Jefferson County imposes one year moratorium on shooting ranges

On Monday, Jefferson County commissioners imposed a one-year moratorium on permitting new commercial gun ranges. They also announced the formation of a citizen’s advisory committee whose purpose is to “study the safety, environmental and land use impacts of commercial shooting facilities.”

We support this one-year moratorium—it’s timely and appropriate as there are currently no permit applications for a shooting range before the County. In unanimously passing the ordinance, the County commissioners have established a necessary, fair and thoughtful process to assess the impacts of shooting ranges.

Click here for the full text of the moratorium. See also Paul Gottlieb’s article in the Peninsula Daily News. —Peter Newland

Shooting range support: legislators deny giving it

An article in today’s Port Townsend Leader reported that state legislators denied giving their support to Joe D’Amico’s proposal to site a weapons training facility on Tarboo Lake.  D’Amico had issued a press release on September 1st stating, “We have support from the 24th District legislators” in addition to the S’Klallam tribe.  Upon being contacted, Representatives Tharinger and Chapman denied they had ever given their support. Senator Van der Wege said he gave “conceptual support” to the idea of a more rural location to alleviate noise complaints and increase environmental friendliness.  All three stipulated that this is a local land use issue.  Note:  just because people listen politely does not mean they agree.

Residents of Tarboo Valley are shocked that their location would be considered because of the proximity of homes and the noise issues. The “forested” site is enclosed by a tree farm expected to be denuded in the next 3-5 years, leaving the site exposed on the ridge top, only a mile or two away from many people.  Sound ricochets and echoes in our little valleys even with trees present–as we know from prior experience with informal shooting “galleries” at Tarboo Lake and other locations nearby.  Sorry, Mr. D’Amico, this area is NOT RURAL ENOUGH!! —Diane Johnson

Tensions with Discovery Bay

I’ve been researching the tensions between Mr. D’Amico and the Discovery Bay Alliance which,  if my understanding is correct, was formed to deal with the incessant gunfire and other related noise coming from the Fort Discovery site near Gardiner. A Seattle Times article dated January 8, 2007 helps explain the tensions. I would like to reference a quote at the end of this article from Mr. D’Amico which I think is meaningful for those of us who live in the area surrounding his proposed training center.  In reference to Mr. D’Amico’s long-time presence on the Discovery Bay property which, by the way, he doesn’t own, but leases from the Gunstone Family.

“I may be wrong, but I look at it as, ‘I was here first,’ ” said D’Amico. “The county needs to put a statement on the bottom of a building permit that says, ‘You are moving into a rural area and you need to be aware that shooting, low-flying float planes, Sea-Doos and timber harvesting operate around here.’ People need to understand what they’re moving into.”

I would respond to Mr. D’Amico in regards to his recent lease of the Tarboo Lake property:  We residents were all here before you and you should understand how much we treasure our serene rural environment.  We have nothing against guns, many of us are gun owners and can put up with occasional shooting and we’re OK with a low-flying airplane that appear once in a while.We also recognize that timber harvesting–if done correctly–benefits us all. Understand that we  have invested a great deal in our the current lifestyle and community.   And above all, understand that we will fight to keep this way. Click here to read Jonathan Martin’s article in the Seattle Times. —Teri Hein


A gun training facility near by?

An article in today’s Port Townsend Leader reported that Joe D’Amico has submitted a pre-application to install what he calls a “recreational and training facility” on the north shore of Tarboo Lake.  Apparently he has leased 40 acres from James Worthington (think Worthington mansion in Quilcene). This “recreational and training facility”, according to the newspaper, proposes to include seven gun ranges, two helicopter pads, bunk houses, an RV park and other facilities.

Probably the most concerning quote from Mr. D’Amico to me came from his own press release:

“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.

I’m already aware that the facility he has had on Discovery Bay has caused a great deal of friction with his neighbors because of the relentless noise which, I believe, includes explosions and tons of semi-automatic fire. To say we here in the peaceful Tarboo Valley are concerned is, well, an understatement.

The property where all this is proposed is located on the north end of Tarboo Lake where many people recreate. It is immediately surrounded by Pope timberland, but there are many, many homes within a 5 mile radius, that would be adversely affected if this project goes through.   —Teri Hein

Click here to see article in Port Townsend Leader