On Sunday, members of the Oine, Russell Union, and Burchette communities met to discuss the health and safety effects of a proposed military-style shooting range in their community.

Last fall, our community sounded like a war zone as the repetitive sound of assault rifle explosions tore apart our peace all day long. Citizens called the sheriff’s office and the Planning and Zoning office, which then informed the property owner,who had purchased the land for his hunt club, that he would have to obtain a Conditional Use Permit in order to operate a commercial business on land zoned agricultural/residential.  

At the meeting, a representative of the Warren County Sheriff’s office claimed that the law cannot stop the shooting range, but the opposite is true.  According to the county Noise Ordinance, Sec. 7 A. (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or allow the emission of any unreasonable loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise in the county. Specifically, it shall be unlawful to create or emit noise of the character, intensity or duration as to be detrimental to the health of any individual or that is above the sound emission decibel limits set forth herein.

Sec. 7 D. states “nuisance noises or unreasonably loud, disturbing and annoying or unnecessary noise....shall be be unlawful” including, 11. Explosives: The firing of explosives, firearms or similar devices which create impulsive sound.”

Sec. 4, details how decibel readings are to be conducted, and Sec. 5, defines sound emissions limitations. Agricultural/residential zoned districts are limited to 60 decibels of noise during the day and 55 decibels at night. The noise from gunfire can reach 165 decibels.

Citizens have the legal right to be protected from cross-border noise pollution, and county officials have the responsibility to enforce the current ordinance.

Finally, county officials need to reconvene the Noise Ordinance Task Force which was tasked with addressing problems with the Noise/High Impact Land Use Ordinance. Commissioners cannot wait until litigation is resolved, but must proactively act to protect Warren County before more cross-border noise and other land use pollution invades still another community.