Archive for Monday, January 9, 2012

Douglas County to fight landowners’ lawsuit over shooting range approval

January 9, 2012

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Douglas County Commissioners are disputing claims made in a lawsuit that they “unreasonably and arbitrarily” approved a permit in October for a firing range at the Fraternal Order of Police lodge near Lone Star Lake.

“We just disagree with that and don’t believe that to be the case,” Douglas County counselor Evan Ice said. “That’s going to be basically the tack we’ll be taking in court.”

A group of adjacent landowners or neighbors — William E. Roth, Mary S. Roth, Harry James Knoche and Ron Wilson — to the FOP property in December filed an appeal to the county-approved permit. Ronald Schneider, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said his clients had concerns about safety.

In the suit, Schneider has argued commissioners approved the permit without considering public health and safety issues, off-street parking and protections for children and people on nearby properties. The plaintiffs also have concerns their properties could decrease in value.

The county commissioners were listed as the defendants in the lawsuit, but the FOP lodge has since filed a motion to intervene in the suit and filed a response denying most of the plaintiffs’ complaints. Attorney Mike Riling said the FOP lodge members believe the county acted properly in granting the permit.

“The FOP owns the property, and the court is going to decide whether the property is going to be used in that manner,” Riling said. “I think the FOP should be a party” to the suit.

When the county commission approved the permit, it was the culmination of an earlier five-year legal battle over whether the FOP lodge even needed one after operating a firing range on the 94-acre site for 40 years without a permit. The permit included regulations on hours of operation and a way to reduce noise levels. A judge eventually ruled in the county’s favor in that suit, requiring the FOP to obtain the permit.

As of Monday, District Judge Michael Malone had not scheduled any hearings yet in the most recent case.

Comments

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

I live close to the FOP, and we have thought about moving several times because of the noise that occurs there. And not just from the firing range. I'm not sure what the FOP even is.

RoeDapple 3 years, 7 months ago

Fraternal Order of Police.

Good idea though.

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

I know what FOP stands for, I just don't know why it exists.

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

Are you blind? I know what FOP stands for. I don't know why it exists. What is the purpose of the group? It seems to be just a place where cops can all hang out and drink beer. Kinda like a frat.

budman 3 years, 7 months ago

"Kinda like a frat."

You're so right Kirsten, the Fraternal Order of Police is just basically a frat.

budman 3 years, 7 months ago

well why'd you move in next to a firing range. They've been there for forty plus years. What'd you expect.

Alceste 3 years, 7 months ago

It is a labor union. Don't be fooled.....it's primary purpose is to secure income and benefits.

domovik 3 years, 7 months ago

That would actually be the LPOA, not the FOP.

Alceste 3 years, 7 months ago

Pardon me.....the two are, functionally, one and the same. Don't be fooled, as domovik has, evidently, been.......

triplegoddess13 3 years, 7 months ago

Then why are some cops only members of LPOA (union representation and bargaining rights) and not FOP (social organization)?

Alceste 3 years, 7 months ago

Silly. You're splitting hairs. Focus. Focus. Focus on what's what and how "things" work in the "REAL" world and not how "they" "work" in fairytale "goddess land"!

Jim Phillips 3 years, 7 months ago

Actually, the FOP in Lawrence is not a bargaining unit because there are members from agencies who are not allowed to join unions. Therefore, each police agency in Douglas County who wants one has an individual bargaining unit within their respective agencies. The FOP is, in fact one of the police "unions" in other areas of the country. So, maybe you need to adjust your focus , check all of the facts, and quit being so smug.

Tony Holladay 3 years, 7 months ago

kristen kinda reminds me about the person who lives near the airport and complains about the planes flying overhead

budman 3 years, 7 months ago

I've been living next to Memorial Stadium and the county has yet to respond to my complaints.

Andrea Hoag 3 years, 7 months ago

You can imagine why these homeowners don't want a firing range right next to their homes. That sounds really unpleasant.

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

My family has owned land by the FOP for over 75 years. We live a little more than a mile away from it and can still hear the noise pollution. I can't even imagine living right next to it. They should build an in door firing range or use other facilities.

fu7il3 3 years, 7 months ago

Can you hear the noise from the hunters too? I would bet there are more than just cops shooting out in the county.

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

Hunters: POP...........................................................................................................

Cops at a firing range: POP POP POP POP POP POP POP POP POP POP...

3up3down 3 years, 7 months ago

Range was there probably before the majority of the nearby home owners moved in. Didn't do your research before moving in, ie. checkin out the neighborhood. Sucks to be you!

