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Nevada County supervisors restrict ‘nuisance’ shooting on private property

Spurred by complaints from homeowners in Supervisor Hank Weston’s district, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to amend a county ordinance to restrict “nuisance” shooting on private property.

Weston proposed the changes back in September, saying that over the years he has received numerous complaints about the discharge of firearms in residential areas. According to Weston, the complaints have included continuous shooting for long hours, sometimes all day, as well as shooting too close to neighboring residences with bullets landing on neighboring properties.

The board first discussed the proposal at its Sept. 25 meeting, and directed staff to come back with “reasonable regulations to mitigate nuisance impacts.”

Specifically, staff was asked to include recommendations on the distance of shooting near neighboring dwellings and residences, allowable times for shooting, restrictions on continuous shooting, restrictions on shooting near schools, and restrictions for shooting on Red Flag Warning Days to prevent wildfire.

On Tuesday, Administrative Analyst Jeffrey Thorsby detailed the changes made by his staff to the current ordinance.

The amendments will prohibit shooting on parcels zoned R-1, R-2 and R-3, as well as RA parcels of less than 5 acres, and will prohibit shooting altogether between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. other than allowed by federal and state law. The ordinance now will increase the prohibited distance to 150 yards of any dwelling, building or barn, unless it is on land that you own or where you are an invited guest. Shooting will be prohibited within 1,000 feet of any school grounds, public or private, and during any Red Flag Warning. A two-hour break will be required after two hours of continuous shooting.

Thorsby noted the ordinance does not apply to law enforcement activities, to hunting, to the slaughter of farm animals or to self-defense.

After some discussion by the supervisors, an amendment was added to prohibit shooting within 1,000 feet of a public park.

“The population (of Nevada County) has changed,” said Supervisor Dan Miller. “This gives us the opportunity to address those changes.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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