The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office is considering land south of Moxee for a new shooting range in case its first site choice in Terrace Heights falls through.
The department’s first proposal ran into opposition from neighboring home owners, and last month a county land-use official told the department to redo its environmental review for the Terrace Heights location, southeast of the county landfill. County Hearing Examiner Gary Cuillier cited noise from target practice as one issue that must be considered in a new environmental review.
The sheriff’s office plans to appeal the decision, said Stew Graham, chief of detectives for the sheriff’s office.
The department also is looking at part of a 39-acre parcel owned by the city of Moxee off Moxee Dump Road near Konnowac Pass for use by deputies and county corrections officers to qualify for their weapons, Graham said.
“It’s kind of stuck in the middle of nowhere,” Moxee City Supervisor Byron Adams said. “We feel like it would be less of a headache to get it in back there.”
City officials will give the Moxee City Council its first look at the proposal at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall.
The range wouldn’t bring the city revenue, but it could save money for Moxee Police Department, Adams said.
Since the council hasn’t weighed in, city officials haven’t discussed any details about ownership or management with the sheriff’s office.
Graham said he did not know how much the site would cost to develop.
The sheriff’s office has proposed using county equipment and $13,000 saved from selling spent shell casings for recycling to build the range.
For the Terrace Heights location near Roza Hill Drive and Solar Lane, the sheriff’s office proposed a range, a parking area and a storage building for targets and other equipment. The plans included two firing areas of 100 yards in length, surrounded by 20-foot-tall berms on three sides and a 12-foot-tall berm on one side.
The application for a conditional use permit didn’t restrict the number of days in a week for practice, and proposed night shooting until 11 p.m.
Neighbors fought the application, citing concerns about noise, views and property values.
Currently, sheriff’s deputies and county corrections officers have no permanent shooting range. Existing ranges, including the Union Gap Police Department’s range, the Yakima Training Center and the Sun Targets Shooting Park, don’t meet departments’ needs, according to officers with the sheriff’s office and the county Department of Corrections.
“We can’t just go out and do the training we need to do,” said Scott Himes, security operations chief with the Department of Corrections.
Twice a year, sheriff’s deputies and corrections officers have to qualify with multiple weapons during the day, with low light and using a flashlight.
With the nearest resident about a mile away, Adams said he doesn’t think noise will be an issue for the Moxee site.
• Dan Catchpole can be reached at 509-759-7850 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/dcatchpole.