Harnett shooting range neighbors want end to gunfire
Posted January 8, 2013 10:10 p.m. EST
Updated January 9, 2013 10:40 a.m. EST
Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — After more than a year of debate, homeowners in a Harnett County neighborhood said Tuesday that the county needs to strip a nearby shooting range of its agritourism classification in the name of safety.
Drake Landing, a family-owned farm in Fuquay-Varina with a shooting range, falls under the agritourism umbrella, which means it isn't subject to county zoning laws.
The gunfire makes neighbors uneasy and, according to the Harnett County Sheriff's Office, there have been at least five cases of stray bullets hitting homes or cars in the area.
At a county Board of Adjustment meeting Tuesday night, homeowners said it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.
"I guess I'd say the same thing (that) I'd say to a drunk driver in a bar, 'No, you haven't (hurt someone) yet," said Jeff Hegnes. "But a house has been hit, to my understanding, three times."
Neighbors also complained about the noise.
"We can hear it quite loudly, particularly during the winter when the leaves are off the trees. My dogs won't even leave the porch," said Ted Martin, who lives about one mile from Drake Landing.
Jo-Anne Martin said the gunshots scare her four horses.
"When the shooting is going on, we cannot ride our horses because the horses are skittish," she said.
The Board of Adjustment was expected to vote on the issue Tuesday night but postponed it to allow for more debate at a meeting Thursday night.
If the board votes to revoke the agritourism classification, Drake Landing would have to shut down its shooting range.
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.