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Wayland City compromises on bow hunting ordinance

The Wayland City Council Monday night came up with a compromise on bow hunting within the city limits.

Council members voted 6-1, with Tracy Bivins dissenting, to continue to permit bow hunting, but imposing restrictions to within 450 feet of residences for cross brows and with 300 feet for compound bows.

Councilman Rick Mathis, himself a bow hunter, praised his colleagues for the action.

“I feel like this is a win-win situation for the city,” he said. “We didn’t ban bow hunting outright, but will protect the citizens at the same time.”

A group of hunting enthusiasts appeared before the council last month to oppose the proposed 450-foot restriction, but four citizens spoke against relaxing regulations.

Mary Byrne told council members residents “shouldn’t have to live in fear” of the possibility an arrow might travel onto their property. “Arrows are capable of traveling 500 feet.”

She also said neighbors who do target practice in their back yard have sent arrows into her yard “as a result of careless use and discharge,” so she would appreciate more strict regulations restricting arrows to their own yards when target practicing.

Mary Reno said she understands the old rules for bow hunting in the city back when there were more vacant properties, but times since have changed.

Roger Ling agreed, saying more attention should be paid to use of bow and arrows by young people.

Sharon Nelson said she’s had arrows hit her garage from neighbors across the street.

Interim City Manager Larry Nielsen said the new bow hunting ordinance  will take effect after drafting of an ordinance for publication.

In other business at the meeting Monday evening, the City Council:

• Heard a presentation from new resident Anthony Winters about marketing “This Is Wayland” in an application that already has appeared on an Internet web site he has developed. He said he wants to market Wayland as “a small town not so far away” to attract more outside visitors.

He presented slides showing some of what he has come with, including historic photos of the downtown, telling the council, “My goal is to drive traffic here.”

• Was told by Nielsen that the Planning has agreed to amend its by-laws to insist the group meet at least four times per year. It also was noted there are three openings on the commission as the three-year terms of Chairman J.D. Gonzales, Vice Chairman Sam Dykstra and Abe Garcia are expiring in March.

• Noted there is an immediate opening for a seat on the Downtown Development Authority for an at-large citizen member.

• Reported that because of recent inclement weather, the January water meter readings will only be estimates rather than actual, which will resume next month.

• Was told by Nielsen that new City Manager Joshua Eggleston is making preparations to come to the city early next month. He and his wife already have secured rental housing in the city and he has signed up for meetings with the Department of Natural Resources on recreation Feb. 8, with the Michigan Municipal League and for BSA computer software training.

• Was told by Councilwoman Jennifer Antel local officials may want to budget a little extra in expenses this summer for the annual Main Street celebration because it will be the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of Wayland into a village.

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