No-shooting zone shrinks - The County Council tells Snohomish its first plan would require a petition effort.

By Diana Hefley
Everett Herald Writer

SNOHOMISH, WA 4/16/03-- A proposed no-shooting zone around the city and its growth area could be scaled back, easing some of the frustration of local duck hunters.

Earlier this year, the City Council asked the Snohomish County Council to make a no-shooting buffer of 300 feet around the city and its urban growth area.

The request came after City Councilman Kurt Meacham complained that hunters were shooting too close to the wastewater treatment plant and the off-leash dog area around the plant.

"If we don't create a buffer, someone is going to get shot," Meacham said.

The off-leash dog area is bordered by county land, where it is legal to shoot firearms. The nearby marshes and ponds attract hunters in the early mornings and has traditionally been a popular spot to hunt waterfowl.

"There have been reports of gunfire near the dog area and our employees have heard guns, likely shotguns, as well," city manager Larry Bauman said.

The city went to the county for help.

But the County Council told the city that it would need to circulate a petition among residents living in the proposed no-shooting zone. Snohomish would need at least 51 percent of those residents to support the extended buffer.

"We simply don't have the staff to manage that kind of petition process," Bauman said. "So, we said, 'Let's look at the portion we're most concerned with.' "

The new proposal calls for a 300-foot buffer around the plant and a small portion of the urban growth area that lies between the plant and Riverview Road. The council will vote tonight whether to ask the County Council to approve this proposal.

Some duck hunters have complained to the council about the proposed zone.

Hunters argue that there is no risk of someone getting shot. They often hunt in the rain and during the early mornings, when no one is using the park. And their shotguns could never reach someone using the off-leash area, hunter Gary Speer said.

"They just keep closing down more and more areas," Speer said, adding the 300-foot buffer likely won't affect hunters using that area.

"I just don't think we ever get that close to the plant," Speer said.

Reporter Diana Hefley:
425-339-3463 or

Zone action

The Snohomish City Council will discuss revising a proposed no-shooting zone at 7 tonight in the George Gilbertson Board Room, 1601 Ave. D, Snohomish.


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