Zoning proposal aims to limit shooting ranges in Wellington Township

By Kelsey Leyva - kleyva@civitasmedia.com

Persisting concerns that a shooting range will pop up in Wellington Township have led a group to propose four changes to the zoning resolution.

The Wellington Township Citizens Group sent its proposed changes to township trustees at the beginning of October after seeking help from attorney Mark Craig.

They will meet with the township zoning commission Wednesday to go over the proposed provisions.

Fears of a firing range stirred back in May when the Amherst Sportsman Club purchased a 52-acre stretch along Pitts Road.

Club members have said publicly several times that they have no intent to build a shooting range, but Steve Majesky of the citizens group said he doesn’t want to take any chances. “We’re taking a proactive approach at our own expense,” he said.

Majesky said the group has nothing against the sportsman club. The group’s main concern is about firing ranges.

“The Wellington Township zoning commission hasn’t addressed it,” he said. “Our changes make it crystal clear of where it’s appropriate to have a shooting range.”

And in the citizens group’s eyes the appropriate area is a light industrial district.

Majesky said the noise generated by a shooting range would be more suited to an industrial area rather than residential. It would also keep residents safe from stray bullets or the possibility of lead poisoning.

The group is also concerned about property values.

Majesky said the value of people’s homes would drop if they had a firing range in their backyard.

The first suggested provision adds the definitions for commercial hunting, hunting, and shooting range to the zoning resolution.

Commercial hunting is defined as more than six people hunting on the same plot of land on the same day.

The sportsman club said previously that no more than six people would hunt on the 52-acre plot at one time and Majesky said his group is trying to hold it to that.

“We’re not after hunters in Wellington Township,” he said. “We have members who hunt on their property or with a neighbor on his property.”

Other proposed changes include prohibiting commercial hunting and hunting preserves in any district in Wellington Township and prohibiting shooting ranges in agricultural residential, low-density residential, highway business, flood plain, and mobile home park districts.

The citizens group’s proposal would also require a conditional use permit before a shooting range can be built in the light industrial area.

“We proposed some changes that we believe will protect all of Wellington Township,” Majesky said.

Township zoning inspector Bill Brown said most of the suggestions seem fairly reasonable.

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.

By Kelsey Leyva