Permit proposes swapping crops for targets - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Permit proposes swapping crops for targets

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LaVerne Smith (Source: WAVE 3 News) LaVerne Smith (Source: WAVE 3 News)
LANESVILLE, IN (WAVE) - A stretch of farm acreage where has been home to some families for generations. But now one of their neighbors wants to turn crop and grazing land over to SWAT teams, for target and tactical practice.

LaVerne Smith has called Reinhardt Road home for most of her 80 years.

"That's what I enjoy. The peace and quiet, " she said Thursday. "I would hope it would stay that way."

But about a quarter mile down the path where the blacktop turns to gravel neighbor Ryan Ramsey wants to open up part of his family's farm to target practice.

“It'll affect our water and air, and plus, all the noise and the lack of safety," Smith said.

Ramsey has applied for a Conditional Use permit from the Floyd County Board of Zoning Appeals. He describes his facility as a "limited, highly coordinated operation…that likely would have no more than 15-20 people on site" and rarely at night. Targets and terrain would be selected and graded to minimize noise, the proposal promises.

But Reinhardt Road is so remote, it's barely a lane and a half wide. Folks know most every car that passes through. It's part of the comfort level.

"No Fishing" signs make clear that only invited guests are welcome. Cattle and geese have no problem sharing a pond. Baby tree toads hop with little fear of being squashed. The loudest residents are the locusts during mating season.

"That's why I'm still here," Smith said.

Ramsey's permit application claims that Floyd County deputies and New Albany Police likely would train at his facility.

"We'd be competing against ourselves," Sheriff Darrell Mills said Thursday. "We train at an FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) Lodge for free. Why would we go anywhere else?"

Nobody answered the door on site when our crew visited. Ramsey hasn't returned calls either. Smith planned to attend the Meet and Greet he scheduled for Thursday evening, but knowing that he lives in Louisville, rather than on-site, doesn't sit well.

"He won't have to live with it. We will," she said. "It's taking our freedom away."

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