Local News

Harnett leaders delay vote on fate of shooting range

Posted January 10, 2013
Updated January 11, 2013

— After two lengthy meetings to determine whether a Harnett County shooting range should be stripped of its agritourism status, the county Board of Adjustment has delayed its decision for two more weeks.

The board will meet again on Jan. 23 to resume testimony that will decide the fate of Drake Landing, a family-owned farm in Fuquay-Varina with a shooting range that has been at the center of controversy for more than a year because neighbors say the gunfire is noisy and poses a safety hazard.

No one has been injured at the range, but the Harnett County Sheriff's Office reports there have been at least five cases of stray bullets hitting cars and homes in the area. It's unclear, though, if any or all of the those bullets were fired from Drake Landing.

The shooting range falls under the state's agritourism classification, which means it isn't subject to county zoning laws. It was approved as an agritourism destination because the shooting range prepared hunters for use of Drake Landing's hunting preserve, county leaders said.

A Drake Landing attorney said it qualifies as agritourism and that neighbors' complaints don't change that.

If county leaders decide to strip its agritourism designation, however, the shooting range could be subject to more rules and restrictions or could be forced to close entirely.

A county zoning inspector said during Thursday's meeting that it's unclear what would happen, because there haven't been many disputes of this type in North Carolina to set a precedent.

Drake Landing customers want to see the shooting range survive and say it's a great place to practice safe shooting techniques.

"Where else are you going to have for people to do responsible practice shooting?" said Sue Allen. "I don't hear excessive noise. It is not like a firing range."

But neighbors say it's a nuisance. Drake Landing Harnett leaders delay vote on fate of shooting range

"It goes on continuously – all the time," said Lynwood Hare, who lives about a half-mile from the shooting range. "Somebody is going to be shot, hit or killed before it's all over with."

Hare said he's lived in his home since the 1970s, decades before Drake Landing opened.

The owner of Drake Landing, former county commissioner Dan Andrews, declined to comment.

59 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • oldmanjoel Jan 14, 10:54 a.m.

    NO GUN CHANGES UNTIL Posse Comitatus IS RESTORED! This is the 1835 law that says the us military can not arrest us citizens. They can now.

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 14, 8:36 a.m.

    "we are talking about two separate ordinances." - Paul Parker


    Oh, I thought you were talking about that James Whitlock dude. Sorry.


    "It is up to an LEO. Apparently some people do not trust a trained LEO to determine if someone is responsibly shooting or just trying to annoy the people around them." - Damien Thorne


    I generally trust cops, but enforcement of certain laws is still subjective. They don't always know the law, and some can be downright anti-gun when it comes to civilians. There's plenty of youtube video showing cops hassling people exercising their 2nd amendment rights.

  • Damien Thorne Jan 11, 3:43 p.m.

    "I think the complaint voiced by the pro-gun people was this line:

    "any unreasonably loud or disturbing noise in the county is prohibited and unlawful"

    Anti-gun people often consider any type of gunshot to be "unreasonably loud or disturbing". Taken out of context, that kind of ordinance sounds reasonable. But remember it was specifically considered because of a particular guy that neighbors claimed was shooting all the time, in close proximity to houses." Lightfoot3

    Most people understand that it is not up to the person complaining about the noise to make that decision. It is up to an LEO. Apparently some people do not trust a trained LEO to determine if someone is responsibly shooting or just trying to annoy the people around them.

  • Paul Parker Jan 11, 3:36 p.m.

    I think the complaint voiced by the pro-gun people was this line:

    "any unreasonably loud or disturbing noise in the county is prohibited and unlawful"
    Lightfoot3
    January 11, 2013 2:37 p.m.

    Lightfoot3, we are talking about two separate ordinances. Please go back and read my post at 2:11pm that you quoted from. I SPECIFICALLY referenced Sec.16-3 ( you can find it at: http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/North%20Carolina/johnstoncounty_nc/codeofordinancescountyofjohnstonnorthcar?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:johnstoncounty_nc ).
    Sec. 16-3 says absolutely nothing about "any unreasonably loud or disturbing noise in the county is prohibited and unlawful".

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 11, 2:47 p.m.

    "Posted below is the ordinance that Lightfoot3 says restricts his ability to shoot on his property." - Ashen-Shugar


    Uh, no, I didn't specify which ordinance, only that there are ordinances that give restrictions. In Wake county for example, we have a 100yard from dwellings or livestock rule. On my street, we have lots from about .5 to .8 acres. Behind us is nothing but swamp, woods, etc. I can't shoot .22short low velocity (i.e. pretty quite rounds) any time, any day, in my backyard unless I have written permission from about 6 different houses. Some are anti-gun, so it ain't gonna happen.

  • Damien Thorne Jan 11, 2:39 p.m.

    "Yes, Damien, I remember when 16-3 was passed, and I remember there being a lot of complaint that it was an infringement on peoples right to shoot. I never really did understand why there was so much complaint. I am one of the most pro shooting rights people you will ever come across, but I always thought 16-3 was really just common sense (one of the very few laws relating to shooting or firearms that I could actually support)."----Paul Parker

    We all went before the board to request that, and it was based on the Sheriff's plea to give him the ability to do something about what he saw as a serious issue but had no legal way to do anything about it. It is a bad thing to be told that the police could not do anything about someone shooting like that until you or someone in your family was shot.

    Compare that with what others are posting about it, seems some people are either a bit confused or outright lying about it. Such is life though.

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 11, 2:37 p.m.

    "I never really did understand why there was so much complaint." - Paul Parker


    I think the complaint voiced by the pro-gun people was this line:


    "any unreasonably loud or disturbing noise in the county is prohibited and unlawful"


    Anti-gun people often consider any type of gunshot to be "unreasonably loud or disturbing". Taken out of context, that kind of ordinance sounds reasonable. But remember it was specifically considered because of a particular guy that neighbors claimed was shooting all the time, in close proximity to houses.


    In Wake county, one law that restricts our shooting is that we can't be within 100 yards of a dwelling (without their permission). So I can't shoot anything (not even .22short) in my current backyard (though there aren't any houses or development behind me).

  • Paul Parker Jan 11, 2:11 p.m.

    Yes, Damien, I remember when 16-3 was passed, and I remember there being a lot of complaint that it was an infringement on peoples right to shoot. I never really did understand why there was so much complaint. I am one of the most pro shooting rights people you will ever come across, but I always thought 16-3 was really just common sense (one of the very few laws relating to shooting or firearms that I could actually support).

  • Damien Thorne Jan 11, 1:57 p.m.

    I really appreciate the post Paul, I only looked at the pdf. file included in that article and did not verify the information. That one has a lot more detail and information then the one I was party to. It use to be posted on the BoC's website portion, when I did not see it there I grabbed something in error.

    I guess the effect is the same though, I will still be blamed as a gun hater and wanting to restrict peoples right to shoot as they choose.

    My part in it was basically dealing with section 16-3, the firearms part, but that was done before this ordinance was.

  • Paul Parker Jan 11, 1:40 p.m.

    Here is the actual document that was approved by the Board.

    http://www.wral.com/asset/news/local/2012/08/29/11485171/Noise_Ordinance_Amendment.pdf

    Damien Thorne
    January 11, 2013 1:13 p.m

    Actually Damien, that is not the FINAL document approved by the board. The FINAL version removed (d)(6).

    You can find the final version of the document at this link: http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/North%20Carolina/johnstoncounty_nc/codeofordinancescountyofjohnstonnorthcar?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:johnstoncounty_nc

    It is chapter 12, Article II

More...