Shooting ban area hearing to be set

Neighbors can ask to join if interested

PORT TOWNSEND — Neighbors of a proposed no-shooting area in East Jefferson County will be alerted to the consideration of the possible designation so they can ask to join it if they want to do so.

A majority of people living in an area that encompasses all of Jolie Way and Silver Berry Place as well as a portion of the east side of Hastings Avenue and part of Arabian Lane filed a petition on June 14 asking the county to ban shooting there.

County commissioners on Tuesday decided to conduct a hearing on the proposal. It will be scheduled after county officials have informed area tribes — to allow them to weigh in and inform the county of any impacts on potential traditional hunting lands — and adjacent property owners of the hearing.

In notifying the adjacent property owners, the county can offer to expand the no-shooting area to their neighborhoods if there is an interest, commissioners said.

Commissioner Kate Dean noted that 91.7 percent of the residents who were contacted (36 of the 41 households) were in favor of the proposed no-shooting area.

“I think it’s very important to garner that kind of buy-in from the community to consider this,” Dean said.

“So I will say I am in favor of moving this forward to a hearing,” she added.

“In terms of expanding it across the road, I would want the residents there to be driving that and making the case for why that area should be included.”

A Board of County Commissioners ultimately determined the boundaries of a no-shooting zone, but it must apply state law, which requires that it be limited to an area where there is a reasonable likelihood that humans, domestic animals or property are jeopardized.

The petition listed several unsafe situations involving guns that had been seen in the past two years, such as target shooting on a property line with guns aimed into a person’s yard, random shooting that occurs at all hours and drunken parties with multiple guns fired.

Such incidences have posed a threat not only to people and families but to animals and property as well, they said.

The letter also stipulated that these residents are not “anti-gun,” and that many of them were gun owners themselves, and there is a growing concern over gun safety in the neighborhood.

“What I find really interesting about that statute is that it is largely driven by residents, which makes sense,” Dean said.

“We try not to curtail rights unless there is a need to do so, and in this case, we don’t wait until there’s an injury or, God forbid, a death, in order to take action.”

People can send public comments to [email protected]

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached at [email protected].

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