Child care facility concerned over proposal to build gun range nearby

Local News

Mark Mendola is one of the owners of The Tot Spot Childcare Center in Ontario, Wayne County, where up to 100 kids are cared for each day.

Mendola said he, and many of the children’s parents, are concerned over plans nearby Eastside Traders Guns & Ammo has to build a shooting range several hundred yards from their facility.

“It doesn’t take much for the wrong person to discharge a weapon accidentally or intentionally. So our primary focus is for the safety of our families and parents and children that attend our center,” said Mendola.

Eastside Traders Guns & Ammo, located nearby along Route 104, has a proposal in front of the Ontario Town Planning Board for a seven-thousand square foot indoor shooting range and gun shop.

Ontario Town Supervisor John Smith (R) told News 8 the land is zoned appropriately, but with a unique proposal like this, additional steps need to be taken before building. . 
“It is one of those activities where a little extra attention through the special permit process is in play,” said Smith.

Mendola’s other concerns revolve around the potential for excessive noise and environmental hazards such as lead emissions.

He’s even started an online petition against the project. 

“While parents are wise to be concerned and understanding I think that we have to pull the hype and first level of reaction and look at the reality of the situation,” said Smith.

According to Smith, construction plans require air purification, and planning board members instructed the owners of the range to re-assess the sound levels.

Though Mendola said, the biggest concern is still the location of the range.

“I think it’s fine in the town, if it’s in the right spot. There’s at least a hundred different locations that would be much better suited,” said Mendola.

News 8 was able to speak with managers at Eastside Traders, but they were not willing to officially comment on their proposal at the time of this story. 

It’s expected we’ll hear more about their plans when they appear before the Ontario Planning Board next on November 21st.

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