Hartland Township Responds to Worries Over Hunting Near Elementary School
Hartland Planning Director says preserve owners "have taken all necessary precautions to protect the well-being of all adjacent properties, including the school."
After investigating concerns raised by some residents regarding a local game preserve that borders a Hartland elementary school, officials at Hartland Township say they are “satisfied that the Variety Farms Game Preserve is operating in a manner that satisfies all state and township laws and standards,” according to document from the Hartland Township Planning Department.
The Variety Farms Game Preserve, located on Dunham Road, was brought to the attention of township officials after they received some concerns regarding the sound of gunfire in the vicinity of Round Elementary School.
On Wednesday, Channel 7, WXYZ reported the story, interviewing game preserve owner Terrah Bulloch.
“I am a mom, and I have two kids at Round Elementary,” Bulloch said in her interview. “We make sure it is safe.”
Hartland Township Planning Director Dave Campbell agrees according to a report from the township.
"While we can certainly appreciate concerns over the sound of gunfire in proximity to an elementary school, we have determined that the game preserve is a permitted use with a valid license from the state and that its owners have taken all necessary precautions to protect the well-being of all adjacent properties, including the school," Campbell wrote in the document.
Terrah Bulloch and her husband John told the township that all hunters are provided with maps and given instructions on boundaries within the preserve, depending on if the school is in session that day or not.
State law requires hunters to keep a distance of at least 150 yards from any occupied buildings.
On non-school days, hunters are allowed to venture further north, closer to the school, but not beyond a boundary marked by signs and an area that is kept mowed, the Bullochs said.
The current business licenses, approved by the Michigan Deptartment of Natural Resources (MDNR), were also reviewed although records from the township indicated the preserve had never been issued any local approvals.
Campbell investigated the fact that Variety Farms Game Preserve is designated as a special land use in certain zoning districts based on a change to the Township Zoning Ordinance from 2012.
“Since Variety Farms Game Preserve has been in business since 2002, it is allowed to remain as a permitted use and does not require a special land use permit so long as it continues to operate in its existing manner,” Campbell stated in the document.