Powder Room Target Range, 2470 Powell Road, will have to provide evidence its shooting range is safe before Powell city officials will allow it to reopen.

Powder Room Target Range, 2470 Powell Road, will have to provide evidence its shooting range is safe before Powell city officials will allow it to reopen.

Though the gun shop is still open, the city closed the shooting range last month, saying in a letter from development director Dave Betz that the range was a safety issue, as there are "several new holes on the northeast area of the building" and "in the roof."

The city determined "that these are new holes where bullet and/or bullet shrapnel are exiting the building."

Powder Room owner Steve Yuszka declined to comment on the city's actions, but said "sales have dropped 70 percent since the range was closed."

City spokesperson Jeff Robinson wrote in an e-mail the options the owners have for re-opening, which included providing the city "with a review by and letter from the installer of the bullet containment system indicating that the system currently installed meets the manufacturer's installation requirements and is safe to use as installed. They can also have a registered architect/engineer inspect the system and provide a letter than the system and the range are safe to use."

In 2008, the city had closed the range because of complaints of "a stray bullet hitting the Powell Center while people were outside," Robinson wrote in an e-mail.

At that time, the range was closed until "the owners had work done to the deflectors and swirl chamber, among other parts of the interior and exterior of the building. Once they completed their repairs, and the installer certified its installation, we allowed them to re-open the range."

Police were investigating a suspicious vehicle report last month when they saw the holes in the walls.

Robinson said Sgt. Andy Lucas checked "the building to make sure it was secure," at which point he "discovered the exit holes on the northeast side of the building."

The Powder Room gun range is exempt from a city zoning ban on shooting ranges because it was operating before the zoning took effect.

It can continue operation "as long as there is no expansion to the building and use of land," Betz said in his letter to the Powder Room owners.

The Powder Room has been on the property for 37 years, owner Bill Dixon told ThisWeek.

City council member Sara Marie Brenner is concerned about the issue.

"I have gotten involved in this matter because several people brought it to my attention. I have spoken with the Powder Room's owners, I have sought counsel from those knowledgeable in this field, and I have requested that the city take prompt action to reopen the shooting range as a result of the facts with which I have been presented to date," she wrote in an e-mail to ThisWeek.

Brenner provided ThisWeek an e-mail from an attorney who specializes in second amendment issues, but does not represent the Powder Room owners.

The attorney said that the Ohio Range Protection Law doesn't permit city, county or township courts to shut down a range if it is compliant with the National Rifle Association Range Sourcebook, a 2,000-page document regulating ranges that was adopted into Ohio Revised Code.

The attorney said the city would need such an expert to close the range.

ThisWeek asked the city if Betz or Fischer had such expertise.

"The question of whether it's needed is one for legal counsel and not one that we can answer," Robinson wrote in an e-mail.

"I can tell you that the city is currently working with the owners of the Powder Room to determine a way to get the range reopened."