Councilman wants to ban gunfire in city

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Evans says ricocheting ammo poses danger

By Meaghan Downs

Past complaints of broken headlights and windows triggered city council member Ken Evans to propose an ordinance regulating the discharge of firearms in the city of Lawrenceburg.
Evans said he was surprised to learn the Lawrenceburg didn’t already have an ordinance to that effect, and that the police department thought
“There’s no ordinance prohibiting that, and I don’t think that should be happening in this town,” Evans said at Monday’s night council meeting.
Evans said in his years sitting on the council, he’s heard several complaints from residents who found broken windows and headlights, allegedly because of ricocheted stray pellets or ammunition.
“Well, if it’ll break a window or a headlight out of a vehicle, it’ll put somebody’s eye out,” Evans said, “I believe it’s time we had an ordinance on discharging a firearm in the city.”
Anderson County Attorney Bobbi Jo Lewis said to her knowledge, no Lawrenceburg city ordinance currently exists that prevents a resident from discharging a firearm within city limits.
According to the Kentucky League of Cities, a city like Lawrenceburg does possess the power to enact an ordinance regulating the discharge of firearms within city limits.
The city council is, however, prohibited from establishing ordinances that limit the possession, purchase and sale, transfer, taxation, ownership and carrying of firearms in the city, according to state statute.  
Council member Thomas Vaughn asked during discussion if there was already a criminal charge that would be brought against someone who discharged a firearm in the city’s limits.
According to Police Chief Chris Atkins, certain circumstances — such as the type of firearm and who or what is the shooter’s target — would determine if someone could be or would be charged with wanton endangerment for discharging a firearm.
The only instances Atkins said he’s known of firearms being discharged within city limits is toward vicious dogs, to injure animals or scare starlings out of trees. He said he also knows of people who have used a .22 to rid their yards of moles.
Nine times out of 10, Atkins said, the police department will get a call about someone hearing a gun shot, but once dispatched to the area, officers can’t find anything or anyone.
City council member Sandy Goodlett, presiding over the council meeting in the stead of the out-of-town Mayor Edwinna Baker, suggested the council bring the issue before the public safety committee, including the city attorney, mayor, city clerk and local law enforcement.
No date was set for the public safety committee meeting as of Monday night, and no discussion was held as to what type of firearm discharge would be prohibited in the new city ordinance.

Business owner believes parking signs limit downtown activity
Brad Gordon, owner of Court Street Music on Court Street, spoke before the council about his concerns regarding new, one-hour reserved parking signs posted at the Court Street parking spaces near his business.
The public works committee met in late February and approved new reserved parking signs on Court Street to address another business owner’s concern about lack of available parking for her store.
For him, Gordon said, the parking problem isn’t too much activity on Court Street. It’s the potential for the parking signs to limit how long Court Street customers, as well as tourists coming to Lawrenceburg, will linger in the city’s downtown and on Court Street.
Spending more money on installing more parking signs isn’t addressing the downtown’s parking issue, Gordon said.
“To me, it’s more about the downtown and how we’re going to get growth,” Gordon said.
If courthouse activity was removed from the equation, Gordon said, there are really only three or four businesses affected by the 60-minute signs.
If there are going to be signs, Gordon said, he’d like to see that time for parking on Court Street extended to two hours or have the parking signs removed altogether.
“I’d hate to tell somebody, you’d better move along to Bardstown or Danville,” Gordon said.
Durr, chairman of the council’s public works committee, said his concern was that without limiting the parking on Court Street, drivers who aren’t going to Court Street businesses could park there for as long as 12 hours a day.
But Gordon said that was a separate parking issue, mostly having to do with those using the courthouse.
Durr said, during the public works committee report to the council, that the public works committee will mostly likely meet again to address these new concerns over Court Street parking.
“Since then, we’ve learned they’re not satisfied with an hour,” Durr said of the signs.

Homeowner addresses council about water run off from Twelve Oaks
Resident Jane Scott Bentley, who resides at 400 Gailane Street, said she has been battling with a water problem on her property for the past three years.
“I had the greenest grass you’d ever seen, because I had the moat,” Scott Bentley said of the condition of her property this summer. “I don’t have a drawbridge, but I have a moat.”
She requested that somebody could come from the city to see about the water running into her yard from the Twelve Oaks subdivision, and see if something could be done.
“It’s a real concern,” she said.

Other business
Anderson County EMS will now be running three full-time ambulances day and night, according to Fire Chief Bobby Hume, reporting for Public Safety Director Bart Powell on Monday night.
The Wild Turkey water tank is full of water and waiting on the installation of a SCATA system, Public Works Director Larry Hazlett said, and the water tank’s logo would be fixed on the tank sometime in April or May, weather-permitting.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) director Shirley Elkin also made a presentation to the city council about the group’s history and current service.
CASA, which appoints adults to speak on the behalf of children involved in the court system, currently serves about 112 children in both Anderson and Franklin counties.