Facts vs. opinions: Leave your opinions at the door

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 01:07 PM.

Today it is very difficult in our society to determine the difference between opinions and facts. Websites make everything so official looking and once someone reaches the information they are searching for, they stop looking. We’ve all done it. How many times have you only heard bits and pieces of a story and created a complete tale that was completely wrong? We’re human, it happens.

Opinions are tricky and usually derived from emotion. Facts are bits of information that exist regardless of how one feels or reacts.

Simple example.

Fact: AR-15 is named after Armalite. Opinion is that AR-15 stands for assault rifle. It’s simple to make the mistake, but facts are different and should be sought out.

In September I will be part of a quasi-judicial hearing in the Town of Holly Ridge. What is that you ask? It is the process to request a special use permit. It is not zoning, since the property zone must already be in place (in this case it’s Neighborhood Business). The special use permit application in this case is for an indoor gun range to be constructed in an already existing building that is already zoned for a gun shop.

A court-like event, quasi-judicial hearings require the presentation of facts presented through witnesses (who are sworn in) and documents necessary to fulfill the requirements. Generally based on most guidelines I have located from other towns, there is an allotted amount of time for the applicant to present (about an hour), for those who oppose and for the applicant to question/comment about the opposing witnesses.

Generally this is held before a board of adjustments or zoning board, but the Holly Ridge process requires the town council to vote on the matter once the facts are presented.

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