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

You really should spend a night in our backyard on a Friday night when drunk cops are partying and shooting guns. There is more going on out there then meets the eye.

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

Obviously it doesn't happen all the time but IT DOES happen. Either that or the cows have learned human traits.

budman 3 years, 7 months ago

Have you ever called the police to file a noise complaint?

oldvet 3 years, 7 months ago

Caller: I want to file a noise complaint...

Dispatcher: OK, I'll send an officer out to your place... Oh, I have one in your area already, he'll be right over.

BlackVelvet 3 years, 7 months ago

And you have proof of this? Please, enlighten us! And did you testify at the public comments sessions before the City/County planning commission or the County Commission? That was your chance to voice your approval or disapproval.

budman 3 years, 7 months ago

Most people kinda get to know the neighborhood before moving in. I don't know what those were expecting and its there fault they didn't consider it

Lonestar1 3 years, 7 months ago

The range has been there for the 25 + years we have lived in the area. In fact anyone who has been in the area for any time know that firearms make noise and it is a :shooting range". There has always been shooting out there even before we moved to the area. We knew about it. I have a range out by my barn and I shoot all of the time, as do some of my neighbors along Washington Creek. It has never bothered me, even when they are shooting fully automatic stuff.

Every serious shooter knows that alcohol and firearms don't mix. I would like to think that the FOP keeps an eye on that type of thing. The range doesn't bother me.

Ockhams_Razor 3 years, 7 months ago

"keeps an eye on that type of thing" ??

Why should any firearms firing range allow alcohol? Especially one which is ostensibly used primarily to train public law officials?

If it is non-issue, I presume other firing ranges/gun clubs should be able to serve alcohol. Good idea?

DillonBarnes 3 years, 7 months ago

He never said it should be allowed, I'm fairly certain "keep an eye on it" means not allow it.

RoeDapple 3 years, 7 months ago

"Pop". Or as you put it, "pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop" means nothing. From the maps shown in the link below it appears the firing ranges for both rifle and pistol are targeted in a direction away from at least the properties listed as "adjacent". Do you have property damage due to stray rounds being fired your way or heard ricohets whizzing past? Like it or not, you probably live in the safest part of the county. Other than Dunkin Donuts of course. (sorry guys, couldn't resist) ;-)

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/a-blog-about/2012/jan/9/fop-range-and-adjacent-property-owners/

RoeDapple 3 years, 7 months ago

FOP mission statement;

"To support and defend the Constitution of the United States; to inculcate loyalty and allegiance to the United States of America; to promote and foster the enforcement of law and order; to improve the individual and collective proficiency of our members in the performance of their duties; to encourage fraternal, educational, charitable and social activities among law enforcement officers; to advocate and strive for uniform application of the civil service merit system for appointment and promotion; to support the improvement of the standard of living and working conditions of the law enforcement profession through every legal and ethical means available; to create and maintain tradition of esprit de corps insuring fidelity to duty under all conditions and circumstances; to cultivate a spirit of fraternalism and mutual helpfulness among our members and the people we serve; to increase the efficiency of the law enforcement profession and thus more firmly to establish the confidence of the public in the service dedicated to the protection of life and property."

That ought to clear it up for you.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

No Matter... Landowners near the FOP are taxpayers. After 75 years and now the FOP needs a firing range?

The firing range is a new equation into this matter. Why is this firing range necessary?

This resident kristeniswright87 is a legitimate stakeholder.

High powered assault weapons are not to be taken lightly.

If officers are in fact drinking at this location then driving home = a problem

Alcohol and guns are not a great pair.

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

2011 was the worst year for police officer deaths. I believe the cnn article said that almost 200 cops were shot and killed in 2011.

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

The only whiner I see is you. No offence. Maybe make a intelligent response to his comment instead of taking the easy way out. Just a suggestion.

budman 3 years, 7 months ago

God this Kirsten lady certainly has a lot to say.

budman 3 years, 7 months ago

NO you definitely sidelined the facts of this article. The firing range has been there longer than the neighbors who are complaining and its not "a a new equation into this matter",

Why is it necessary. Because cops carry guns and they better know how to use them.

RoeDapple 3 years, 7 months ago

"After 75 years and now the FOP needs a firing range?"

Umm . . . It's been there 40 years.

"Alcohol and guns are not a great pair."

An accusation without proof.

Once again, B.S.

