Supervisor abruptly quits during meeting

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Supervisor Ray Gremminger’s complaint about firing guns in residential neighborhoods escalated into his abrupt resignation from the Town Board Tuesday.

During the public input portion of the meeting, Gremminger related that he had been contacted by constituents about a Riverview Court resident firing guns in his backyard July 3.

“The Sheriff’s Department got involved and said he (the resident) was doing what he was supposed to do,” as far as firing safely, Gremminger said.

When questioned at that time, Gremminger told the deputy he did not know if the town had an ordinance against discharging firearms in a residential area.

Since then, Gremminger continued, he found that a 1986 ordinance forbids firing guns in any of the town’s subdivisions – which would not apply on Riverview Court.

He also noted that the penalty is a fine of $20 to $200.

“A $20 fine, what the hell’s that? In 2013, that’s garby bage,” Gremminger stated. “(The ordinance) says subdivision, it doesn’t have anything that says if it is zoned residential.”

Gremminger charged that a stray rifle shot could travel up to a mile and claimed that could present a danger to town residents.

“If it does hurt someone or someone gets killed with reckless firing, there’s going to be hell to pay. I’m going to stay after this. We’ve got to get this set up,” Gremminger vowed.

Just moments later, however, before anyone other board members spoke on the issue, Gremminger got up and left the room, saying he was resigning from the board.

“As of tonight, this is my last Town Board meeting. I resign,” Gremminger said as he left the Town Hall.

The resident in the original incident, Jeff Steiner, told the board he shoots round “every other week, maybe twice a month” in the back yard of his three-acre property, typically a handgun, into a target set up on a berm and away from other residences.

Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Krogstad, the department’s representative to the town and the board, presented a copy of the town of Sheboygan ordinance regulating shooting firearms, which requires permits and sets a minimum lot size for firing guns.

That ordinance, he noted, has been in place for many years and has worked effectively in the town of Sheboygan, which like the town of Plymouth has a number of subdivisions and residential areas.

“This is kind of a gray area,” Town Chairman Jim Lubach said of the issue.

Several supervisors and audience members noted that extending the ban on firing to any property zoned residential would affect a much larger area of the township rather than just platted subdivisions.

“A permit might be a good idea,” Steiner allowed. He added that his shooting area has been inspected to ensure it is a safe shooting area.

“Can there be accidents? Sure, but they can happen anywhere,” Krogstad noted.

“They can happen during deer hunting,” Lubach added.

The remaining board members agreed to review the town of Sheboygan ordinance to see if it could be adapted for the town of Plymouth.

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