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Shooting "buffer zone" being proposed in Osborn Bay area

 

Last updated 1/16/2019 at 10:32am

A proposed buffer zone where no hunting or shooting would be allowed is shaded lightly in this photo, included in a city council information packet. Currently, Electric City law does not allow hunting inside city limits, but the restriction reportedly conflicts with hunting allowed on lands owned by state and federal entities within the city's boundaries.

A 500-foot-wide, 7,281-foot-long, no-shooting "buffer zone" is being proposed between residences of Electric City and the Osborne Bay area.

The buffer zone would be an area people cannot shoot guns out of or into.

City Clerk Russ Powers said the city has had several complaints regarding hunters behind houses on Silver Drive, and that just last week he saw people with high-powered rifles in the Osborn Bay area near homes. "That is just too close for my comfort," Powers said.

Currently Electric City's code states that there is to be no hunting in Electric City. Osborne Bay is within the city limits, but it is also public land and hunting is allowed on public lands.

"It's just a conflict," Powers said. "So what we decided to do is come in and say, 'OK, you can hunt on public land, but we're going to create a buffer that protects our residents.'"

The buffer zone would be established with an interlocal agreement between the city, the state departments of Fish & Wildlife and Natural Resources, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Grand Coulee police. It should be ready to be presented at the Feb. 12 Electric City council meeting.

Powers said that DNR, which manages the public land, said they are fine with whatever DFW agrees to.

DNR also leases land to Sunbanks Lake Resort, portions of which fall into the buffer zone, thus necessitating a modification to the lease to include references to the buffer zone.

Signs would line the buffer zone to mark the border, and a kiosk will also be built to describe the border and regulations.

All other laws regarding hunting would still be in effect.

Once the agreement is in place, Electric City would revise the city ordinance to say there can be no discharge of firearms in either the city or the buffer zone, rather than simply "no hunting."

"The council can decide if they want to allow bows and arrows, slingshots, or any other kind of weapon that is not a firearm," Powers said.

A discussion on the buffer zone took place at Electric City's Jan. 8 council meeting.

"At one time, we discussed [allowing] only birds and shotguns," Councilmember Birdie Hensley said. "If you use a high powered rifle at Osborn, I don't care how big of a buffer zone you have."

"Well, you aren't supposed to shoot into that buffer zone, you have to shoot away from the buffer zone," Councilmember Lonna Bussert said.

"OK, well how are you gonna fix stupid?" Hensley asked.

"You can't fix stupid," Councilmember Rich McGuire said. "Stupid is as stupid does."

"Just like with any law," Bussert added.

The council, Mayor John Nordine II, and Powers were in general agreement that it was a good idea to establish the buffer for the safety of the citizens.

 

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