Shooting range targets new site

Kirk Boxleitner
Posted 9/5/17

Fort Discovery Inc. has begun the pre-application process with Jefferson County to locate a gun and archery range on 40 acres of forest property on the north shore of Tarboo Lake.

David Johnson, …

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Shooting range targets new site


Fort Discovery Inc. has begun the pre-application process with Jefferson County to locate a gun and archery range on 40 acres of forest property on the north shore of Tarboo Lake.

David Johnson, associate planner with the Jefferson County Department of Community Development (DCD), said the county received a pre-application from Fort Discovery president Joe D’Amico and is in the process of evaluating it, with the next steps to be taken in late September.

Fort Discovery Inc. manufactures, sells and maintains firearms, while Security Services Northwest Inc., another business D’Amico operates, provides security and dispatch services, according to the company.

Activities at the location where D’Amico operates his businesses now, on Discovery Bay, have been controversial in the past and resulted in complaints about noise.

“[The application is] for a Type III conditional-use permit, so this process will require a public hearing and notice of the same, as well as a determination of water needs and rights,” Johnson said. “Access to the site from the highway hasn’t been nailed down yet, and a [State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)] review will be needed.”

Johnson noted that D’Amico is currently leasing the proposed new site from owner James Worthington, and added that the progress toward determining the proposed facility’s highway access, as well as its water and SEPA requirements, would likely affect the next steps in the process, which Johnson expects “in late September.”

Johnson said that DCD personnel had visited the site with D’Amico and some of his employees, including a secretary and an attorney, and had presented D’Amico with four possible permitting options, including siting it as an essential public facility, or approving it under small-scale recreational tourist use. The Worthington property is zoned “rural forest.”

Of the two separate options for a Type III conditional-use permit, Johnson elaborated that DCD had recommended the option allowing for both a recreational facility under institutional uses and public purpose facilities.

“The fourth option is sort of a hybrid, allowing for recreational and public purposes,” Johnson said of the proposed private recreational and training facility, whose plans currently include gun and archery ranges, camping and lodging. “It’s my understanding that a lot of law enforcement personnel do training with D’Amico, who also offers training for businessmen going abroad who don’t want to be taken hostage. It’s hard to see how this would fit another type of permit.”


Johnson acknowledged that such a facility “would need to be out of the way, because of the noise it would generate,” and he considers the proposed site well suited to that need, “since it’s in the middle of a tree farm.”

“Our intent is to relocate the higher-intensity uses of Fort Discovery to this location, which is surrounded by commercial forestland,” D’Amico said in a press release, echoing Johnson. “We have enjoyed working with the DCD’s professional staff on this project.”

D’Amico has not yet chosen a name for the proposed facility, although he reiterated that he’s spent years searching “for suitable property on the North Olympic Peninsula that would help us meet the ongoing demand for our services.”

D’Amico noted having the support of 24th District state legislators and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and among the documents submitted to the DCD is a letter from W. Ron Allen, tribal chair and CEO of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.

“We firmly believe that there is a need for safe and adequate firearms educational shooting areas in the Jefferson and Clallam counties,” Allen wrote in a letter dated May 31 and addressed to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners. He added that the proposed site “is an ideal location for such a facility.”

Details, including how long the process might take, how much the project might cost, and what might happen to the current facility, were not available at this time.


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