BlackVelvet 3 years, 7 months ago

I sometimes drink a beer or two. I sometimes shoot guns. I don't do both at the same time and I seriously doubt the members of the FOP do either. Just because a social organization allows training on their property (per the testimony at the County Commission meeting) does not mean the FOP cannot indulge in some social activity when it is safe and proper to do so. Enough of the assumptions that the cops are drinking and shooting at the same time.

Terry Sexton 3 years, 7 months ago

I don't think the range is new to the equation, is it? I thought it'd been in operation for years.

pace 3 years, 7 months ago

There should at least be a range master, one person who is responsible, ensuring safe practices and licensing rules are followed. I lived next to a sheriff's firing range and club house in another county. I support the idea of a practice and learning range. I do not fault the idea of a fraternal club house. Our range neighbors cut our fence, chased the cows with motorcycles, shot one cow, and had drunken wild parties. A range master might tone the hijinks down and keep it safer. Our neighbors finally got one of their retired guys to be in charge and they quit acting like (what to say?) rowdies.

Jim Phillips 3 years, 7 months ago

I think the FOP range should be closed down. That would force the County and the City administrators to build an indoor range somewhere in the county or city. Lest you ask why, it is because law enforcement officers are required by law to qualify twice a year with their handguns. Now, only shooting handguns twice a year presents some potential liability issues, which in turn raises insurance rates for law enforcement agencies. Afterall, I, for one would hope that police officers hit their intended targets rather than intended ones.

Now we taxpayers will have to fund the building of an indoor firing range (indoor to abate the noise) which means the building will have to meet stringent EPA mandates for the filtration of lead particles out of the air before the EPA will allow its use. It will need to be a massive system to eliminate all of the impurities that will be present from any automatic weapons fire involving several weapons. So, what, maybe $2.5 million for the building? Mayby $5 million (not including the land)?

We will also have to pay for the increase in liability insurance for the coverage of the facility and possibly for the increase in liablity insurance premiums for Douglas County and the City of Lawrence since training could be limited due to the increase in range costs.

This facility will quite probably be needed to conduct the hunter safety classes since the FOP lodge will be closed down, unless the insurance company refuses to insure hunter safety course. Where will they be held?

So, by all means, shut it down so we can raise taxes and provide less adequate training for our law enforcement.

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

I have no room for sarcasm in my life when it comes to important issues such as this one currently being discussed.

triplegoddess13 3 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps you should have read the entire post before you agreed with it since that's what someone with common sense would do.

Jim Phillips 3 years, 7 months ago

Sorry. The last sentence in the first paragraph should end with "unintended ones".

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

Why do Lawrence cops even need guns? They use tazers 99 percent of the time.

triplegoddess13 3 years, 7 months ago

And you know this how? (provide a source for this if you're going to state it) Personally I would prefer having LEO armed to defend before something tragic happens instead of after. There's no point in bringing a tazer to a gang shootout. The city will just have to train more LEO when that happens, costing more taxpayer money.

Food_for_Thought 3 years, 7 months ago

You're a fool if you genuinely think that way. A taser is a one, sometimes two-shot weapon. The effects only last on the subject so long as the taser probes are connected and there are no breaks in the wires. Someone has a gun, or perhaps they are shooting at the officer from a range greater than the 25 ft taser wires extend to, then what happens?

Whether or not police use tasers or guns more is irrelevant. The primary existence for law enforcement is to have a PROPERLY equipped and trained group of professionals who are capable of responding AND preventing any POTENTIAL threat to persons or property. With your flawed logic, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical should get rid of most of their fire engines and fire hoses, because fires are such a rare occurrence when compared to how much this equipment costs. I'd rather Police and Fire to have the equipment and training they need and never use it, rather than the opposite. Anyone with life experience and common sense would agree.

If you happen to live out on that property that you say your family has owned for 75 years, it's time for you to move somewhere more "urban", where you can enlighten yourself from your clearly sheltered existence.

BlackVelvet 3 years, 7 months ago

You really are out of touch aren't you.

