Bartow County officials are seeking text amendments to the local zoning ordinance code that would create new requirements for the community’s outdoor firing ranges.
Two proposed amendments set to go before the Bartow County Planning Commission on Monday evening would require both proposed and currently existing outdoor firing ranges to limit their services to members only — while capping the total number of members allowed at such facilities to 50 people.
“This is something that staff has been asked to do for public safety purposes,” said Bartow County Zoning Administrator Richard Osborne.
The ordinance tweaks, Osborne continued, are meant to minimize potential adverse impacts on neighborhoods and properties located in close proximity to firing ranges — particularly, those that could stem from larger-scale operations.
Both outdoor and indoor firing range facilities are allowed in the County’s A-1 agriculture districts, but only with a conditional use permit approved by the commissioner. Osborne noted that the proposed amendments are not applicable to indoor firing range facilities.
“So it’s pretty limited in scope,” he said. “It has nothing to do with an individual’s property — there’s always going to be the right of individuals to have their own private property [and] bear arms and shoot.”
The County’s zoning ordinance indicates that the “foregoing provisions” pertaining to firing ranges are not applicable to either County-owned property or property owned by entities exempt from County zoning, such as the federal government or utilities regulated by the State’s public service commission.
So far, Osborne said he hasn’t heard any opposition from community members about the proposed ordinance changes. Nor has he received any comments from the county’s firing range operators about the text amendments.
The planning commission is also set to hear several other proposed zoning ordinance amendments on Monday, most of which pertain to standards for accessory buildings in residentially-zoned properties.
“There may be cases where, instead of having to go through the whole variance process, it may be that there’s certain cases where it’s appropriate to allow it in certain places,” Osborne said. “It’s something typically geared toward larger lots, where people have 10, 20 acres, something like that — anything they have is not very visible from the road, anyway, so it’s really just a minor correcting, you might say, of the code.”
Members of the Bartow County Planning Commission will vote to recommend approval or denial of the proposed text amendments at a public meeting scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m. at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center, located at 135 West Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville. Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor is set to approve or deny the zoning ordinance changes at a public meeting scheduled for Aug. 5 at 10 a.m. at the same location.