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W.Va. gun club sued by neighbors

August 27, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An Inwood, W.Va., gun club has come under fire from neighbors who have asked a Berkeley County court to close it.

Members of the Nollville-Arden Neighborhood Association claim the sound of shotgun blasts at the Shenandoah Valley Gun Club on Butler Farm has made it impossible for residents to enjoy their properties in peace, according to a lawsuit filed in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit was filed against Shenandoah Valley Gun Club owner Robert Eaves of Summit Point, W.Va., and property owners James William Butler and JoAnn T. Butler of Inwood, according to court records.

None of the parties could be reached for comment. The property owners have no telephone listings in Inwood and no one answered at the gun club.

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Since the club opened in April, neighborhood association members' lives have been disrupted by the sights and sounds of people shooting sporting clays with lead shot, the suit says.

The lawsuit claims the gun club "annoys and disrupts" homeowners and makes the use of properties "uncomfortable," according to court records.

Lead shot from the guns has the potential to contaminate the ground water, which serves wells of several homeowners, as well as a nearby fishing stream and the local public water supply, the suit claims.

The range is also "easily accessible" by neighborhood children, it says.

The lawsuit claims the shooting range operates seven days a week, often past 8 p.m.

A message on the gun club's answering machine states the club is open from 8 a.m. until dusk on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and other days by appointment.

The filing does not state how many members of the Nollville-Arden Neighborhood Association are involved in the lawsuit.

Association attorney Christopher Janelle of Martinsburg could not be reached for comment at his office Thursday afternoon.

The neighborhood association has asked for a temporary injunction against the Shenandoah Valley Gun Club pending the association's efforts to have the club permanently closed, according to court records.

No hearing date has been set for the case in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

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