Large Crowd Packs Supes Meeting

Black Oak Clays owner Mike Vande Noord stands on one of the shooting pads built at the range in rural Mahaska County. (RD Keep photo)

More than 100 people crowded into the third floor conference room, the hallway, stairway and landing on April 1 to lend support for Black Oak Clays. The gathering was in response to a public hearing at the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors Monday.

Black Oak Clays, owned by Mike and Sharon Vande Noord, is a private shooting range

Located at 1243 180th Street, Pella. Area schools, predominantly Pella and Pella Christian shooting teams, for shooting practice and tournaments, utilize the range. The Vande Noord’s also sponsor events at the range.

Complaints about noise and dust from the road were among those voiced during the public hearing. Those complaints brought investigation by county attorney Andrew Ritland, which uncovered a couple quirks in Iowa Code. The most notable is the approval of improvements made to the facility falls to the county supervisors.

In an interview at the range on Friday, Vande Noord expressed frustration with the process in that no one made him aware of the regulation. Prior to the public hearing, Fred Kreykes, attorney for the Vande Noords and Black Oak Clays, said it was not clear which improvements needed approval and requested the supervisors to approve the improvements.

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