MARCH 24, 1997

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Opinion

Noise from shooting range unbearable

shooting range My farm is just across the river from the new commercial shooting range described in your recent article (Valley View, March 10, 1997). My belief is that before the commercial shooting range opened, the property was used for farming, and a dog boarding and training operation. Occasionally there were gatherings of dog owners for training and field trials. The dog people routinely but infrequently fired shotguns, maybe even incidentally shot a few clay pigeons. Most of the neighbors felt those activities were part of country living and recognized the property as being used for a dog club.
   Now, the sound of the gunfire is horrendous. It's worse some days than others, but frequently it makes being outside unbearable. One of my neighbors has actually had to leave her house several times because the noise penetrates so deeply into her home. Mrs. Rosellini-Burns' statement that "...it's just an occasional shotgun going off" is ridiculous, as is her red herring statement that this has anything to do with the NRA. I'll bet I own more guns than she does.
   What this is about is noise. On good days she'll have 18 stands going at once, and at each stand a group of maybe four friends shooting together. So some days, all day long, you might have 72 people shooting their guns.
   They will have slow days and busy days, just like a golf course. How can they justify disrupting the lives of so many of their neighbors, and so many lives of the citizens of King County? The Valley recently has been sprouting organic farms, flower farmers, garlic festivals, bike tours, and walkers, and eagles and many species of migratory waterfowl. Mrs. Rosellini-Burns and Lawrence Carlson should be ashamed of the impact their activities are having on their neighbors and on the valley.
   From my review of the county records, it appears that the commercial shooting range is in the Agricultural Production district, and on property which benefits from open space classifications, and I believe it was not consistent with the law until, somehow, the law was changed one night.
   The way this came about is beyond belief. There was literally no public notice before the law was changed to allow this. My councilman didn't notify the public, though he did sponsor it. There weren't any mailings to neighbors within 500 feet. There weren't any signs posted, or notices in the newspaper. You could wake up one day to find a commercial shooting range next to your house, or a nuclear waste dump, or whatever.
   The Fall City Community Association recently officially asked Brain Derdowski to stop the shooting. On my own behalf, and on behalf of the other people whose lives and property value are severely impacted by the shooting, I ask three King County Council members who sponsored this piece of legislation, Brian Derdowski, Kent Pullen, and Louise Miller, to take whatever steps are necessary to end the activity of this commercial shooting range.

Ian Macrae, Fall City