First, there are ranges available in the area that have rural settings and don't have built up populations. This firing range was part of a world war two training facility, which closed down with the closure of Farragut Naval Training Base.
At no time, did the Fish & Game people petition the county for a conditional use permit, after federal closure. They just started using it in a limited capacity without any zoning authority. The area at the time of 1942 was isolated and wartime exceptions were the rule. Prior to the original ruling, if a shooter wanted access to the old range, they needed to get the key from the park office. That doesn't sound open to me.
For those that aren't aware that World War two is over, I suggest going back to history 101. If Fish & Game wanted to use the closed range they should have approached the county for zoning to that effect. Perhaps it is time to test other world war two issues regarding the military use. Maybe the brig museum could be used to house state felons, rather than shipping prisoners out of state. Then there is the hospital site. Maybe if another facility is needed in Kootenai County, a hospital district could be formed to reinstate that medical facility. Perhaps a Service Club should be built for serving Military/naval groups.
Better yet, why not turn this whole thing into a public park where Idaho residents and guests from other areas could enjoy the great outdoors camping, fishing hiking, skiing and other compatible uses. Certainly there are state laws against firing a weapon in a state park. Why doesn't the state follow their own rules, or can I hunt deer with a rifle as long as the authorities don't care.
I suggest that the Supreme court just doesn't treat a state agency with the neutrality it does in other matters, if in fact they do..This use without appropriate zoning is not right and lacks common sense. The use is also incompatible with other family uses.
At this point, zoning has not been addressed. I suggest that it is now. If the Kootenai County Commissioners doesn't want the range then they would have the option of refusing a conditional use permit. Apparently, the Idaho Fish Game Department is out of control or worse yet, controlled by others, such as the organizations that have donated funds for this project. What part of the citizens in this area does the Fish & Game people not understand.
Perhaps since the temporary injunction has been removed, Judge Mitchell could then make it permanent. Another unintended consequence of this unholy partnership between Fish and Game and Idaho Parks and Recreation, could be the mass exodus of campers when they hear shots fired. What part of incompatible don't they understand.
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Parting Shot -- 3.26.15
15 hours ago