Jefferson Country’s mediation with Fort Discovery, Inc. means that mediation and the moratorium will proceed on parallel tracks. Everyone who supports TRC and the moratorium should still plan to attend the February 5 public hearing. The County wants our suggestions for reasonable rules to safeguard public safety and regulate commercial shooting facilities that might be built in the future.
The issue to be mediated is simple. Fort Discovery, Inc. claims the moratorium does not apply to it because they have had preliminary conversations with the Department of Community Development. They have submitted a pre-application. This is not the same as an application. Washington State Law is very clear on that point.
The County asserts both in the county ordinance and in follow up discussions with Fort Discovery, Inc. that the moratorium absolutely applies to Fort Discovery, Inc. because they had no application filed prior to the moratorium effective date. Other than causing us some angst we do not believe TRC’s position has been or will be weakened. If it turns out otherwise, we will use every available means to defend our position that a for-profit commercial shooting and weapons training facility at Tarboo Lake is inappropriate and harmful to the economic well-being of Jefferson County.
The mediator is legally mandated to be fair, ethical, and neutral during negotiations, and to hear both sides without prejudice before weighing in with his/her opinion. The County has made it clear that any agreement made during mediation is non-binding, is subject to public input, and must be approved by the County commissioners. —Peter Newland