Spokane Journal of Business

Hearing examiner OKs Gun Club request

Decision appeals will be accepted until July 28

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The Spokane County Hearing Examiner has approved the Spokane Gun Club’s application for a conditional-use permit to build a gun range on the West Plains.

The hearing examiner handed down his decision on July 1. 

Spokane Gun Club officer Dave McCann says, “It was pretty much in our favor in that it supported the mitigation points that we offered to the opposition … as far as times and days of operation.”

Opponents of the proposed gun range, which is to be located on about 450 acres on the northwest corner of Thorpe Road and Brooks Road in Medical Lake, raised concerns about noise pollution, safety of people and animals residing on surrounding properties, potential well contamination from shotgun pellets, dust from increased traffic, and the use of the site by recreational vehicles during multiday events.

A representative of opponents couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.

The application approval includes several conditions, including requiring the Spokane Gun Club take steps to mitigate the dust from increased traffic on Thorpe Road.

Other requirements and concessions include an imposed quiet time from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. for any recreational vehicles parked on the site during regional events and that RVs only remain on the site for the duration of the competition. The club has also agreed to cease operations during funeral or memorials at the neighboring Medical Lake Cemetery, given the cemetery provides the club with 48 hours’ notice, according to hearing documents.

Spokane-based Wolfe Architectural Group PS is finalizing the design plans, McCann says, then the project will be sent out to bid, unless the hearing examiner’s decision is appealed.

The deadline to file an appeal to Spokane Superior Court regarding the decision is July 28.

Site plans described in the hearing documents indicate the club intends to develop three combination Trap and Skeet ranges, with space for two additional ranges in the future.

Plans also show space for a “fully-contained” pistol range, meaning it would be fully baffled to prevent any rounds from leaving the range.

Also included in the overall plans are seven trap ranges with space for three additional ranges in the future, one five-stand shooting range, a sporting clays course, and an archery course, a clubhouse, and a storage building.

The Spokane Gun Club voted to sell its longtime, 99-acre property at 19615 E. Sprague to the Central Valley School District in August 2018 for close to $8 million. There, the school district is building Ridgeline High School and plans to construct an elementary school in the future.

The gun club currently is operating under an agreement to lease the property from the school district for $10 a month and must vacate the site no later than July 1, 2021, McCann says.

The Spokane Gun Club purchased the new property, which is just east of Fairchild Air Force Base, in September 2019. 

Given the timing of the decision, McCann says the new club likely won’t be completed by the time the club is required to vacate the current facilities. In that event, the club will aim to get a number of the shooting venues operational prior to the completion of the building, McCann says.

Natasha Nellis
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Reporter Natasha Nellis joined the Journal in May 2018 and covers real estate and construction. Natasha is an avid reader and loves taking photos, traveling, and learning new languages.

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