MARCH 31, 1997
Questions about shooting range
Articles appeared recently in local newspapers regarding Northwest Sporting Clays, a shooting range in the Snoqualmie Valley below our home. My wife and I feel very strongly about this subject and want to express our concerns regarding this activity.
To the shooters of shotguns: It is necessary to find a place to shoot them. To the entrepreneur: It is necessary to find a way to make a living. While we can understand both positions, they are in conflict with the rest of us who live in earshot of the noise they are creating. Majority should rule, but it doesn't seem to.
There is a large body of law in this country which is very clear in the principle that anyone's freedom to swing their fist ends at someone else's nose. That is exactly what has happened with Northwest Sporting Clays. The owners and the people who patronize the place have hit the noses of a large number of us who live nearby.
We have always presumed that there is a governing body which prevents citizens from getting their noses hit. What puzzles us is how individuals can go to the County and get a permit to do something which is odious to so many people. We would have thought the King County Council, when presented with this plan, would have asked some questions:
Any "yes" answers should at least have called for more exploration into the matter. Somehow, though, the permit sailed right through. The result is that last July, we learned of the activity by being driven into the house from our garden, where we normally spend quite a bit of time, being retired. The noise was well beyond "noticeable," and could be heard inside with the doors and windows closed.
- Is this not a quiet, rural area?
- Is this not an Agricultural Production District and therefore prohibited?
- Is there not a possibility that this specific area where the guns are being shot is a wetland, and may therefore be adversely affected environmentally?
- Would there be any negative economic effect to the owners of neighboring properties?
- Shouldn't we hold some hearings on the subject to find out what the neighbors think?
There is, we have been told by our representative, a movement, just begun, to review the whole permitting process. This seems to be the one avenue through which we can go. There will be hearings at various places over the next few months, and it is hoped a number of you will attend to make your feelings known. If you cannot attend these meetings, please call our District Representative, Brian Derdowski, at (206) 296-1020 and let his voice mail know how you feel.
The County Council found a slick way to get this permit on record, and surely there must be just as clever a way to get it revoked, and just as quickly.
Bill and Jayne Barrere, Fall City