Future of Harnett County shooting range uncertain

January 23, 2013 8:13:50 PM PST
Harnett County leaders are trying to determine whether the Drake Landing gun range should stay open, receive restrictions, or close.

At issue is whether the shooting range falls under the category of agri-tourism. If the board of estimates says no, then the range must close down.

There were plenty in attendance who want just that to happen.

"From hearing the noise, the police training, and the shooting just before 10 o'clock tonight, I thought that was ridiculous," said neighbor Jesse Adams.

From the time of day to the proximity to homes, there is a litany of reasons some homeowners who live near Drake Landing said it should shut down.

The former tobacco farm is located in a part of Harnett County that isn't zoned for outdoor shooting ranges. However, under the state agri-tourism classification, the property isn't subject to county zoning laws.

Two years ago, the county's adjustment board exempted Drake Landing and now a group representing several homeowners is appealing that decision with testimony spanning three evenings.

Lawyers representing Drake Landing and owner Dan Andrews said the agri-tourism distinction allows other farmers to stay in business by having corn mazes and stores on their properties. They say the shooting range is no different.

"What we have here is an opportunity for recreation to help supplement farm income," said John Bryant, the landowner's lawyer.

The board of adjustment ended Wednesday's meeting around 10 p.m. They could have a decision on the range's future on Thursday evening.

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