LILLINGTON: Judge's decision to stand in Drake Landing dispute - WNCN: News, Weather

Judge's decision to stand in Drake Landing agritourism dispute

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Neighbors argued Drake Landing should be regulated like a shooting range and should not be classified under the state's agritourism label because that exempts it from local zoning. Neighbors argued Drake Landing should be regulated like a shooting range and should not be classified under the state's agritourism label because that exempts it from local zoning.
LILLINGTON, N.C. - The Harnett County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted not to appeal a judge's decision stating a shooting range cannot operate like any other agritourism company.

Neighbors argued Drake Landing should be regulated like a shooting range and should not be classified under the state's agritourism label because that exempts it from local zoning. But until last month, those appeals had been squashed on the basis that the business contended that hunting and shooting are traditional farm activities.

Under the state's agritourism law, a farm can engage in a number of money-raising activities without county zoning approval.

On March 17, Judge C. Winston Gilchrist ruled that the General Assembly "did not intend to include continental shooting towers, 3D archery courses and ranges, sporting clay, skeet and trap ranges, rifle ranges and pistol pits within the definition of 'agriculture.'"

Some homeowners who live near the facility have reported bullets striking their houses, while others said the gunfire was inappropriate for areas as populated as their neighborhood.

"There's semi-automatic fire where people are just burning ammo instead of target shooting," said homeowner Ted Martin. "We really don't feel this is a legitimate activity for an area that's as congested as this area is."

Gilchrist ruled that this sort of activity does not constitute agritourism, and is "in fact non-farm uses." Therefore, he ordered, Drake Landing is not exempt from county zoning.

Gilchrist further ordered that the county's Board of Adjustment review parts of the case dealing with the operation of a hunting preserve.

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