Leaked ordinance sparks controversy in Langlade County - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Leaked ordinance sparks controversy in Langlade County


Residents in a Langlade County town are fired up after what they say was a threat to their Second Amendment rights.

The Town of Polar chairman says a proposed noise nuisance ordinance the board was working on was leaked.

Thursday night, residents voiced their concerns about it at a town hall meeting.

It was standing room only at the meeting as an anxious crowd waited to hear an explanation from the Town of Polar chairman.

"I want to clear the air on some things that got out in the public," said Bill Walton, Town of Polar chairman, as the meeting began.

A private citizen's ad in the newspaper caught the attention of hundreds in the small Langlade County town. It claimed the board was proposing a noise ordinance that would prohibit loud noises like gun shots.

"Excessive firing, yes," said Walton, responding to questions about the wording in the document.

Walton says he did suggest a noise nuisance ordinance. But he says the one that was leaked was just a working document that the board didn't intend to pass. He also said the board didn't have any way to enforce this kind of ordinance.

"It got out to the public and it just got way banged out of shape here," said Walton.

Still, some residents at the meeting say they were being targeted by the ordinance.

Jonathan Fay is the chairman's neighbor.

"I'm die hard Second Amendment fan. As far as I'm concerned, this is another way for them to take away our freedoms," said Fay.

Fay says a July 4th camp out at his property in 2013 triggered the chairman's idea.

"He did say we shot off 700 rounds that weekend and that might be right but take 700 rounds and divide it by 25 people and that really amounts to a pinch of nothing," said Fay.

The chairman told Newsline 9 his neighbor's shooting is part of the noise problem.

"That was just for the gun fire. The other is dog barking and the other one is tire squealing. I have no clue who are doing that," said Walton.

Other residents are worried a neighborly dispute will impact their right to shoot guns on their property.

"I moved out of the city of Antigo so I could come out here and shoot and teach my grand kids how to shoot safely," said Dave Tessmer, who has a shooting range set up behind his house.

The chairman says he understands the citizens' concerns.

"The people here tonight showed what they wanted and they do not want an ordinance so this is their town and this is what we'll do," said Walton.

For now, Walton says no noise ordinance is in the works.

Several residents have called for the town chairman to resign because of this. Walton told Newsline 9 he has no plans to resign but he also doesn't plan to run for re-election.

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