After hearing the concerns of a Plumey Road resident, the Lake Township trustees and police chief will ask the Wood County prosecutor’s office for more guidance in how far the township can go in limiting the operations of shooting ranges on private property.
Andy Lodzinski told the trustees Tuesday he was worried about the safety of a private range near his home.
He said he could hear what sounded like assault rifles being fired and questioned whether the range had an adequate back-stop barricade for such automatic weapons.
“It’s way out of control,” he said, adding the township needs to “come up with some type of solution.”
He noted a resident would need to secure a building permit for the construction of a home but there is scant regulation for the private ranges.
He said he’s constructed a ball field on his property where his grandchildren play but fears they may be in danger while the range is in use.
“My problem isn’t with hunters,” Lodzinski said.
Police chief Mark Hummer said officers have responded to complaints about shooting ranges in the township but are severely limited in what they can do.
“If we can prove recklessness we’ll file charges,” the chief said.
Officers responded to a complaint involving a range on Lemoyne Road about two months ago, he said, and had to assess the situation, weighing whether the facility was adequate for the amount of shooting at that time.
The officer decided that particular situation was adequately safe.
“Therein lies the problem,” the chief said, “It has to be done on a case by case basis. The officer has to make a determination of each situation at that time. We’re still in a township and it’s not necessarily against the law to discharge a firearm.”
Richard Welling, a township trustee, said the board of trustees several years ago attempted to set tighter regulations for shooting ranges when the board was updating its zoning resolution.
However, the board’s efforts were halted after the county prosecutor’s office warned that state and federal regulations trump township zoning law.
“We wanted to impose requirements but were warned we couldn’t set limits,” Welling said.
Tom Hays, township solicitor, described the township’s situation as “one of the thorniest legal issues.”
Insurance contract approved
The trustees unanimously approved an agreement for employee health insurance coverage with Medical Mutual for $18,503 per month – a 3 percent increase from the current rate.
The trustees also met in executive session for 45 minutes to discuss an expiring contract with unionized members of the police department but took no action.