Archive for Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fraternal Order of Police, county hope to work out differences centering on lodge, shooting range

October 26, 2010


In hopes of putting an end to a three-year lawsuit, the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter and the Douglas County Commission have reached an truce.

The police group has agreed to seek a conditional-use permit for its decades-old firing range at its lodge near Lone Star Lake, 768 E. 661 Diagonal Road. The FOP also plans to meet with neighbors to discuss what restrictions they would want to see imposed on the property that acts as a training ground for Lawrence police officers and Douglas County Sheriff deputies.

“The county has encouraged the FOP to see what the restrictions would be, meet with neighbors to talk about concerns and maybe work everything out,” said Mike Riling, the attorney representing FOP. “It could be a good win-win for everyone.”

Several years ago, neighbors complained they could hear gunshots at night near the lodge. Upon further investigation, the county realized it had never officially grandfathered in the use of a firing range or approved any special permits for it.

In 2007, the FOP filed a lawsuit after the county asked the organization to seek a conditional-use permit for the 95-acre tract that the group has owned for more than 40 years.

Last summer, Douglas County District Judge Peggy Kittel ruled in favor of the county commission on two main issues in the lawsuit.

The FOP had argued that the club is zoned as a “country club” and therefore didn’t need a conditional-use permit for the firing range.

Kittel ruled that FOP’s property doesn’t fall under the country club classification, and even if it did, the FOP would still need to obtain a permit to use firearms there. Several issues remained that Kittel hasn’t ruled on.

The agreement between FOP and the county stops legal proceedings until June 1. The county has said it would not use the FOP’s conditional-use permit application against the organization if the issue were to return to court.

“That has been the sticking point up until now,” said Evan Ice, an attorney for Douglas County. “They were afraid if they applied and didn’t get (a conditional-use permit) or got one with a lot of conditions attached to it, they were going to be stuck.”

If the FOP doesn’t like the county’s final decision on the conditional-use permit, it can return to court and take up the issues that Kittel hasn’t ruled on. If that would happen, both parties noted an appeal to the Kansas Court of Appeals would be likely.

“Everyone’s a little tired of litigation. We want to see if we can’t come up with a settlement everyone can be happy with,” Riling said.


Michael Capra 7 years, 4 months ago

man can anyone just settle this crap one on one anymore

JimmyJoeBob 7 years, 4 months ago

The FOP should just tell the county and city to spend some money and build a shooting range for their employees and let them worry about getting a permit. Then all the members of the FOP can shoot on their property whenever they want, just like any other private county citizen can do. Or are we going to set up dates and times when any other citizens can shoot on their properties. No more hunting on Sundays, holidays and etc.

Randall Barnes 7 years, 4 months ago

come on get real.they have been shooting at the range for how many years ? just like how many years have the locomotives been blowing the horns in north lawrence ? if your gonna live near the range thats part of the deal.if you don't like the noise then move.

rousseau108 7 years, 4 months ago

Oh no, people heard them shooting at night. How awful. Of course we should prevent cops from practicing shooting at night because everyone knows cops would never have to shoot in the dark.

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