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Archive for Sunday, December 11, 2011

Firing range litigation enters new round

December 11, 2011

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The legal wrangling surrounding the Fraternal Order of Police firing range in Douglas County is not over.

And it has taken a different turn, now that a five-year legal battle over a county-approved conditional-use permit has been resolved.

A group of adjacent landowners or neighbors who live near the FOP’s Lawrence lodge north of Lone Star Lake have filed an appeal in Douglas County District Court to the Douglas County Commission’s Oct. 26 approval of a permit for the firing range. The FOP has operated a firing range on the site for 40 years without a permit.

“Ultimately the biggest concern my clients have is the issue of safety,” the neighbors’ attorney Ronald Schneider said Friday. “It is not the only issue, but that is the overarching issue.”

In the petition Schneider filed, he argued commissioners “unreasonably and arbitrarily” approved the permit without considering public health and safety issues, off-street parking, and protections for children and people on nearby properties.

“The board’s actions will cause plaintiffs’ properties to decrease in value and adversely affect their quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their respective homes and properties,” Schneider wrote.

The commissioners in October approved a permit for the firing range on the 94 acres that the FOP lodge owns, which would include regulations on hours of operation and finding a way to reduce noise levels. That process arose out of a five-year legal battle that included a lawsuit between the FOP lodge and the county about whether the FOP lodge even needed a permit with regulations for a firing range that had existed for four decades. A judge ruled in the county’s favor in that suit.

Schneider said the neighbors’ appeal was not related to that earlier suit.

County counselor Evan Ice said Friday discussions about the neighbors’ appeal would bring out more specifics.

“I’m really not in a position to make any public comment on it, but if it’s in the court system, we’ll deal with it,” Ice said.

The appeal was assigned to District Judge Michael Malone, and no hearings in the case have been scheduled.

Reporter George Diepenbrock can be reached at 832-7144. Follow him at Twitter.com/gdiepenbrock.

Comments

3up3down 2 years, 4 months ago

Just another "tail" looking to wag a dog. Get a life people. Sell your house and move back to Johnson county. I have been to this facility more times than I can count, it is safe and isolated. The neighbors to the property are also probably politically correct type people and say happy holidays. As 'Walter' from Jeff Dunham would say, "Screw you, it's Merry Christmas."

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lily 2 years, 4 months ago

40 years and this is a problem now. I agree with an earlier poster that said complaints should be made to realtors etc. Is that what all this is about? Property deal gone bad? FOP doesn't have the lock on shooting in the county. If they have to have a permit then my relatives neighbors should. They were out shooting Thanksgiving day and we wouldn't let the kids outside because of it. There were no safety measures, no bluffs, buffers, walls etc but they could shoot all afternoon. So if FOP has to have these rules everyone should. And if the neighbors don't want them there, get the ball rolling for a new facility. Build it, maintain it, etc and see how you like it then. I bet the noise wouldn't such an issue if you looked at those numbers. Get real.

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monkeywrench1969 2 years, 4 months ago

The only thing that will keep these neighbors from continuing this fight is the city and county building a new range someplace else which will cost the taxpayers of the city and county into the millions for the assessments, studies, land then the building of the structures and specials that will be required by codes and standards.

As many of the problems in Lawrence area the few rule the many. Common sense and the Google map obviously is very telling as to how close the neighbors really are.

The money would have to come from more taxes or bonds.

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alcoholbliss 2 years, 4 months ago

Noise is pollution, just as much as the metals they are pelleting that berm with. Dang sure if it was loud BOOMING vehicle stereo equipment noise pollution at or near the FOP or anywhere else in the county on a regular basis disturbing a hand full of people, it would be taken care of ASAP.

As frequently as the place is used they could learn something about sound management and proper range construction and maybe make some 40yr + needed improvements? http://www.biathlonontario.ca/Coach_Resources/ShootingRangesSound.pdf http://www.itrcweb.org/Documents/SMART-2.pdf

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 4 months ago

Another reason for a looser pay court system. These landowners and their ambulance chasing lawyer would think twice about this suit if it meant they would have to pay if they loose.

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SynjynSmythe 2 years, 4 months ago

The complaints from the "group of adjacent landowners or neighbors who live near the FOP’s Lawrence lodge north of Lone Star Lake" should only be allowed against their realtors, those they purchased their respective properties from and themselves. The "FOP has operated a firing range on the site for 40 years." These complaining "landowners or neighbors" moved in sometime thereafter, mostly in the past 10 years or less. The FOP and the firing range were no secret when they moved in, and have been continuous. Where is the self-responsibility of these folks? Why, on earth, does the court system not kick them out immediately? This is as stupid as allowing someone who purchases hot coffee to sue McDonalds when they stumble and spill that hot coffee in their lap!!

