By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Given the choice of two possible ordinances, or to not act at all, the commissioners unanimously approved forbidding shooting in two areas on the Tala Shore Peninsula east of the Port Ludlow resort.
The boundaries of one area are bordered on the east by Hood Canal and by East Ludlow Ridge on the west.
The second area is a residential neighborhood on the tip of the peninsula.
The remainder of the peninsula is a combination of land owned by the Department of Natural Resources and by Pope Resources, which plans to build a residential development.
After first saying he wasn’t ready to vote, Commissioner Phil Johnson agreed with the measure under the terms that it could be revised at a later date.
“If we send this back to staff to make more changes, the citizens who have been waiting for action quite patiently are going to be put off for who knows how much longer,” said John Austin, the commission’s chair.
A request for a non-shooting zone was originally made by a homeowners group in November 2012.
“If we make changes, we’d have to gather further public testimony, and that would add to the delay.”
Johnson’s said his initial reluctance to support the measure was out of respect for hunters’ rights.
“I’ve lived here all my life, and the hunters keep getting pushed out of the door because people want growth, and they keep moving in,” Johnson said.
“So I have mixed feelings about this.”
David Reed, a local resident, said he was disappointed that the entire peninsula was not included in the no-shooting zones.
“This situation requires something for the entire point or an indication that it will in the future,” Reed said.
“I’m very comfortable around guns, and I had my very first .22 rifle when I was 10 years old, but the situation is different here.
“This isn’t a question of who has the guns, but where they are being used.”
Said resident Shary Irwin: “I used to feel safe walking the trails, but I don’t anymore.”
“Our area has gotten more dense [with housing], and I’m concerned about the safety in our rural community.”
Support for the zone’s establishment at the hearing was not unanimous.
“I originally supported this, but I’ve since changed my mind,” said David Schwartz. “I’m not so sure what we are attempting to do here.”
David Nault, who said he has lived in the area for 24 years, said the establishment of a no-shooting zone would have been more helpful when the area was growing and there were impromptu gun ranges “that made me uncomfortable.”
“It’s no longer an issue,” he said. “No one would start target shooting if they were sane or not drunk.
“This is not a problem for this road, it’s about people who want to restrict hunters.
“If there’s no documented issue, there is no reason to create this zone, and my concern is that we are doing something that doesn’t need to be done.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.