packed house. More than 50 people signed up to speak.

"We have so much gun violence in Oakland right now that for people to hear guns going off while they are hiking, while they are enjoying picnicking, hiking, camping, it's just totally inconsistent," said Denise Burgess, gun range opponent.

"I want to teach my son and daughter how to hunt and the Chabot Gun Club gives me a great safe place that's nearby for us to learn to shoot safely," said Jeff Ansley, a gun range supporter.

The gun range has been part of the East Bay Regional Park system since 1963. The Chabot Gun Club is at the tail end of a long term lease signed in 1989. At least two major petition drives are underway that seek to close it, permanently.

"I think that's completely incompatible with parks, that are supposed to be a place for community," said Claire Broome, a range opponent.

The largest issues revolve around two environmental concerns, noise and the cost to mitigate and cleanup potential damage caused by lead in the soil leaching into Lake Chabot.

"We've put in noise control measures. We've put in the enviromental conscerns, ect. So we're certainly meeting all of the legal numbers and all the community ordinaces," said Dennis Staats of the Cahbot Gun Club.

The parks board will study the issue with a decision about the fate of the range expected by the end of the year.
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