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Time for some new County commissioners

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Time for some new County commissioners

by Tim Nunan on Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:04 am

 

http://www.citizentribune.com/news/view ... icle=10160

 

Open range? Commissioners express concern over outdoor shooting ranges

By Bobbie Young, Tribune Staff Writer

 

Hamblen County commissioners approved strict limits on shooting ranges Monday and may make them even stricter, particularly for outdoor ranges.

 

"I'd like to do away with outdoor ranges completely," said Herbert Harville, chair of the County Commission’s Public Service Committee.

 

The committee voted unanimously to send proposed regulations to the full commission for approval at next week’s meeting.

 

The county currently has no regulations governing commercial shooting ranges and one recently opened in the county, upsetting some neighbors.

 

Some action is necessary and soon, Commissioner Dennis Alvis said.

 

"I'll bet Grainger County wishes they'd done something before this canned hunt thing came up," he said.

 

A property owner in Grainger County has imported exotic animals such as zebra and watusi to be hunted on 60 acres of property.

 

The regulations coming from the County Planning Commission would have allowed outdoor ranges on any property zoned A-1 or agricultural but indoor ranges only in commercial zones. That just didn't make sense, Commissioner Paul LeBel said.

 

"Any commercial business should be in commercial zoning," he said.

 

Under the regulations from the Planning Commission, an outdoor range would have to be located on a minimum of 10 acres and surrounded on all sides by agricultural zoning. The minimum distance from the firing stations to adjacent property lines would have to be 1,000 feet on the front and sides and 500 feet on the rear of the property.

 

An outdoor range could be no closer than a mile from existing schools, churches, nursing homes or childcare facilities.

 

LeBel moved that any outdoor range would also have to be located on property zoned for commercial use.

 

The regulations from the Planning Commission would also have allowed an outdoor range to open at 30 minutes after official sunrise and close 30 minutes before official sunset.

 

"That’s just stupid," LeBel said. "We could have people shooting off guns outside from 6:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night."

 

He moved that operation of outdoor ranges be limited to no earlier than 11 a.m. and no later than 4 p.m. Alvis quickly seconded the motion.

 

LeBel, like Harville, doesn't like the idea of outdoor ranges.

 

He asked County Mayor David Purkey, "As a former law enforcement professional, which is safer? Indoor ranges or outdoor?"

 

"Indoor," Purkey answered.

 

The committee voted to amend the proposed regulations with LeBel’s suggestions, limiting the hours of operation and requiring commercial zoning for all shooting ranges. Commissioners also asked County Attorney Rusty Cantwell to research the issue and let them know if they can outlaw outdoor ranges entirely.

 

The proposed regulations apply only to commercial enterprises and would not affect fundraising activities such as turkey shoots or private hunting.

 

"You can shoot as many rabbits as you want," Harville told one concerned citizen Monday.

 

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Isn't that nice... Harville will still let us shoot rabbits; but no outdoor ranges. This action is all because Mr. Greene (see our August meeting speaker) applied to open a range.

 

Tim is a lifetie member of NRA and TFA and a current member of GOA

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