Lake County residents angry over skeet shooting noise from nearby country club

Lake County residents angry over skeet shooting noise from nearby country club

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Some Northeast Ohio residents say it sounds like a war zone: skeet shooting on weekends at a nearby country club. They say the noise has become a nightmare.

“You come home Saturday and Sunday and want to just kind of relax, and they’ve got ‘pow pow pow’ going off,” says Bart Williams, who is referring to skeet shooting going on at nearby Kirtland Country Club in Willoughby. “Weekend after weekend after weekend, after a while, it just starts to bug you a little bit,” says Williams.

Back in 2016, a judge ruled the club wasn’t violating any noise standards after neighbors complained about the noise. Despite Kirtland Country Club is within their rights, residents continue to plead with club management to come up with a solution that works for both the club and residents.

“It’s a nuisance and noise factor. I have been trying to get the club to understand that and have had deaf ears,” says Williams.

The shooting range is open from November through March, for six hours on Saturdays and four hours on Sundays.

“When those shots are going in, they almost bounce and echo through the ravines,” Williams tells 19 News.

The club is technically in Willoughby, but Williams says the shooting also affects hundreds of families in and Waite Hill and Kirtland.

“It’s like being in a war zone,” says Albert Vendeland, who also lives near the country club. “It’s a nightmare,” Vendeland says, especially for nearby veterans, telling us the shooting noise triggers their PTSD. And it’s not just veterans whose way of life residents say has been impacted by the skeet shooting.

“There’s a child who has cochlear implants, and the shooting just amplifies, and they (the child’s parents) have to turn them off for him,” says Williams.

19 News reached out to Kirtland Country Club to get a response. The general manager, Mark Petzing, wrote back to us with the following statement:

“For 100 years, The Kirtland Country Club has been a safe and welcoming environment for our members, their families, and their guests to enjoy various year-round amenities and activities. We also take pride in being a vital part of our surrounding community.

The Club has worked in collaboration with local officials and national experts to make certain that the skeet program is properly permitted and remains compliant with all legal requirements. The courts have consistently ruled in the Club’s favor. Throughout the years, we have taken additional proactive measures to mitigate further disturbances the skeet program may have to the surrounding community.

For the past six years, our Club, our board members, and members have been subjected to a public pressure and harassment campaign led by a very small group of individuals. Recently, at the end of January 2021, this group increased the harassment to include threats to our members and their businesses. This included the spread of false, disparaging, and derogatory messages about The Kirtland Country Club, our members, and our skeet program. This new messaging included statements that we are anti-veteran and not concerned with veterans’ mental health and their overall wellbeing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Based on this recent new messaging from these individuals, we learned for the first time that our skeet shooting might affect two veterans who live in the area. In response, in February 2021, Club representatives, including a member who is a veteran of foreign war, met with these two individuals, along with three other veterans and other residents, to learn more about their thoughts on our skeet program.

The Kirtland Country Club employs veterans; we have members who are veterans, including veterans of foreign wars, members whose companies hire veterans, and members who host veterans as guests to shoot skeet at The Kirtland Country Club. Our members who are veterans and their guests share that they find shooting skeet at the Club to be therapeutic.

Unfortunately, with no legal recourse remaining, this small local group continues to harass, threaten, and now publicly pressure the Club to end the skeet program.

We stand by our right to legally operate this properly permitted program. And we thank all veterans and current service members for their service and commitment to protecting our freedom.”

Still, residents want a solution to the noise problem, suggesting either the range be moved, there be an indoor range, or that club members use a range that’s a half-hour away.

Residents are planning a peaceful protest on Saturday, March 13, 2021, which coincidentally is when the Kirtland Country Club is hosting a major skeet shooting competition at the club.

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