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County plans to settle with gun club
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The nearly five-year saga over a controversial gun club, a dispute that has cost the county thousands of dollars in legal fees, could soon come to an end.

Last week, Dawson County commissioners said they anticipate settling the lawsuit with Richard Becker, owner of Etowah Valley Sporting Clays, as early as next month.

In 2005, Becker signed an agreement with the county to lease 150 acres on Hwy. 9 and open the facility.

A year later, after numerous complaints, the commission attempted to terminate the lease, sparking the lawsuit.

Joey Homans, attorney for the commission, said the county and Becker's attorney seem to be in agreement after many months of negotiations.

According to Homans, Becker would receive a $275,000 settlement that includes $150,000 he must use for noise abatement measures.

Those measures would be determined by a sound study, for which the sides would split the cost.

Becker's attorney, George Butler, on Friday described the proposed settlement as fair for all involved, including the residents who live near the gun club.

"In all the discussions between Etowah Valley Sporting Clays Park and Dawson County, the paramount consideration has been and continues to be addressing the concerns of the neighbors," Butler said.

Commissioner Gary Pichon agreed.

"The issue of the lawsuit has been going on for more than five years, and it appears to us this is the cheapest way out, and maybe it will give the people living over near the club some peace," he said.

The commission is expected to vote on the settlement offer July 7 in the G.L. Pete Gilleland Chamber at city hall. The meeting begins at 6 p.m.