Chapter 10.22


10.22.010    Title.

10.22.020    Purpose.

10.22.030    Special use permit required.

10.22.040    Exemptions.

10.22.050    Definitions.

10.22.060    Development standards.

10.22.070    Application – Required information.

10.22.080    Inspections.

10.22.090    Penalties – Violations.

10.22.100    Fees.

10.22.110    Liability for damages.

10.22.120    Severability.

10.22.130    Effective date.

10.22.010 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the “Outdoor Public Shooting Range Development Standards Ordinance.” [Ord. 96-076, § 1, 5-6-96.]

10.22.020 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide standards, a procedure for public review, and to require a special use permit for the development of public outdoor shooting range facilities so as to offer recreational firearm shooting opportunities and training activities in a manner that will protect the health, safety, and welfare of the property owners, residents, and other users of land in the vicinity of new shooting ranges. [Ord. 96-076, § 2, 5-6-96.]

10.22.030 Special use permit required.

Notwithstanding any provision of CCC 18.10.275, public shooting ranges shall be permitted uses solely pursuant to a special use permit issued pursuant to CCC 18.10.280 through 18.10.325 (Zoning Code Special Uses) and subject to the standards of this chapter. [Ord. 96-076, § 3, 5-6-96.]

10.22.040 Exemptions.

The terms of this chapter shall not apply to indoor shooting ranges, public outdoor shooting ranges developed and operating as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, private outdoor shooting ranges where no fee is charged or membership required for the use of the facility and where firing occurs less than five times per month by other than the property owner or lessee, or to ranges used exclusively for archery; provided, any expansion of a public outdoor shooting range beyond that developed and operating as of the effective date of said ordinance, or beyond the terms of a permit issued hereunder, shall require issuance of a new special use permit and the total facility shall be subject to the standards of this chapter. [Ord. 96-076, § 4, 5-6-96.]

10.22.050 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter the following definitions shall apply:

“Backstop” means a device constructed to stop or redirect bullets fired on a range.

“Baffles” means barriers to contain bullets and to reduce, redirect or suppress sound waves. Baffles are placed either overhead, alongside, or at ground level to restrict or interrupt errant or off-the-target shots.

“Ballistics” means the study of what happens to moving projectiles in the barrel and in flight: their trajectory, force, impact, and penetration. The study is divided into three sections: internal, external and terminal. “Internal” refers to what happens inside the barrel before the bullet or shot leaves the muzzle. “External” is what happens after the bullet or shot leaves the barrel and travels to its final point of impact. “Terminal” is what happens to the bullet or shot at the final point of impact.

“Berm” means an embankment used for restricting bullets to a given area or as a dividing wall between ranges.

“Bullet” means a single projectile fired from a firearm.

“Bullet trap” means a device designed to trap or capture the entire bullet and fragments as opposed to redirecting the projectile into a water or sand pit.

“Director” means the Director of the Department of Building and Planning.

“Expansion” means any change to a public outdoor shooting range existing as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter or any range developed and operating by virtue of a special use permit, that results in additional firing positions or a lengthened daily period of operations. Expansion shall also include any change increasing the length of the direct fire zone or the area of the shotfall zone in order to accommodate the use of firearms not identified in the then existing special use permit application. Modifications made for the purpose of or resulting solely in maintenance or improvement of a facility, such as the installation of sewer, water or other utilities, pavement of a parking lot, the installation of safety baffles, construction of side or backstop berms, or the construction or remodel of a clubhouse, shall not be considered an expansion.

“Firearm” means a term used to describe any gun, usually small, from which a bullet is propelled by means of hot gasses generated by burning powder (usually smokeless or black powder).

“Firing distance” means the distance between the firing line and the target line.

“Firing line” means a line parallel to the targets from where firearms are discharged.

“Firing position (point)” means an area directly behind the firing line having a specified width and depth that is occupied by a shooter, his or her equipment and, if appropriate, an instructor or coach.

Firing Range.

1. “Firing range” means a facility designed for the purpose of providing a place on which to discharge firearms, shoot air guns, and/or archery equipment.

2. “Firing range” may refer to several ranges constructed in a complex.

“Pistol” means a firearm capable of being held, aimed and fired with one hand. Also known as a handgun.

“Public shooting range” means a firing range where a user fee is charged, or where a person must be a member of a group to be allowed to use the facility and membership requires the payment of dues or fees.

“Range Manual” means The Range Manual – A Guide to Planning and Construction, The National Rifle Association, 1988.

“Ricochet catcher” means a device installed along a backstop, a berm, or on the range floor, designed to capture ricocheting projectiles. Ricochet catchers are more frequently used on backstop areas where the slope or backstop material does not positively contain bullets.


1. “Rifle” means a modern firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder. Its main characteristic is a rifled (grooved) barrel that imparts a spin to a single projectile as it travels through the bore.

