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Gun club dispute is set for court Monday
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More than four years have passed since the Dawson County commission voted to sever a lease with the owner of a sporting clays gun club on the south end of the county.

  

On Monday, the parties are set to appear before Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller, who will determine the legality of ending the contract with Etowah Valley Sporting Clays and how much the county owes for upgrades to the site.

  

George Butler, an attorney for club owner Richard Becker, said he hopes to be able to resolve the issue without a trial.

  

“We’re working with the county to see if there is any room for compromise,” he said.

  

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

  

A year later, after numerous noise complaints by nearby residents, the county terminated the lease, which allowed either party to cancel the contract with 60 days written notice.

  

The lease also required the county to pay Becker for the improvements he made to the property if the operation closed.

  

But Becker is in no hurry to leave Dawson County, according to his attorney.

  

“We think he has a very successful operation here, one that could be more successful if this gray lawsuit was not over him,” Butler said.

  

Butler did add, however, that Becker has been in talks with neighboring Forsyth County about relocating his business.

  

Mike Berg, county commission chairman, said he doesn’t hear complaints about noise from the sporting clays operation as often as he did when it first opened.  

  

“But we still get them,” he said.

  

County attorney Joey Homans said the county is prepared to begin jury selection on Monday for the trial.

  

“We still have a number of motions and issues we hope to address during the week,” he said.

  

Butler said he would also be ready for trial, though he has filed a motion for continuance with the court.

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