The long-awaited public hearing on a proposed ordinance for commercial shooting facilities has come and gone.
At least part one.
Jefferson County Commissioners have been telling the public they would take input and then regulate current and future shooting facilities.
This caught the attention of a number of Jefferson County residents as roughly 300 people attended the meeting at the courthouse.
Commissioners were able to hear many opinions, but not from everyone who wanted to speak, due to the volume of people in attendance.
After several hours of public discourse, the commissioners recessed the hearing, setting a continuance for Oct. 4.
Leading up to the hearing, we heard claims that certain groups are trying to stop shooting range facilities from entering Jefferson County, while regulating the ones already in our community.
We also heard from people opposing the new ordinance because they believe that high prices for permits will lead to the end of our current shooting ranges.
There did not seem to be a middle ground - only for or against the ordinance.
After Monday’s hearing, it became clear that a handful of individuals want to work together to find common ground that will allow the facilities to continue to operate, while addressing the community’s concerns.
It’s refreshing to see people and organizations, with strong stances on a topic, calmly talk about compromise.
However, that could all come tumbling down if those wanting and trying to be heard are not fully listened to because of a time crunch.
The Jefferson County Commissioners seem to be pushing the ordinance through, relatively quickly.
The meeting was originally set to be held in September.
But after a public notice announcing the hearing failed to be published 20 days prior to the hearing (The Leader dropped the ball on that), commissioners had to postpone the hearing until Oct. 1.
Commissioners even spoke on the record about it being a good idea to slow down the process so it is done right the first time around.
So, why speed it back up?
Your commissioners are only excepting comments until 4:30 p.m. Oct. 5.
We urge the commissioners to take their time. This is a big topic that the citizenry wants to be a part of and they are speaking loudly.
Let us work together to find those things on which we agree and then pass an ordinance.