Carbon County hopes that it will soon be able to put a private outdoor firing range for its corrections officers on the prison grounds.
During the county prison board meeting on Wednesday, Frank Shubeck, work release director, updated the board on the proposed firing range. The plans call for a 75-foot by 150-foot range with no proposed buildings or roads constructed, to be created on a .26-acre plot outside the prison grounds on the Broad Mountain. The range would be strictly used by county correctional officers and police departments for training purposes.
Shubeck said he spoke with Ivan O. Meixell Jr., county planner, who reviewed the plan after Nesquehoning requested it be reviewed. The proposal was then outlined at Tuesday's Carbon County Planning Commission meeting, where Meixell said the commission "believes the outdoor firing range, as proposed, is not classified as a land development under current standards of the Nesquehoning Borough Code of Ordinances, Chapter 22, Subdivision and Land Development."
He continued that the proposed range is in compliance with the borough's special use guidelines; the borough's ordinance does not list a classification for an outdoor firing range; and the site plans submitted for unofficial review comply with borough code requirements because no buildings, roadways or utilities are to be constructed.
"The Carbon County Planning Commission, in reviewing the proposed outdoor firing range believes we could find no justification for review under the current standard and/or definitions of the Nesquehoning Borough Code of Ordinances, Chapter 22 Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance and believes the minor project as proposed complies with the requirements of Chapter 27 Zoning," he reported.
Shubeck said the next step is for Nesquehoning to schedule a zoning hearing regarding the range. No date for that hearing had been announced as of the meeting.
In the meantime, Shubeck said that he is in need of a range so officers can complete their spring weapons qualifications, and asked the board for suggestions.
In other matters, a number of rooftop heating/cooling units had problems as a result of the extreme cold the area experienced this winter.
Charles Neff, maintenance supervisor at the prison, explained that burned out motors and regulators, frozen gas lines and liquid leaking from the units were problems that resulted from the added need for more heat this winter; as well as the sub-zero temperatures.
All problems have been resolved and inspected, but further inspections are needed for two units.
Also on Wednesday, the inmate population was 187, up slightly from the February monthly average of 178.