RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. — RC residents living near Cleghorn Gun Club spoke before the Rutherford County Commissioners at their meeting Monday evening. Over 9 months ago, these same residents complained about the excessive gunshot noise from the club. During public comments residents asked for intercession with the Tryon Equestrian Partners who own the gun club as part of their Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) resort portfolio. The residents stated that the Tryon Equestrian Partners have not honored their tepid promises made by COO Sharon Decker of noise barriers, possible purchase of homes, and limited shooting hours.
The gun club, located at 1887 Union Road, Rutherfordton, was formerly West Point Farm, and was a part of the Town of Rutherfordton’s plan to annex the property along with the Cleghorn Golf Club. Upon research, however, it was discovered that the Town of Rutherfordton had not only noise ordinances, but also ordinances limiting gun clubs to indoor facilities. The annexation plan for the Gun Club was abandoned and the issue of noises left for the county to deal with.
“It is outrageous and mind boggling why a shotgun shooting gun club would ever be allowed to start, in the middle of an established peaceful farming neighborhood,” said Donna Hughes. Hughes who lives in the Pleasant Hill community provided comments stating that “they shoot all day long Wednesday through Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Some days up to 1400 rounds per day.”
Given that the county does not have any noise ordinances and Rutherfordton has abdicated its responsibility Hughes said the gun club neighbors have been consistently told there is nothing that can be done. Hughes lobbied for or a county-wide ordinance to regulate gun clubs since the shooting negatively affects the quality of life of the gun club’s neighbors.
Hughes was not the only one to speak about the excessive noise. Bob Bourne also expressed frustration with the continuing noise levels. Bourne stated. “Like dozens of other homeowners within earshot of the gun club, we enjoyed a peaceful environment before the equestrian center purchased the West Point farm and opened the skeet club.”
Bourne stated the problems would significantly improve if the gun club would use shotgun silencers.
“Shotgun silencers that reduce the noise level to the point that even the shooter doesn’t need ear protection have been developed and are available for purchase,” Bourne said. “Repeated requests to discuss this potential win-win solution with the Equestrian Center leadership have been denied. My request of the County Commissioners is to intervene with the equestrian center leadership to help them understand the extent of the intrusion they are having on so many established residents of Rutherford County, and to open lines of communication that can lead to a solution.”
Harold Rogers said silencer technology could make a significant noise reduction. Rogers invited Commissioners to his home for a demonstration of gun silencers.
“They have ignored us. They do what they want to do, without any fear of repercussions,” Rogers said.
Commission Chairman Bryan King stated that the commissioners too had reached out to TIEC and asked that they be good neighbors. However, even if the commissioners passed an ordinance concerning the noise levels, the Gun Club would be grandfathered in and not subjected to the new law.