County eyes limits on target shooting

Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat /

Calaveras County supervisors asked Tuesday for a chance to review possible code amendments to limit time of day and noise allowed in a target shooting ordinance at the Oct. 23 board meeting.

Target shooting was effectively exempted from a noise ordinance approved unanimously this month. The noise law, which goes into effect Oct. 25, refers regulation of such shooting to a separate section of the "Public Peace, Morals and Welfare" section of the code.

Supervisors Merita Callaway, Tom Tryon and Gary Tofanelli asked the Calaveras County Sheriff's Department to come back next month with proposals for limits on both decibel levels for shooting and hours in which the activity will be allowed.

Supervisors Darren Spellman and Steve Wilensky had asked that only the time limit be reviewed.

"I think what we've talked about before was time limits," Spellman said. "You don't want people shooting in the hours when people most likely would be sleeping."

Wilensky said decibel limits are probably unworkable and that shooting ranges "are inherently noisy."

He said land use planning can best reduce friction caused by shooting, with ranges kept away from residential zones, and time limitations are best when proximity is unavoidable.

County Planning Director Rebecca Willis said that unlike the noise ordinance, shooting is not her department's area of expertise and asked if the Sheriff's Department will lead the code review. She said notice of the potential code change will be published and considerable public input should be expected.

Sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo said the department will take the lead and that he recognizes it is important any restrictions offered are "appropriate" and "reasonable."

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The Union Democrat
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