Webb first came up with the idea to build the training facility in 2006, after years of conducting sniper training for the Navy. The Point Loma resident, who recently coauthored his first book, The 21st-Century Sniper: A Complete Practical Guide, says that after the Naval Training Center in Point Loma closed, the Navy began sending sailors to the East Coast for training.
“I found that there was an opportunity to put everything that [law enforcement and the military] need to train all on one location. I wanted the desert,” says Webb. “I wanted a place that could offer year-round training.”
Webb found desert land for sale adjacent to Nomirage. “To the north of the property is Interstate 8, to the south is Highway 98, and the east is owned by Bureau of Land Management. To the west you have that little section of Nomirage. To be honest, I don’t consider it a sprawling residential community.” The Wind Zero property has “a highway on one side and an interstate on the other side. That’s why I chose the land,” Webb says.
He presented his plan to the Imperial County Planning Department in late 2006. “I told them our plans, and they said that they didn’t see any problem with it.”
Webb says that his company has mitigated concerns about noise by moving the indoor and semi-enclosed shooting ranges one-half mile away from Nomirage. And Wind Zero has agreed to contribute to road improvements along Highway 98, which would minimize traffic impacts to the community.
“After meeting with residents, we’ve made a lot of changes. We are going to develop an environmentally responsible project,” he says.
Webb is looking for additional funding to develop the site. He predicts construction crews will break ground in early 2012.
During that time, Edie Harmon will continue to look for flaws in the environmental impact report in order to defeat the project. And others such as Ginny Chandlee will live in fear that they might have to move away.
“I will leave if I want to keep my sanity,” Chandlee says. “I didn’t move here for that. I thought I'd cried my last tears. I guess I haven’t.”
On Tuesday, the Sierra Club and Desert Protection Council filed suit against Wind Zero, Imperial County, and the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. Citing violations of state environmental law, the suit asks the court to direct Imperial County to set aside its approval of the Wind Zero project.