Gun facility near Equestrian Center sparks debate in Washtenaw County

Gun range would be considered an optics research range for high-powered rifles for Livonia-based company

There is debate Wednesday about a proposed gun range in Washtenaw County all because of what's across the street. It is all centered in Northfield Township, a township north of Ann Arbor. The gun testing facility would be across from an Equestrian Center on 7 Mile Road.

NORTHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – There is debate Wednesday about a proposed gun range in Washtenaw County all because of what’s across the street.

It is all centered in Northfield Township, north of Ann Arbor.

The gun testing facility would be across from an Equestrian Center on 7 Mile Road.

The center’s owner is worried about the noise for the horses and the people that ride them.

Seen in the video player above is an empty cornfield that is set to become a gun range.

They’ve got houses just down the road from the vacant site, a house across the street, and a horse training center down the road in the other direction. Neighbors say they are more than just worried; they’re scared.

The gun range would be considered an optics research range for high-powered rifles for the Livonia-based company Leapers Inc.

The company’s website boasts a number of so-called tactical equipment for guns. Local 4 tried reaching leapers Wednesday (June 22) but did not get a comment back.

The Northfield Township planning committee signed off on the range, allowing high-powered rifles to be shot between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. three days a week.

But neighbors have serious concerns like Casey Davies-Lloyd, who trains horses just down the road, who says they were kept in the dark about the plans.

“We found out about it from the zoning sign that was posted on their property, and that obviously caused a stir within the barn,” said Davies-Lloyd.

Davies-Lloyd is a trainer at Oasis Equestrian Center, where she leases stables. She says she fears what days filled with gunshots would mean for her three horses.

“When they’re spooked by a loud noise such as a gunshot, their instinct is to take off,” Davies-Lloyd said.

She also trains riders, many of them being children and teens.

“My job as an instructor is to keep those kids safe and to teach them how to do things properly, and having a gun range or a gun facility or whatever they’re calling it makes my job immensely more difficult,” Davies-Lloyd said.

Davies-Lloyd also said depending on what happens, she may be forced to leave the Oasis Center if she can’t keep hold of riders or if riders don’t feel safe and leave.

Grant Hermes talked to the owner over the phone on Wednesday, and he said he’s worried about his livelihood and property value too.

The owner said he put his land up on the market and already had offers walk away because of the proposed range.

Leapers Inc President Tina Ding said in a statement:

“Our range project has been designed and engineered to meet and exceed all the requirements set forth in the Northfield Township zoning ordinance, as they pertain to a project of this type. This compliance with the ordinance has allowed the Northfield Township Planning Commission to approve the project. Leapers would like to assure the surrounding neighbors and community that minimizing any negative impact is a top priority.”

Leapers Inc President Tina Ding

About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.