County considering restricting access to Far East shooting area near Red Sands

County considering restricting access...

EL PASO, Texas - El Paso County Commissioners Monday heard from staff passing on concerns from residents living around an old quarry site and unincorporated land often used as a hangout for recreational shooting.

Red Sands, the area in question, is just off Montana Avenue east of the Montana Vista colonia.

Jose Landeros, senior policy advisor for Precinct 3 Commissioner Vince Perez, said people living nearby are finding bullet holes in their homes and blame the recreational shooting that takes place nearby.

The quarry and patches of red sand that give the area its name are not official shooting ranges, but are often used for that purpose as shown by the many shells and casings found on the ground. Red Sands is also a popular destination for off-roading enthusiasts.

In response, Landeros brought up the possibility of placing no trespassing signs on pieces of county land and right-of-ways near the site. The county has limited ability to place restrictions on use of land, unlike zoning and ordinance authority that cities can use.

"There are laws that allow for certain activity for instance activity like (shooting) to occur out there, but it becomes an issue when you start to infringe on someone else's safety," Landeros said. "And I think that's a pretty universally accepted truth."

Landeros said his proposal would deter people from firing weapons in the area because it would give sheriff's deputies an enforcement point. Deputies would be able to point to the signs when issuing citations. "We do hope that moving forward it creates a more safer environment and requires that people who are going out there to really think about how to engage in the sporting activity," Landeros said.

County staff will conduct a survey of the land, to find out where the county can place the no trespassing signs. Landeros said that while it would likely be able to be done directly next to Montana, there likely would still be off-road ways to get to the quarry and other sites.

Commissioners didn't take action Monday. The court will seek more information before possibly making a decision about what action to take.

Commissioners are expected to take up consideration of this again at their next meeting Dec. 19.

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