2. Some rifles designed for military or law enforcement use may have a pistol grip stock instead of a shoulder stock.

3. For purposes of this chapter, “rifles” shall also include black powder and other muzzle loading firearms, some of which may have rifled barrels.

“Safety baffles” means vertical or sloping barriers designed to prevent a projectile from traveling into an undesired area or direction. Most often used to prevent bullets from leaving a firing range.

“Safety fan” applies only to rifle and pistol firing ranges. The safety fan of a firing range consists of three parts: the direct fire zone, the safety zone, and the ricochet zone. The direct fire zone is that area into which all shots are fired during the normal course of shooting. This zone includes all directions and angles of fire used on a firing range while shooting at a specific target, either stationary or moving, from a specific firing point. The length of the direct fire zone extends to the maximum range of the ammunition and firearm used on the firing range, but can be shortened by physical barriers or other devices which reduce the maximum distance of a bullet’s trajectory. The safety zone extends 10 degrees to the left and right of the direct fire zone and protects against errant bullets caused by cross fire or accidental discharge of a firearm. The ricochet zone is that area 45 degrees to the left and right of the firing line, and extended a certain distance dependent on the type of firearm and ammunition allowed on the range (i.e., 85 yards for air guns, and up to 1,200 yards for high-powered rifles). The line is then extended parallel to each side of the safety zone downrange to the intersection of a line extended from the terminus of the direct fire zone through the outer corner of the safety zone. See Drawing No. 103 in the Range Manual.

“Shotfall zone” means that area of a shotgun firing range where spent shotgun shot falls to the earth and where development, other than trap or skeet houses or the equivalent facilities for other types of shotgun events, and human occupancy, other than operators of the trap, skeet or equivalent facilities, is prohibited during active shooting.


1. “Shotgun” means a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder with a smoothbore barrel that fires shot shells possessing a varying number of round pellets;

2. Some barrels are designed to be used with rifled slugs, most generally having smoothbores, but in some cases may be rifled;

3. Law enforcement and military shotguns may have a pistol grip stock instead of a shoulder stock.

“Target line” means a line parallel to the firing line along which targets are placed. [Ord. 96-076, § 5, 5-6-96.]

10.22.060 Development standards.

The following standards shall apply to the development of proposed public outdoor shooting ranges upon application for a special use permit. The planning commission may vary from these standards where the applicant has demonstrated that the proposed facility includes alternative designs and features, either natural or manmade, that will otherwise mitigate the potential adverse impacts to the health, safety and welfare of owners or users of neighboring properties and the general public.

A. Range Design.

1. Pistol and Rifle Firing Ranges. Pistol and rifle firing range design shall include sufficient land area under control of the applicant for a safety fan (direct fire zone, safety zones and ricochet zones) to accommodate the ballistics of the highest powered firearms and ammunition to be used on the range. Such geographic areas shall be based on the guidelines contained in the Range Manual. Such spatial requirements may be reduced in consideration of natural topographic features or manmade improvements, including but not limited to, backstop and side berms, bullet traps, ricochet catchers, and overhead or ground safety baffles which will provide sufficient safety measures to protect adjacent properties.

2. Shotgun Ranges. Trap ranges shall have a shotfall zone on property under control of the applicant as established by a line which extends 50 yards to the right and 50 yards to the left of, and perpendicular to, the centerline of the trap house. From each end of said line, boundary lines having interior angles of 130 degrees shall extend down range for 300 yards, as depicted on Drawing No. 64a of the Range Manual. Skeet ranges shall have shotfall zones on property under control of the applicant which are a complete semi-circle with its center point located at the center point of station 8 and a radius of the semi-circle being 300 yards, as depicted on Drawing No. 70 of the Range Manual. Shotfall zones for crazy quail, sporting clays or other shotgun firing ranges shall be determined on a case-by-case basis.

B. Security. The entire perimeter of all public outdoor shooting range safety fans and shotfall zones shall be fenced and signed to reduce the potential for trespass into the safety fans and shotfall zones. Warning signs identifying the range shall be posted around the perimeter of the parcel or parcels on which the shooting range is located such that each sign is visible and legible from the next. The same signs shall be posted similarly on the security fencing surrounding the safety fan(s).

C. Parking. At a minimum, there shall be one and one-half parking places for each firing position.

D. Noise. Notwithstanding the provision of WAC 173-060-050(1)(b), all firing line locations shall be located such that the sound levels generated by the discharge of firearms on the range do not exceed a 90 dB peak impulse response at the property line. The burden of proof that the proposed range will meet this standard shall rest with the applicant. All noise studies shall be performed by a professional engineer registered in the State of Washington or by a person with a degree in a discipline related to acoustics.

E. Range Orientation. All firing lines should be aimed at target lines to the northeast, north or northwest unless there is sufficient standing timber or natural topographic features on the property controlled by the range operator to mitigate the effects of glare from the sun.

