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Gun club plan resurfaces near Bremerton Airport

Developers of a proposed gun club that neighboring residents battled to keep away from Bear Lake are now looking to build near the Bremerton National Airport, according to the Kitsap County Department of Community Development.

Planner Jeff Smith said the Olympic Sportsman’s Club submitted a pre-application last month to build a recreational facility that will house rifle, pistol and trap/skeet ranges on a 160-acre site that borders the airport and is inside the South Kitsap Industrial Area (SKIA).

Smith said this week he was still collecting comments regarding the proposal and would have to consider carefully the positions of the McCormick Land Co., which owns the site, and the Port of Bremerton, which owns the airport.

On Tuesday, the Port of Bremerton signed a resolution opposing the gun club locating at the site, claiming it was both a safety hazard for the airport and incompatible with the overall vision for SKIA, designated as a manufacturing and business center.

“The (site’s) proximity to the safety buffer zone and (the fact that it is) directly beneath and oriented in line with the traffic pattern poses a safety and distraction hazard to pilots during critical phases of flight,” said Fred Salisbury, director of airport and industrial operations, at Tuesday’s meeting of the Port’s board of commissioners.

Salisbury said despite the safety concerns, the gun complex would also be incompatible with the Washington State Department of Transportation’s guidelines for airports and Compatible Land Use, along with the airport’s master plan.

More importantly, Salisbury said that the gun club was not compatible with SKIA, designated as a Kitsap County Urban Growth Area.

Specifically, Salisbury said the gun club would provide a low employment potential, which he said was incompatible with the “intent, goals, policies, objectives, performance standards and planning guidelines established in the SKIA Sub-Area plan.”

The lead developer of the project, Scott Edwards, who replaced Phil Canter on the $3 million center, said the original site — 120 acres of land located just off Lake Flora Road — proved too challenging to build on.

The first proposed site of the actual range appeared to be too close for its residential neighbors’ comfort, and when project planners attempted to shift the range to a different part of the property, work was stalled because of the amount of wetlands present.

The first proposed site of the actual range appeared to be too close for its residential neighbors’ comfort, and when project planners attempted to shift the range to a different part of the property, work was stalled because of the amount of wetlands present.

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