Need help with range closure

dgrafton

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I know multiple clubs in this region have been shut down for different reasons in the last few years.

A club local to me expanded a range under the guise of general maintenance and got spanked by the local government and courts. Last I knew, that range is still unusable. I’m worried my club is heading in the same direction. I just found out about a special meeting tomorrow night regarding a similar scenario.

I nipped it in the bud about 5 years ago when I was an active board member. I haven’t had the personal time to keep that position, but I’m trying to do my part to stop future headaches.

I don’t have my notes from back then anymore, and can’t remember the specifics of the other clubs’ issues anymore.

Looking for some quick tldr input on what to present to my club so they don’t make an irreversible mistake. Given the short timeframe, I can’t really do much in depth research this tome around.

Thanks for any help.
 

terraformer

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It was monadnock and the thread is here. The big issue there was they put their range on neighbors property and then the town changed by laws to eliminate outdoor ranges and so they now can't move their range back to the original location. Thread on it here somewhere. Get a lawyer ASAP. That is the major sin in most of these cases. They think they can deal with it without professional help.
 

ReluctantDecoy

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The club in your example that expanded under the guise of general maintenance--that sounds like permit f**kery. Pulled a shortform and did a longform, type of stuff. Triggers all the flags at ISD and most likely hit zoning and/or grandfathered specifications for the location's original approval. Not worth the risk, as the nature of the legal use is one that half the town most likely wants to find a reason to get rid of. This isn't like quietly adding an in-law unit in a house basement, as the neighbors don't give a sh*t about that.
 
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Years ago my club toyed with the idea of expanding ranges well within the borders of our property.

Our lawyer at the time strongly warmed us against it as it would require zoning issues and a change of use from what was normal over the last decades. We went through a lawsuit just before I joined many years back over a proposed range on our property. While it never went to court and was settled prior, we dropped any plans to build the additional range.

The club in question ran into many issues with their expansion that was done not onl;y on someone elses property but without proper permits.

Pelham ran into such issues when they built their 600 yard range years back.
 

KBCraig

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I know multiple clubs in this region have been shut down for different reasons in the last few years.
What region?

The greater Northeast? New England? Northern New England? New Hampshire? Southwestern New Hampshire?

Laws do vary, and laws are very relevant to this discussion.
 

dgrafton

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What region?

The greater Northeast? New England? Northern New England? New Hampshire? Southwestern New Hampshire?

Laws do vary, and laws are very relevant to this discussion.
Massachusetts
But just pointing out problems in other states should help drive the point of caution home.
 

dgrafton

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The club in your example that expanded under the guise of general maintenance--that sounds like permit f**kery. Pulled a shortform and did a longform, type of stuff. Triggers all the flags at ISD and most likely hit zoning and/or grandfathered specifications for the location's original approval. Not worth the risk, as the nature of the legal use is one that half the town most likely wants to find a reason to get rid of. This isn't like quietly adding an in-law unit in a house basement, as the neighbors don't give a sh*t about that.
No permits were pulled at girst. Then town told them to pull a permit.

Neighbors got wind of it and had them shut down for change in use. And they lost their protection of previous use because of the changes. Neighbors brought up noise complaints.
 

Mesatchornug

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No permits were pulled at girst. Then town told them to pull a permit.

Neighbors got wind of it and had them shut down for change in use. And they lost their protection of previous use because of the changes. Neighbors brought up noise complaints.
Are you thinking of Granby's 1000 yd fiasco?
 
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Don’t think so, but will find out.

If the club doesn't have an attorney on hire, or even just a member whose an attorney that does odd jobs for the club, then priority number one is to find an attorney who focuses on municipal and land use law. Such attorneys exist.
 

dgrafton

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If the club doesn't have an attorney on hire, or even just a member whose an attorney that does odd jobs for the club, then priority number one is to find an attorney who focuses on municipal and land use law. Such attorneys exist.
I agree.
The problem with the club is that it's ‘remote’ and many of the members have no idea what’s going on in the real world regarding guns and gun clubs.
Except all the new neighbors don’t want to be bothered by the noise while enjoying their second (or 3rd or 4th...) home.
 

ReluctantDecoy

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No permits were pulled at girst. Then town told them to pull a permit.

Neighbors got wind of it and had them shut down for change in use. And they lost their protection of previous use because of the changes. Neighbors brought up noise complaints.

That's even worse. Nothing gets ISD inspectors more fired up than writing stop work orders on projects that didn't ask for permission first and pay a permit fee. They should pull their certificate of occupancy and zoning approval written opinion to see what they are up against. Chances are, one of those specify exact figures in terms of booths/lanes. I'd argue it isn't exactly a change of use, but rather an abuse of allowance of use. But that might be academic considering where they are at the moment.
 
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My memory might be off, but wasn't there a range in Boylston that had similar issues?
I believe you are talking about Wayne's Weaponry which he had a gun shop and his own personal range on his property that he would let people shoot at. He eventually won the first round but I think there were some limitations but not sure as it has been a while. Then I believe they tried again and he didn't bother trying to fight it and he closed his gun shop as I believe his niece has a photo studio there now.
 

KMM696

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Meeting's tonight, is it?

Off the top of my head:

Google Earth allows viewing a map over time - do not assume that no one will notice an expansion.
Permits have to be pulled for this sort of thing. If the club gets into neighbor trouble even years later, and they can see that ranges were expanded without permitting, the club is f***ed.
my assumption is that in the commiewealth, if a club ends up in court with any verifiable violation no matter how petty it seems, the club will lose because guns.

We've had these discussions at our club, too - explaining this to members who date back to 'the way it used to be' was sometimes challenging. Good luck!
 
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I agree.
The problem with the club is that it's ‘remote’ and many of the members have no idea what’s going on in the real world regarding guns and gun clubs.
Except all the new neighbors don’t want to be bothered by the noise while enjoying their second (or 3rd or 4th...) home.

The state of Massachusetts does arial photography across the entire state. If you alter the land, the arial pictures will absolutely show it. They do it at least every ten years.
 
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Meeting's tonight, is it?

Off the top of my head:

Google Earth allows viewing a map over time - do not assume that no one will notice an expansion.
Permits have to be pulled for this sort of thing. If the club gets into neighbor trouble even years later, and they can see that ranges were expanded without permitting, the club is f***ed.
my assumption is that in the commiewealth, if a club ends up in court with any verifiable violation no matter how petty it seems, the club will lose because guns.

We've had these discussions at our club, too - explaining this to members who date back to 'the way it used to be' was sometimes challenging. Good luck!

Massachusetts state does arial photography of the entire state. My town has the arial photos of the entire town from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, etc. I’m sure the earlier one are available if needed. So lobg before the internet and google maps/earth, the state has been taking pictures. The pictures are clear enough to show sheds, boat and cars, it will absolutely show a range or cleared land.
 
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