Residents upset with skeet shooting noise holding protest

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KIRTLAND, Ohio (WJW) — Local residents are upset about the noise coming from skeet shooting
at a nearby country club.

“They started back about three years ago, a month after we moved into here,” said Bart Williams, resident.

Williams lives on Metcalf Road in Waite Hill, right along the 15th fairway of the Kirtland Country Club in Willoughby.

“The long and short of it is there are hundreds and hundreds of houses tucked around this country club and they are greatly impacted by it,” said Williams.

Williams is among several dozen residents upset about the noise coming from skeet shooting at the country club on the weekends.

“It’s not a couple tournaments a year.  That would probably be okay. But it’s every Saturday and every Sunday from November to the end of March,” said Williams.

The club is technically located in Willoughby, but Williams says shots can be heard in Waite Hill, Kirtland, Kirtland Hills, Willoughby, and Willoughby Hills.

Williams says several years ago, a judge ruled in favor of the club when the city of Willoughby tried to revoke the club’s permit to allow weekend skeet shoots.

Since then, residents have laid low and organized a group called End the Noise to bring awareness to their concerns.

“There has been a big impact on local veterans.  Some of them are struggling with the shotgun shooting, taking them back to a place we can’t even imagine,” said Williams.

They plan to peacefully protest Saturday morning outside the country club.

Organizers say the protest is planned to coincide with a big skeet shooting tournament at the country club.

Fox 8 reached out to the Kirtland Country Club for comment. General Manager Mark Petzing released 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 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.”

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