We are writing to support the Board of County Commissioners’ decision to declare a six-month moratorium on permit applications to develop commercial gun ranges. This interval will allow the …
We are writing to support the Board of County Commissioners’ decision to declare a six-month moratorium on permit applications to develop commercial gun ranges. This interval will allow the county to create an effective response to the recent Growth Management Hearings Board decision that invalidated both ordinances passed by the BoCC in December, 2018. To get it right this time, we urge the commissioners to listen to the community, then rise to the challenge of making policy that protects our waterways, wildlife, forests, and families.
Gun ranges have a place in a rural county like ours, but they need to be located and operated using the types of clearly defined, not-to-be-argued-with, “bright line” regulations recommended by our own Planning Commission last November. No military training should be allowed on private, commercial gun ranges—Washington state already has over 940,000 acres of military bases where our service men and women can train in safe and secure surroundings. Jefferson County should require 500-yard setbacks from public lakes and other recreation areas, to protect waterways and allow our kids and families to enjoy the best of the outdoors. And to protect neighboring residents and roads, there should be no nighttime shooting, no aircraft, 16-foot noise barriers, and 8-foot security fencing.
The December 2018 Title 8 and Title 18 ordinances opened up 76% of unincorporated land in the county to commercial weapons training facilities of unlimited scale and intensity. That is not the vision for Jefferson County that we and many, many others have been working toward. Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for the commissioners and county staff, those ordinances turned out to violate state law. It’s time to learn from those mistakes, and develop a policy that protects the land and people of Jefferson County for generations to come.
Stanley M. Nealey
Protect the Peninsula’s Future
Sierra Club North Olympic Group