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Planners Ask Blackwater Not to Train Fighters at Proposed Camp

POTRERO, Calif. (AP) -- An advisory planning board approved a revised measure endorsing plans by security contractor Blackwater USA to build a training camp on a defunct ranch in rural San Diego County.

The Potrero Community Planning Group voted 5-1 Thursday night to ask the company not to train paramilitary fighters at the camp, where Blackwater says it intends to offer training for local and federal law enforcement personnel.

Five members of the nine-person planning group are facing a recall election over a December vote endorsing the Blackwater project, which has stirred controversy in Potrero, a community of about 800 people just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, about 45 miles east of San Diego.

The training camp would include shooting ranges, a driving track and a helipad on an 824-acre property formerly used as a chicken ranch.

The planning group's revised resolution also called for a noise test to determine whether neighbors would be able to hear gunfire from shooting ranges and for a plan to lessen the impact of traffic.

The planning group is an advisory body. Final approval of the project rests with the county Board of Supervisors, which is not expected to vote until sometime in 2008.

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