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Written by Ozaukee Press   
Thursday, 27 April 2017 19:40

There’s a Target down range, but that doesn’t mean it’s all right to blast away with various types of firearms a scant half mile from the Village of Grafton’s shopping mecca at its intersection with the I-43 freeway.

The Target we’re referring to is a department store, one of a plethora of retail establishments in the sprawling commercial district at the eastern border of the Village and Town of Grafton, not one of the targets aimed at by the shooters who were creating a nuisance on a nearby Arrowhead Road property.

There were no reports of bullets hitting Target or any other stores, but the proximity of  the private firing range to the shopping area was considered when the Grafton Town Board cracked down on the shooters recently.

The board revoked the firearms discharge permit for the property owned by Michael and Dean Hoppe in February and refused on April 12 to grant their request that it be reissued. It was the right decision, one that highlights the growing conflict between urbanization and the remaining countryside of Ozaukee County. 

The possibility of bullets straying into the busy shopping complex was mentioned by Town Chairman Lester Bartel, but even more worrisome to board members were reports from town residents.

One told of shooting by “multiple weapons and rapid, successive firings taking place,” accompanied by continuous gunshot noise, “zings and pings.” She added, “I felt like I was in a war zone and not in a quiet, calm country residential home.”

A neighbor said he lost count after hearing 400 rounds. Another reported the shooting going for four to six hours one day.

Theresa Stay expressed what no doubt were the sentiments of many Town of Grafton residents when she told the board, “I expect where I live to be somewhat quiet and peaceful.”

That expectation, of course, is what motivates people to move to the Town of Grafton and other once rural areas of Ozaukee County. Numerous country-style subdivisions have sprung up on what was once farmland in the Town of Grafton, whose tax roll is swelling with the value of homes on large lots. Elected representatives have a responsibility to work to keep threats to that peace and quiet at bay.

In the eastern part of the Town of Grafton, a growing source of incursions into the peace of the countryside is the county road that runs through it, Highway C. Designed to be no more than a country road, it has become a heavily traveled alternative to state Highway 32 and I-43 and a joyriders’ speedway.

Commercial vehicles, including semi-trailer trucks, traveling between Port Washington and points south are part of the traffic that frequents the road. Conflicts with residents who use the road in a different way are inevitable. The mix of bicycle riders, runners, walkers, jogging mothers pushing strollers and even horseback riders with this excessive motor traffic can lead to nothing good.

As for quiet, that is a forlorn hope on any warm weather weekend when fleets of motorcycles take over the road. Realistic residents of Wisconsin, home of Harley-Davidson headquarters, have given up expecting police in this state to enforce exhaust noise limits for motorcycles, but enforcing speed limits for them, which it seems is not happening much on Highway C, should be another story.

The county should do its part to protect the peace and quiet of the Town of Grafton countryside by applying weight limits to keep large trucks off of Highway C and increasing attention to the road by sheriff’s department patrols.

Country living is a quality-of-life alternative that is attracting many families to Ozaukee County. Residents lured by that lifestyle shouldn’t have to have a shooting range in their backyards—or a country road that acts like an urban thoroughfare. 

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