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Civil Enforcement Action Re:  Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club

 

 

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Kitsap County vs. Kitsap County Rifle and Revolver Club
Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 10-2-12913-3

What is the action?

Kitsap County has filed a civil enforcement action in Pierce County Superior Court to enforce the Kitsap County Code and to seek a declaratory judgment that the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club has exceeded its legal non-conforming (“grandfathered”) land use status. For several decades and up through the 1990's, the Club's facilities consisted of a single pistol range and a single rifle range at 4900 Seabeck Highway SW in central Kitsap County. The Club has dramatically changed its facilities and its uses of the range, but the Club has refused to apply for land use, building or site development permits or to undergo any public review process.

What’s changed at the gun range?

Over the last decade, the Club has transformed its shooting range:
1. Expanding from two to at least ten shooting areas by adding several "tactical" shooting areas including 360-degree and 270-degree shooting bays, without obtaining an independent professional range safety analysis.
2. Allowing for-profit training businesses to operate on the premises contrary to applicable zoning.
3. Hosting "practical shooting" competitions in which hundreds of rounds of ammunition are fired each day for several weekends each year.
4. Allowing and encouraging use of automatic weapons and high-caliber weapons at the range, such as the .50 caliber Barrett BMG which is capable of firing a bullet over four miles.
5. Allowing users of the range to shoot at targets rigged with materials which explode upon impact.
6. Clearing, grading and filling protected stream and/or wetland buffer areas without first submitting to review under the County’s Critical Areas Ordinance. The Club’s property includes a stream and wetlands in the headwaters of Chico Creek.
7. Converting the range from a daylight-hours only operation into a lighted facility that can be used for shooting anytime from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week year round.

To its neighbors, the Club used to be a minor source of background noise that was audible from the outdoors or with a house’s windows open. Today, the Club is a frequent source of loud, prolonged, and disruptive gunfire that can be heard by hundreds of Kitsap County residents even with their windows closed.

Why now?

Residents downrange of the Club have filed dozens of complaints to Kitsap County regarding the sound levels and intensity of gunfire and shooting. It has come to our attention that shooting at the Club may pose a danger to the public in “surface danger zones” downrange of the Club, and a professional range expert has opined that shooting at the Club must stop until it undergoes a complete and independent professional range safety review and can be proven or made safe. To delay action on this evidence could be a dereliction of our duties to the public.

This lawsuit is about whether and how the Club can operate its outdoor shooting range safely and legally. This lawsuit demands a public process to evaluate what uses can be permitted at the Club's current property. Like any lawsuit, the allegations of this action must be proven in a court of law.

Trial Outcome:

The case was tried in a bench trial during the fall of 2011. On February 9, 2012, the Court pronounced its ruling and entered a permanent injunction prohibiting shooting on the Club property until such time as the Club obtains a conditional use permit. The operative Complaint and Answer and the Court’s Verdict are provided for your information:

  3rd Amended Complaint
Answer to 3rd Amended Complaint
  Finding of fact, conclusions of law and orders
  Last Updated:  05-Jun-2014

Russell D. Hauge Prosecutor
Jan 2011 - Dec 2014 (D)
Biography


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