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Getaroom 2 years, 4 months ago

Much ado about nothing - all the way around. Ol' Custer here should know all about the dangers of flying objects, how about a bow and arrow range autie?

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autie 2 years, 4 months ago

Having a neighbor (like Merrill maybe) mowing his grass with an internal combustion engine is probably much more loud than a pistol range 1500 feet away. It seems quite ridiculous after forty years of being there.

What is the point of the FOP? Seems to me they are wannabe freemasons. Hey there skipper this isn't North Korea.

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75x55 2 years, 4 months ago

94 acres of adjacent property.

Kill the range, and what happens to the 94 acres?

Who stands to benefit?

Follow the money/greed.....

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50YearResident 2 years, 4 months ago

I think all the opposing land owners nearby should be given a tour and open house oppertunity to see how safe the range actually is. I have been there and believe me, there is no chance of a stray bullet ever leaving the range area. You have to see it to understand how the range is positioned. Noise, what little there is, can not harm neighbors either.

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its_just_math 2 years, 4 months ago

Pure dread is having to look at your avatar.

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tracey_gold 2 years, 4 months ago

What is the point of the FOP? Seems to me they are wannabe freemasons. Regardless they should be using a indoor shooting range and not in the open like that. It must be pure dread to live next to it.

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Alexander Smith 2 years, 4 months ago

This has nothing to do with safety, like someone said earlier, these are police officers and no issues for 40 years. Its a bunch of greedy land owners.

This is what kills me (no pun intended), these morons are making a stink about this but YET..YET.. if their lives are in stake they want the Police to take the bullet??? WTF.

How about this, lets put out a tax increase to help build a state of the art indoor shooting range?? Think these dorks will support it. most likely not.

First of all, I am guessing the fire range is not pointed at any homes. Next, if the morons that live there let their kids go on to a shooting range because they are to lazy to watch their own kids...its not the polices fault. I love how parents like to put the responsiblity of raising their kids on everyone else but themselves. Guess they are to busy playing with their iPads and texting.

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skinny 2 years, 4 months ago

I am with the F.O.P. on this one. The F.O.P. has been out there for 40 years. They are out in the county away from everyone. The property owners who recently purchased their prperty knew the F.O.P. was there before they bought their property. The adjast property owners don't have a leg to stand on!! GET REAL!

I really don't even think the county even needed to issue a permit to begin with as a premit is not required for it's current use!

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 4 months ago

The FOP firing range has been used for many years and is 100% safe. I've discharged firearms there many times. The nutcases who object need to move into the city, preferably downtown near one of the many bars or the Granada Theater, where they stand a much greater chance of being shot on a weekend by someone from Kansas City or Topeka than if they live in the vicinity of the firing range.

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its_just_math 2 years, 4 months ago

I did my CCH course there and if a stray bullet gets out of there, it would almost have to be intentional. There is a very high embankment behind the main target area.

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thirdplanet 2 years, 4 months ago

Same old Republic of Lawrence despotism and the tyranny of operating permits.

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Patrick Rooney 2 years, 4 months ago

You'd think they would feel safer knowing who's out there!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus_ 2 years, 4 months ago

"“unreasonably and arbitrarily” approved the permit without considering public health and safety issues and parking"

More like the county unreasonably and arbitrarily disapproves of anything involving guns, completely ignoring the fact that these are policemen with a spotless safety record and they're been there for four decades. The poor guys have probably spent thousands in litigation costs just to combat baseless arguments against them.

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Benjamin Roberts 2 years, 4 months ago

The range is surrounded by an embankment on the target side and woods all the way around. The closest structure is a home 1500 feet behind the direction of of fire with FOP club house and woods in between. The next closest home is about 3700 feet on the other side of the embankment and woods. The safety risk appears to be non-existent.

http://tinyurl.com/829cqqt

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Mike Gerhardt 2 years, 4 months ago

Greedy home owners who in all probability bought their houses knowing full well the firing range has been there for years. Typical ambulance-chasing lawyer too.

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Chris Golledge 2 years, 4 months ago

“Ultimately the biggest concern my clients have is the issue of safety,” versus "...adversely affect their quiet..."

Really? You are worried about your safety.

a) They are policemen. b) Fourty years and how many accidents? c) Did you buy the house before the range was there? No? Then you really should have considered what you were buying more carefully.

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