Businessman and Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Ken Glasson plans to open a new paintball park called Mount Pleasant Paintball.
Except it isn’t in Mount Pleasant, it’s in Berkeley County, and it’s immediately next to a city of Charleston neighborhood where homeowners are unhappy.
They are appealing Berkeley Planning and Zoning administrator Eric Greenway’s decision to allow the paintball business on the 25-acre tract that is zoned heavy industrial.
Their appeal isn’t set to be heard until Feb. 19, about 10 days after Glasson plans a grand opening.
He said the park will be safe, well-supervised and much more desirable than a concrete plant, a truck stop or other things that could have been built on the Clements Ferry Road property.
Residents of nearby Beresford Creek Landing said they fear that the park will endanger their cars, their quietude and the larger culture already too accepting of actual weapons.
Scott Campbell is among homeowners nearby. He said he is concerned about more than errant paintballs and noise. He said he also fears that the facility will cause parking and traffic problems on Clements Ferry and won’t have enough restrooms for participants.
“Following the Sandy Hook school massacre, the Colorado movie theater massacre, Columbine school massacre, and others, it is outrageous that Mr. Glasson and his associates think training young children in the use of assault weapons and the art of ‘real life combat’ is a healthy activity,” he said.
Glasson said the paintball facility is set up to provide experiences similar to historic battles, such as D-Day, the Battle of Fredericksburg and the battle of Khafgi in the first Gulf War. “That’s the battle I was in,” he said.
He said the park is designed to attract families and exceeds the buffers required by the county. “You would have to walk outside the netting and shoot over the trees to hit a car,” he said.
Greenway said outdoor recreation is a permitted use allowed under heavy industrial zoning, and the Berkeley Planning and Zoning Commission will decide Feb. 19 if paintball is outdoor recreation. Paintball isn’t mentioned specifically in the county’s zoning code.
Resident Peter Van Voris noted that Charleston doesn’t allow paintball within its limits, and said he doubted that the operation should be considered outdoor recreation. “I wouldn’t call this outdoor recreation with assault weapons training,” he said.
He said there is plenty of room for such a facility down the road in more rural areas off Clements Ferry Road, farther away from residential neighborhoods.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.