Eugehne Normandin 3 years, 7 months ago

i prefer the noise created by guns than the noise created by whining

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

budman 3 years, 7 months ago

Kirsten, I doubt there's a man on earth that could stand the mouth on you.

triplegoddess13 3 years, 7 months ago

Let's see . . . where to start . . . First off the FOP is technically a members only club which should extend the organization and its members the right to do what they want/need to do on their private (dues paid in full) property; just like any other privately owned piece of land in the county. This includes shooting guns or having get togethers when they feel like it. Using the range to train LEO is completely different from the general FOP membership. The LEO agencies pay to rent the space so they can train out there. If stipulations are to be placed on when and what times they can train then so be it but remember these are the men and women that protect the cities of Lawrence, Baldwin, and Eudora as well as Douglas County in general and the entire state of Kansas. There are also classes in CCH, basic gun safety, and hunter safety taught out there. These are also paid activities that people hosting the training sessions pay to be out there for. The FOP is also rented out for family functions or general get togethers that the members wish to have out there. An FOP member has to be present at all times when these events take place and during these events not everyone is an FOP member, meaning not everyone out there is law enforcement or related to law enforement (common citizens of the community). To comment on a previous suggestion of a range master-there are several rang masters (active and retired) that are out at the FOP when LEO train.

The bottom line is that this facility is needed to train officers in and around Kansas so it is a necessity to have it. If the city and county (i.e. taxpayers) want to build a new training facility for LEO then by all means raise the money to do so but when that money isn't raised don't come crying and whining because the officers on the street aren't trained properly. You shut down their access to an already functioning training range.

It's only common sense to arm and train your LEO so they can not only protect themselves but the communities they serve in. Let them have an area to do that training and stop whining about gun noise when you can't even determine where the noise is coming from. Last time I checked there were a lot of county 'folk' that hunt in that area at all hours of the day/night. Allow the LEO to train so they can be the best at their jobs; day and night.

Ockhams_Razor 3 years, 7 months ago

Do the LEO and FOP drink alcohol on this property?

triplegoddess13 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure some do but don't make the assumption that they drink while they shoot.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

“unreasonably and arbitrarily” approved a permit in October for a firing range at the Fraternal Order of Police lodge near Lone Star Lake." Is this a renewal?

Are more people living in the area than previously? If so then this matter may well be a legitimate concern.

Were new residents advised of the "nearby" shooting range before purchasing property?

Perhaps any further residential development should cease?

I am thinking law enforcement has access to an indoor range?

budman 3 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps those that don't want to live next to a shooting range shouldn't have decided to live next to a shooting range. Anyone who's complaining should have know that its nearby and if they didn't bother checking, than that's there fault.

If they don't like their neighbors then they certainly have the option of moving.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

Does a shooting range within close proximity to residential impact property market values?

budman 3 years, 7 months ago

Did people move in knowing there's a shooting range nearby?

Yes.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

"Anyone who's complaining should have know that its nearby and if they didn't bother checking, than that's there fault."

I disagree. How many people ever think to ask if there is a shooting range nearby? Perhaps that information should be on the back of the real estate industry to advise?

BlackVelvet 3 years, 7 months ago

If people are shooting out there "all the time" as another poster claimed, then anyone looking at property in the area should HEAR the shooting and inquire about it. duh.

RoeDapple 3 years, 7 months ago

Not a big fan of imminent domain, but if they can do it for a noisy polluting race track in Wyandotte County . . . .

skinny 3 years, 7 months ago

The FOP hasn't had a permit for forty years why all of a sudden did the County feel the need to require them to have one now?

I live out in the Counnty and I shoot my guns day and night. Am I going to need a permit too? I think NOT!

BlackVelvet 3 years, 7 months ago

Don't be too sure of it Skinny. All it takes is for one person to whine to the "authorities" and they just might change the rules on you.

HW 3 years, 7 months ago

Kristen, Could you clarify one of your earlier statements. You said your family has owned property near the FOP for 75 years. Is this farm ground or residential property? When was the first house built near the FOP ground. When did you move into your home that is near the FOP?

Jim Phillips 3 years, 7 months ago

I rarely call anyone a bold faced liar and I refuse to do so here, but given the directions you stated and from where the trap range is, and the ballistics if shotgun shot, I think I would have good cause to.

NotASquishHead 3 years, 7 months ago

Smitty, get your facts straight... it is a different Ron Wilson. Better luck next time.

BlackVelvet 3 years, 7 months ago

No it's not. Simply because Smitty said so.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 7 months ago

Everybody gets crossbows! Twang, twang, twang.

RoeDapple 3 years, 7 months ago

"I purchased the 10 acres between the road west of the fop a few years back. At that time I was on my property and was bombarded with shot gun pellets . "

Gee smitty, with your love for LE, do you think . . . ?

