County fines 'Covert Canyon' owner for illegal shooting - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

County fines 'Covert Canyon' owner for illegal shooting

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ALPINE, Calif. (CBS 8) -- The operator of a paramilitary training camp southeast of Alpine has been ordered to pay a civil penalty for illegal shooting on his property.

A News 8 investigation first exposed submachine gun training at the facility known as Covert Canyon.

On April 13, the County of San Diego Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) issued a $2,000 penalty against the property owner, Marc Halcon.

Halcon was notified of the penalty in a letter alleging two violations of county ordinance:

Violation #1: For the operation of a paramilitary type training facility on your property, the Director has assessed civil penalties in the amount of $1,000.00 per day, for 1 day, on April 28, 2011 , for a total of $1,000.00. The Director considered that the violation has been maintained periodically since June 12,2007 and is continuing, that the violation is in the major range due to the negative impacts to the community itself and that after being notified of the violation you have failed to cease the illegal activity.

Violation #2: For the operation of the shooting range on your property without a permit issued by the Sheriff's Department, the Director has assessed civil penalties against you in the amount of $1,000.00 per day, for 1 day, on April 28,2011, for a total of $1,000.00. The Director considered that the violation has been maintained periodically since June 12,2007 and is continuing, that the violation is in the major range and that after being notified of the violation you have failed to cease the illegal activity.

In 2007, DPLU issued a cease and desist order banning commercial, paramilitary training at the site.

For the past four years, Halcon has tried to obtain a major use permit to operate Covert Canyon, but fire safety regulations have blocked his efforts.

Neighbors recorded home video on April 28 showing submachine gun fire on the property, which News 8 aired. At the time, Halcon declined to be interviewed on camera but in a telephone interview claimed he had permits to operate machine guns.

In earlier interviews, Halcon said firing of weapons on shooting ranges at Covert Canyon was non-commercial and allowed under county ordinance as recreational use.

Halcon also owns a Kearny Mesa gun shop and indoor shooting range called American Shooting Center. He has 45 days to either pay the fine or request an appeal hearing with DPLU.

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