Members of Jefferson County’s Commercial Shooting Facilities Review Committee held their first meeting Wednesday to set an agenda and discussion topics. Mark McCauley, central services director representative, moderated the session. (Jeannie McMacken/ Peninsula Daily News)

Members of Jefferson County’s Commercial Shooting Facilities Review Committee held their first meeting Wednesday to set an agenda and discussion topics. Mark McCauley, central services director representative, moderated the session. (Jeannie McMacken/ Peninsula Daily News)

County committee will study impacts of shooting range facilities

PORT TOWNSEND — Members of the Commercial Shooting Facilities Review Committee held their inaugural, organizational meeting Wednesday afternoon to outline plans for the next six months of work.

Among the members of the county panel is Joe D’Amico, owner and operator of Sequim-based Security Services Northwest Inc., and Fort Discovery, a gun range and training facility formerly located in Discovery Bay, now in the permitting process to be located in Jefferson County near Tarboo Ridge.

County Administrator Philip Morley, who attended the meeting, said the committee’s work will be of interest to the community at large.

“I think we all have an interest in making sure a commercial shooting facility both for existing ones and new ones, that law enforcement and private citizens have an opportunity to practice safe shooting skills in a controlled environment that’s safe for participants, safe for surrounding properties and safe for the environment,” Morley said.

Lead from bullets can be an issue with such facilities, he added.

“In convening this committee,” he continued,”the commissioners want your help in providing input to county staff to look at the impacts of facilities, both on public safety, environmental quality and compatibility with surrounding land uses.

“In so doing, the goal is to make sure that commercial shooting facilities have a place in Jefferson County.”

The committee’s charge is to review and discuss the impact of commercial shooting facilities in the county and provide input on a draft ordinance to be prepared by the county staff and presented to county commissioners in September.

The group will meet each week at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the commissioners’ chambers at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St.

The proceedings are aired live via AVCaptureAll on the county website with agendas and clickable links to documents and other information. For more information, see http://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/.

The Commercial Shooting Facilities (CSF) committee is comprised of representatives of the community, the industry, the tribes, public health, law enforcement and government.

Jefferson County Central Services representative Mark McCauley acted as moderator for the meeting.

D’Amico is an at-large member. Others are Stuart Whitford, environmental health director of Jefferson Public Health; Undersheriff Art Frank; District 3 representative Riley Parker, existing commercial shooting facility representative John Minor, District 1 representative Tom Richardson, and Tim Cullanan, representing the Jamestown and Port Gamble- S’Kallam tribes and five others that have treaty rights in Jefferson County.

District 2 representative Janet Welch could not attend the meeting.

Ex offico members include Prosecuting Attorney Philip Hunsucker, and Clark Vargas who is a shooting range consultant with Clark Vargas and Associates. LLC.

Also attending the meeting was Michelle Farfan, lead associate planner for Jefferson County Community Development.

The CSF review committee will study safety, environmental and land use issues, as well as the impacts of commercial shooting ranges and reasonable measures to address those impacts. In addition, they will look at allowing indoor facilities in current No Shooting Areas.

Discussion topics will include a definition of shooting ranges and shooting range facilities which includes safety provisions, impacts on neighboring properties, environmental management, licensing, limits on activities, lighting, and a No Shooting Areas ordinance.

Each member of the committee was required to adhere to the Open Public Meetings Act and be trained and certified in the Public Records Act, Morley said.

All members except D’Amico completed the training and were certified, according to the county.

The county has settled two public records act complaints brought by D’Amico.

“We have an obligation under state law to make sure that, whenever a quorum of this body is happening in open public meeting that it was properly noticed so citizens can observe it,” Morley said.

“We do the work in the open, and only in the open.

“State law requires the paperwork, the electronic paperwork done on behalf of this committee in the role of being committee members is also something that is open to the public for public requests and we have an obligation to be able to provide those records to the public. We take that obligation very seriously, he continued.

“Under state law, a committee such as this that has been convened by a legislative body is subject to both the Open Public Meetings Act and Public Records Act. That’s why the training is important, so we don’t inadvertently, and you don’t inadvertently, misstep with regards to our legal requirement to comply with those laws.”

________

Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]

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