;-)

domovik 3 years, 7 months ago

And again, how long ago was this. Times they are a'changin'. Get out of the dark ages of the past and attempt to move forward into the light of the present and future. For this topic and others you enjoy ranting about.

domovik 3 years, 7 months ago

Or maybe people have better things to do with their lives than chat with you all day on a thread. I know I do so enjoy the rest of your day smitty.

somebodynew 3 years, 7 months ago

Well, once again you are wrong Smitty (not a real big suprize). The Ron Wilson who is involved in this suit is NOT the former Sheriff's Officer. I know the names are the same bujt two different people. And yes, I happen to know both of them.

As for the claim about the property and shotgun range. I have used it before and how it is set up does not match what you put out.

And I am sorry if you think this post is abusive in anyway. Sometimes the truth can be that way.

somebodynew 3 years, 7 months ago

No, I don't know when/if it was changed. I have only been going out there since 1980 (not lately though) and as far as I know still the same. When you check on wilson you will find the SO officer moved away. Not sure if he is back on not, but don't think so.

Ockhams_Razor 3 years, 7 months ago

Is drinking still allowed at the FOP property?

Ockhams_Razor 3 years, 7 months ago

Why should any firearms firing range allow alcohol? Especially one which is ostensibly used primarily to train public law officials?

If it is non-issue, I presume other firing ranges/gun clubs should all be able to serve alcohol.

Good idea?

Jim Phillips 3 years, 7 months ago

The lodge is a multi-use facility. It is used for a variety of social functions for both law enforcement and non-law enforcement. The FOP strongly discourages the combined use of alcohol and firearms. And while I cannot attest that has never happened, I challenge anyone, especially those who "know" without ever having set foot on the place, to prove it is a constant issue. As far as the layout of the trap range, it has been exactly the same since 1977 that I know of.

Jim Phillips 3 years, 7 months ago

Tell me kristen, how often do you go to the lodge? Do you regulary drink, shoot, or both when you're there?

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

Spend the night with me. You will see what reality is out here.

BlackVelvet 3 years, 7 months ago

Yeah Guardian....spend the night with her. (rolleyes)

kristeniswright87 3 years, 7 months ago

I meant like come see what it is like to live here year round.

cummingshawk 3 years, 7 months ago

Isn't there a practice range in the law enforcement center basement that was closed by OSHA due to the lead particulate being too high?

Jim Phillips 3 years, 7 months ago

There was, but it was torn out several years ago.

BlackVelvet 3 years, 7 months ago

The ventilation system on the indoor range built in the basement of the Law Enforcement Center never worked properly, therefore that range was never used-it had to be abandoned.

skinny 3 years, 7 months ago

No, that was at the National Guard Army on Iowa Street.

chestylion13 3 years, 7 months ago

I am a resident of this area, and although the noise of the firing range can be somewhat less than peaceful, it is by no means enough of an issue to raise this much fuss over. Yes, the sound of gunshots is frequent. But, I am more concerned with neighbors who shoot their guns in a much less safer manner than the police do at the FOP. I believe in the right to bear arms, shoot them for recreation, but not to more or less recklessly fire them for fun when people and pets are in the vicinity. Some residents of the area partake in this, but it obviously does not bother me to the extent where I would move away from the area. But that is a completely different issue.

I moved to the area not knowing that the location of the FOP was near my house. I enjoy living in Lone Star and the thought of complaining about the FOP never occured to me until this issue was brought up. I don't let this noise ruin the lifestyle I enjoy in one of the safest parts of Douglas Co. So, there seems to be a handful of residents of Lone Star who are speaking for the majority of us who are indifferent to the issue. I would take living in this neighborhood over living in the city where there is far more noise pollution.

Let the FOP stay, and let's get back to more important problems.

BlackVelvet 3 years, 7 months ago

Oddly enough, there are several other residents who live near the FOP who have ranges on their own property. Some of these residents shoot quite often, some late into the night. No one seems to mind-or is it easier to just assume all gunshots are the FOP? Probably the latter. There are more folks shooting in that area than just the FOP.

costello 3 years, 7 months ago

"So, there seems to be a handful of residents of Lone Star who are speaking for the majority of us who are indifferent to the issue."

I also live in the area and am indifferent to the issue, but I wasn't aware the plaintiffs were speaking for me. I'm not a party to the lawsuit, and I doubt if my indifference is material to it.

I've lived there 15 years. I was aware of the FOP and the firing range when I purchased my home (I knew someone who lived in the area previously). I'm fairly sensitive to noise - which is why I live in the country and commute 45 minutes to work, but I barely notice the noise from the FOP. Apparently the plaintiffs are bothered, so they're entitled to their day in court.

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