Council advances indoor shooting rules

City council held first reading on four ordinances related to legislation to allow indoor shooting ranges, but city Law Director Brooke Zellers said amendments may be required before any votes are taken.

Zellers made the comment after the meeting Tuesday night, when four pieces of legislation were introduced, with one ordinance for commercial indoor shooting ranges and one for private residential.

He said at least two of the four proposed ordinances will have to come before the Planning Commission since they involve changes to the zoning code.

The Rules & Ordinances Committee has been discussing and debating the idea of indoor shooting ranges since last summer. Councilman Rick Drummond, a member of the committee, said he received a request from a resident who’s interested in having a private indoor shooting range.

Besides the two ordinances to create the shooting ranges, there’s a proposed ordinance noting the rule against the discharge of weapons in the city won’t apply to indoor shooting ranges. There’s also a proposed ordinance to allow an indoor shooting range as a permitted use in a commercial zone.

The proposed rules spell out stringent specifications for building an indoor shooting range, referring to standards set in The Range Source Book by the National Rifle Association. Plans must be prepared by a professional engineer or architect licensed by the state of Ohio. Much of the focus is on containment to keep bullets from leaving the range in any way, along with sound control, ventilation and filtering systems and permit requirements. Private residential facilities will have to follow the same specific rules in addition to only being permitted below ground.

In other business, Councilman Clyde Brown questioned Mayor John Berlin about some emails he said he sent to city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst regarding an alleged violation to amendments for what’s permitted in an M-2 zoning district. He said he sent a photo of the alleged violation and emailed Berlin and asked him to ask the law director to file an injunction, but had not heard back.

Berlin asked Brown to come to his office to discuss the matter, but Brown said he would rather have the answer now. Council President K. Bret Apple interjected that the mayor isn’t required to answer now and has offered to meet with Brown in his office. Berlin added that Brown can call him anytime he wants.

Brown indicated if he can’t do it in public, he’s not going to Berlin’s office.

Later, when asked for the report of the Utilities Committee, which he chairs, Brown commented that if he owes the mayor an apology, he was apologizing.

“I have a lot of concern for what’s going on in my ward,” Brown said. “I have a problem that needs addressed.”

He said he spoke with Planning and Zoning Officer Patrick Morrissey about doing an inspection at the site in question, but learned he had not had time available yet.

During Pleasure of Council at the end of the meeting, Brown said,”If I’ve embarrassed my fellow council members, I apologize.”

After the meeting, Kenst was asked about the alleged violation and said it related to cars at a recycling business on West Pershing Street. Both he and Berlin said responses were sent to Brown shortly after the emails were received. Brown has made claims previously about alleged violations at the business, but both Morrissey and Zellers said at the time the business was in compliance.

The following council committee meetings were announced:

– Finance, 6 p.m. April 15, council chambers city hall

– Rules and Ordinances, 6:30 p.m. April 22, council chambers city hall, regarding shale oil/drilling monitoring regulations and rule regarding occupancy permits.

The next meeting of city council is 7 p.m. April 15.