F. Drainage and Erosion Control. The range and associated facilities shall be designed to keep storm runoff from the range site at a volume and velocity no greater than what existed prior to range development. Appropriate erosion control measures shall be designed and installed to maintain the water quality of the storm runoff from the range to predevelopment levels.

G. All backstops shall have sufficient depth of sand or other similar soft earthen material that is free of rocks, stones and other hard objects that may result in bullet ricochets. All manmade berms shall be vegetated to reduce the potential for erosion. A manmade, mechanical backstop may be substituted upon approval of the planning commission. All backstops and berms shall be maintained to perform their intended functions.

H. Firing ranges shall be developed such that there are no streams, ponds, lakes, or other watercourses or wetlands located between any firing line and target line or within any shotgun shotfall zone. [Ord. 96-076, § 6, 5-6-96.]

10.22.070 Application – Required information.

In addition to the general information required by CCC 18.10.285, the following information is required for a special use permit application for a public outdoor shooting range:

A. An assessor’s map of the subject property;

B. The types of firearms, ammunition and shooting to be allowed, such as trap, skeet, muzzle loader, high power rifle, small bore rifle, pistol, action pistol, etc.;

C. A site plan drawn to scale illustrating the items listed below. The site plan shall be drawn at a scale not smaller than one inch equals 200 feet, and not larger than one inch equals 50 feet:

1. The property lines of the parcel(s) on which the firing range(s) are to be developed,

2. For rifle and pistol ranges, the safety fan and its component parts with dimensions for all firing ranges; for shotgun firing ranges, the component parts and dimensions of the shotfall zones,

3. All existing and proposed structures on the range, labeled for their intended use,

4. The location and dimensions of all firing lines and firing positions,

5. The location and dimensions of all target lines and related facilities,

6. The locations, dimensions and slope of all backstops and side berms, whether natural or manmade; the volume, material and source of all imported materials shall be noted,

7. The locations and dimensions of all baffles; horizontal drawings of the baffles shall be included, and building materials shall be identified,

8. The location and dimensions of all walkways,

9. All screening, landscaping and fencing,

10. The location of all utilities, including but not limited to electrical, potable water, wastewater disposal, and drainage ways, both natural and artificial,

11. The location of all lighting facilities,

12. The location of all roads, driveways, and parking facilities, including the number of parking spaces,

13. The location of all streams, watercourses, and wetlands on the property;

D. For rifle and pistol ranges only, longitudinal cross-sections of that portion of each firing range from 10 feet behind each firing line to 10 feet beyond the downrange terminus of each direct fire zone, 10 feet beyond the back toe of each backstop if manmade, or if natural, 20 feet beyond the front edge of the backstop, as applicable; and latitudinal cross-sections, from 10 feet outside any side berms or the edge of each safety fan, of typical areas between each firing line and backstop or downrange terminus of the direct fire zone;

E. A list of all property owners within 2,640 feet of the perimeter of the property on which the public outdoor shooting range is proposed for development;

F. The land uses of all properties abutting the shooting range property;

G. Other information deemed appropriate by the Director. [Ord. 96-076, § 7, 5-6-96.]

10.22.080 Inspections.

No public outdoor shooting range shall commence operations until the range has been inspected and approved by the Director or his/her designee to ensure that the facilities and development of the range conform with the special use permit issued. The Director or designee shall inform the applicant, in writing, within 10 days of his/her inspection, whether the public outdoor shooting range meets the requirements of the permit; any deficiencies shall also be noted and operations shall not commence until they have been corrected and the site re-inspected and approved. [Ord. 96-076, § 8, 5-6-96.]

10.22.090 Penalties – Violations.

It is a civil infraction for any person to violate this chapter or assist in the violation of this chapter. Violations are subject to the provisions of Chapter 2.06 CCC, Civil Enforcement Code. Any violation is a public nuisance. Each day a violation exists is a separate violation. Payment of any penalty imposed for a violation does not relieve a person from the duty to comply with this chapter. [Ord. 96-076, § 9, 5-6-96.]

10.22.100 Fees.

Fees for administering the provisions of this chapter shall be as set from time to time by the Board. [Ord. 96-076, § 10, 5-6-96.]

10.22.110 Liability for damages.

The ordinance codified in this chapter shall not be construed to hold the County of Cowlitz, or any officer or employee thereof, responsible for any damages to persons or property by reason of the certification, inspection or noninspection of any building, equipment or property as herein authorized. [Ord. 96-076, § 12, 5-6-96.]

10.22.120 Severability.

Should any section, clause, or provision of the ordinance codified in this chapter or any code adopted hereby be declared by a court to be invalid, the same shall not affect the validity of the remainder, either in whole or in part. [Ord. 96-076, § 13, 5-6-96.]

10.22.130 Effective date.

The ordinance codified in this chapter shall become effective July 5, 1996. [Ord. 96-076, § 13, 5-6-96.]