Jefferson County Planning Commission to accept comment on shooting range laws

Tarboo Ridge Coalition says it plans to submit petition

PORT TOWNSEND — The Tarboo Ridge Coalition plans to present a petition it said has 1,000 signatures to the Jefferson County Planning Commission during a public hearing on shooting range laws Tuesday.

The Planning Commission is hosting a public hearing from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Chimacum High School auditorium at 91 West Valley Road to discuss ordinances Title 8 and Title 18 of the Jefferson County Code.

The hearing is in response to the Sept. 16 decision made by the Growth Management Hearings Board siding with the Tarboo Ridge Coalition (TRC), which has opposed Joe D’Amico’s proposed 40-acre shooting range near Tarboo Lake, deeming that the two ordinances did not follow state law in regard to commercial shooting facilities.

The petition makes six “bright line” recommendations to the planning commission, which “many or most of” are part of the Kitsap County code, according to the TRC in a press release.

The six recommendations are no military training, no aircraft, 500-yard setbacks from public lakes, no night shooting, eight-foot-tall security fencing and 16-foot-tall sound barriers, the TRC said.

“We’ve had people from Brinnon to Port Townsend and everywhere in between sign this petition and voice serious concerns about the threat that military and paramilitary training operations could bring to our beloved home,” said TRC volunteer Teri Hein. “The community is so supportive of these common-sense measures.

“Everyone we talk to realizes how important preventing these types of private weaponry operations is for the future of the county.”

“We want to promote our farms, fish, forests, and families,” she continued. “We don’t want to become a mecca for private facilities that host large-scale military or paramilitary training.”

The Growth Management Hearings Board determined it has jurisdiction over Title 8 and Title 18 — classifying them as land ordinances and deeming them invalid — and that the county failed to conduct a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review for Title 8, in violation of state law RCW 43.21C.030.

The SEPA review analyzes the environmental impact of governmental decisions.

Not conducting a SEPA review is not automatic grounds for the board to declare invalidity, but because Title 8 directly conflicts with the board’s goals of protecting the environment, the board decided the county must redress that part of Title 8 and bring its code into compliance with state and board regulations.

In addition to the public hearing on Tuesday, the Planning Commission and Department of Community Development will accept written comments on the proposed amendments through 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

Written comments on the proposals may be submitted to the Jefferson County Planning Commission at 621 Sheridan St., Port Townsend WA 98368 or emailed to [email protected]

Include “ZON18-00036” in the subject line of all email comments submitted on this topic.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].

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