- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Neighbors’ concerns about noise have slowed the development of a planned public shooting range at Puuanahulu.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has formed a working group to conduct more sound assessments to supplement previous assessments, West Hawaii Today (http://is.gd/1qDlx8) reported. The group is set to hold its first meeting in February and consists of neighbors, stakeholders and representatives from Waikoloa resorts.

The Kohala Coast Resort Association objects to the project, saying its location is unsuitable because noise from shooting during sound tests could be heard at area resorts.

The association, which represents 60 percent of the island’s hotel rooms and vacation rentals, wants other locations to be considered by the state for the project.


The concept of the shooting range was approved in 2007 by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. Initial plans called for releasing a master plan and environmental assessment for the project in early 2013.

Project planners now have a less optimistic timeframe for the range to be completed, compared with earlier expectations that construction could begin this year at the site, which would be on state land inland of Queen Haahumanu Highway and next to the West Hawaii landfill.

Consulting firm PBR Hawaii was retained by Department of Land and Natural Resources to create a master plan and environmental assessment for the project. At a meeting in 2012, PBR Hawaii project manager Catie Cullison said the only archaeological features at the project site appear to be trail remnants. Biological surveys showed no threatened or endangered species, she said.

On Thursday, Cullison said a conceptual master plan has been prepared. The firm is continuing to work on development of an environmental assessment, she said.

“We’re trying to work through and understand these concerns and the public impacts,” she said.

___

Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com