SAN MARCOS — The San Marcos City Council approved a San Marcos gun shop’s proposal to build an indoor shooting range in one of the city’s industrial zones, but at least one council member expressed concern of the ramifications of changing the city’s zoning code to accommodate one business.
The council voted unanimously to approve North County Firearm’s conditional use permit to build what they are calling the North County Shooting Center, a 15,612-square-foot indoor shooting facility off of Descanso Avenue near the intersection of state Route 78 and Rancho Santa Fe Road.
But in order to approve the permit, the council first had to vote to change the city’s municipal code to make a gun range an allowable use in the industrial zone, as the city’s code makes no mention of shooting ranges. That vote was 4-1, with councilman Chris Orlando casting the lone no vote.
“We are changing our citywide ordinance to accommodate one facility,” Orlando said. “To me, it seems backwards that we are redefining our industrial zone…for one business.”
The rest of the council believed that changing the zoning across the city was more appropriate than spot-zoning for one business.
The proposed facility would have 20 shooting lanes, as well as storage and retail space and 41 parking spaces. The approval also calls for the range to have two safety officers on site at all times.
Four speakers spoke during the brief public hearing, all of who spoke in support of the facility, which they said would promote safe gun use.
“How can that be a bad thing?” said Mike McReynolds, a longtime San Marcos resident who was a former member of the Vista Fire Protection District.