Local News

Harnett leaders could vote Thursday on status of shooting range

Posted January 10, 2013 6:44 a.m. EST
Updated January 10, 2013 12:36 p.m. EST

— Two days after listening to the concerns of homeowners for more than five hours, Harnett County leaders on Thursday will hear more debate about whether a shooting range should lose its agritourism classification and be forced to close. 

Drake Landing, a family-owned farm in Fuquay-Varina with a shooting range, has been at the center of controversy for more than a year because neighbors say the gunfire makes them uneasy. 

Dozens voiced their displeasure Tuesday, with many who live nearby saying they don't feel safe. 

"We can hear it quite loudly, particularly during the winter when the leaves are off the trees," Ted Martin said. "My dogs won't even leave the porch."

According to the Harnett County Sheriff's Office, there have been at least five cases of stray bullets hitting cars or homes in the area. It's unclear if any or all of those bullets were fired from Drake Landing, but many neighbors say it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. 

"I'm former military, and I have been a range officer," Martin said. "I have seen what fool-proof ranges can do, and there is always some fool out there that can defeat it."

Because it currently falls under the agritourism umbrella, Drake Landing shooting range isn't subject to county zoning laws.

If the Board of Adjustment votes Thursday to revoke that classification, the farm will be forced to shut down the shooting range. Thursday's meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. inside the Harnett County legislative building on East Front Street in Lillington.

An attorney for the owner, a former county commissioner who was present at Tuesday's meeting, said he did not want to comment until after a decision is made.