Indoor shooting regulations approved

SALEM – Council gave final approval to allow both commercial and private residential indoor shooting ranges in the city, as long as owners follow the stringent guidelines outlined in the ordinances.

The legislation for commercial ranges gained unanimous approval, while the ordinance for private residential ranges passed in a 6 -1 vote, with Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey casting the lone no vote after nearly a year of discussion.

“My constituents do not support it,’ she said when asked why she voted against residential ranges.

She heard no complaints about the idea of commercial indoor shooting ranges, but said everybody coming up to her was against private residential indoor shooting ranges.

“Our residential areas are our peace and quiet,” she said.

As chairman of the Rules & Ordinances Committee, Dickey had to introduce the ordinances and bring them up for second and third readings, so she was the one to introduce amendments to the two ordinances creating the commercial and private residential indoor shooting ranges. All council members voted in favor of the amendments made Tuesday.

One amendment added a requirement for applicants to pay any costs the city incurs for plan reviews for the construction, modification or restoration of an indoor shooting range. Other amendments changed the language to require notification in writing of a denial of a permit for a shooting range and to direct any appeal of a denial to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Council also gave final approval to an ordinance noting the rule against the discharge of weapons in the city won’t apply to indoor shooting ranges. A fourth ordinance approved allows an indoor shooting range as a permitted use in a commercial zone.

The ordinances to allow shooting ranges included 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 requirements. Private residential shooting ranges will have the same rules in addition to being permitted only below ground.

Councilman Rick Drummond, who’s still a member of the Rules & Ordinances Committee and served as chairman last year, first brought the idea to the committee last June after a resident asked about building an indoor shooting range. Drummond also suggested they look at allowing commercial ventures as well. The committee had several meetings related to the ideas.

There was no discussion on any of the four related ordinances before the final votes were taken. Council had already had first and second readings.

One resident present during the meeting, Scott Cahill, said he favored allowing both the commercial and residential indoor shooting ranges.

Dickey said they’ll now need to clean up some language in a few other ordinances as a result of passing the legislation for shooting ranges.