Shooting range rules move ahead

SALEM – City council held second reading on four ordinances related to proposed indoor shooting ranges, with at least two of the ordinances now headed to the city Planning Commission for further discussion.

The Rules and Ordinances Committee of city council has been discussing the idea of commercial indoor shooting ranges and private residential indoor shooting ranges since last summer. Council held first reading on the proposed ordinances earlier this month.

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 explain the specifications for building an indoor shooting range, referring to standards set in The Range Source Book by the National Rifle Association, with sections dealing with containment, sound control, ventilation, filtering systems and permit requirement. Private residential shooting ranges will have the same rules in addition to being permitted only below ground.

In other business, Mayor John Berlin reported that he attended a recent Design Review Board meeting regarding light pole banners to be paid for and designed by the non-profit group known as Salem Renaissance.

“I want to personally thank Salem Renaissance and their artist on behalf of the city, my office and the Design Review Board,” he said, offering appreciation for the group for its efforts to replace the current downtown banners, which were also paid for by Salem Renaissance.

Berlin explained that the group secured funding, discussed design options and developed a prototype for the banners. He said since the banners “directly contribute to our city’s image and downtown development program,” he asked the DRB to give input on the design to ensure it supports the city’s ongoing economic development and preservation agendas. He said he’s looking forward to reviewing the final design incorporating suggested changes.

Council also approved two resolutions, with one to further spell out that revenue received from occupancy licenses will be used exclusively in the housing inspector fund. The other resolution honored the dedication of Ken Schrom, a longtime member of the Salem Parks Commission who served from June 1997 to January 2014. Many of the council members offered Schrom their thanks for his service.

Treasurer John Conrad noted that it was tax day and that anyone who placed their taxes in a drop box near the police department by Tuesday night wouldn’t have to pay a late fee or penalty. If they didn’t file until today or later, they can expect the extra fees.

Councilman Clyde Brown offered thanks to the many people he said called him at home after what transpired at the last council meeting, referring to his questions regarding emails dealing with an alleged violation by a local business. He also thanked the mayor for an email he received, believing that he did not receive the mayor’s replies. He also asked city Law Director Brooke Zellers about an email he sent to him, with Zellers saying he thought he had replied. Brown also asked city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst to attend a meeting he was having with the mayor next week.

Council President K. Bret Apple asked that residents support a benefit pasta dinner for the late Denise Weingart, who had served as juvenile prosecutor for the Columbiana County Prosecutor’s Office and recently lost her battle with cancer. Plans had originally called for the funds to help defray her medical expenses, but now the money will be donated to the Big Back Yard events held at First Presbyterian Church on Second Street. Weingart was one of the founders of the Big Back Yard program. The pasta dinner will be held at 6 p.m. May 9 at First Presbyterian Church.

The following meetings were announced: Utilities Commission, 4 p.m. Thursday, second floor meeting room, utilities department; Rules & Ordinances Committee, 6:30 p.m. April 22, regarding occupancy permit language and a shale oil ordinance; and a meeting for Third Ward residents with Councilman Rick Drummond, 1 p.m. May 3, council chambers.

Council also agreed to move its first meeting in May from Tuesday, May 6, to Wednesday, May 7, due to Election Day. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. May 7.

Near the end of the meeting, council entered into executive session at Zellers’ request for pending litigation, with no action to be taken.