Harnett shooting range can operate as is, but debate isn't over
Posted January 24, 2013
Updated January 25, 2013
Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — The Harnett County Board of Adjustments voted Thursday night to allow Drake Landing farm and shooting range to keep its agritourism classification, but county leaders are already working on a plan that would overrule that decision and prohibit firing ranges from being agritourism destinations.
After four lengthy nights of testimony over the past three weeks, the board decided to break down their decision into eight individual activities at issue on the family-owned farm in Fuquay-Varina.
Hunting preserves, continental tower shoots, archery shoots, sporting clays and skeet and trap shoots on the land all qualify as agritourism, the board agreed, but they were divided on the rifle shooting range and pistol pits.
Three board members said the rifle range and pistol pits are not connected to farming in any way and should require a conditional use permit. Two board members, however, upheld a 2011 finding that the conditional use permit wasn't necessary.
Because the board couldn't reach a four-fifths majority to ban the activities, Drake Landing can continue to allow both, despite protests from neighbors that the ranges are noisy and pose a safety hazard to the surrounding communities.
However, the county Board of Commissioners have already directed county attorneys to draft a resolution that would disallow shooting ranges from being considered agritourism – a classification that exempts certain agricultural operations and activities from county zoning laws.
The commissioners can override the Board of Adjustment's vote, but it wasn't clear when they plan to meet on the issue.