Land dispute between gun club and neighbor goes to court

  • Superior Court Judge David Anderson presided over a bench trial between neighbors Monadnock Gun Club and Scott and Bridgette Perry over a piece of land the Perrys own by title, but which has long been used by the gun club. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Superior Court Judge David Anderson presided over a bench trial between neighbors Monadnock Gun Club and Scott and Bridgette Perry over a piece of land the Perrys own by title, but which has long been used by the gun club. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Superior Court Judge David Anderson presided over a bench trial between neighbors Monadnock Gun Club and Scott and Bridgette Perry over a piece of land the Perrys own by title, but which has long been used by the gun club. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Superior Court Judge David Anderson presided over a bench trial between neighbors Monadnock Gun Club and Scott and Bridgette Perry over a piece of land the Perrys own by title, but which has long been used by the gun club. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/17/2019 9:32:22 AM

A land dispute between the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club and its neighbor, Scott and Bridgette Perry, is before a Superior Court judge this week.

Hillsborough Superior Court Judge David Anderson heard arguments from witnesses from the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club on Tuesday, during the first day of a bench trial to decide the ownership of a contested piece of land on the border between the Perrys land and the Rod and Gun Club’s.

Surveyor Jedadiah Paquin, of Paquin Land Surveying in Jaffrey, testified that he had been contracted by the club in early 2018 to survey the land, and had determined that by record title, about six acres of land the club has been using in its northern corner belonged to Scott and Bridgette Perry.

The club, through its attorney, Penny Dean, is arguing they have operated on the land for so long without challenge, that it is theirs through a legal claiming process known as adverse possession.

In order to claim adverse possession, the claimant must show that for a period of 20 years or more, they had continuous, exclusive use of the property without the owner’s permission, and the use was obvious enough that the true owner has, or should have, noticed the use.

The Monadnock Rod and Gun Club presented several witnesses Tuesday to testify about activities that have taken place on the disputed land as far back as the 1970s.

Linda Sueyarger, a volunteer for the Rod and Gun Club, testified she had volunteered in June to remove old signs on an archery trail and had accidentally strayed into the disputed area, where she removed two to four signs marking archery stations.

Several other people testified that there were obvious signs of use on the land, including a string of wooden signs appearing to mark a boundary, archery targets and trails.

Paul Mercier of Antrim testified he had attended cannon shoots at the club in 1973 and 1976, where the cannons were set up just outside the disputed land, and the shots were fired into a berm on the disputed land.

Vernon Taylor, who has attended and shot archery at the club as far back as 1954 or 1955, testified archery trails, as well as a portion of a shooting range, have always operated on the contested piece of property, “easily” as far back as the 1970s.

The attorney representing the Perrys, L. Phillips Runyon, appeared to mainly be challenging whether the uses of the property were “obvious” and should have been noticed by the Perrys. He established the archery targets are taken down seasonally, and asked if there were any obvious signs the property was in use during the winter, when the Perrys might snowshoe or snowmobile through the area.

The archery targets are mounted on rebar or pipe, which remain in the ground year-round.

Runyon also questioned whether the trails that had been cut might have been confused for game trails in the winter, or if there were clear indications that signs were hung up were done so by the club.

The court recessed on Tuesday, with the intent of reconvening on Wednesday, and if needed, possibly on Friday as well.

The six acres currently under dispute by the Perrys and the Rod and Gun Club is also at issue between the club and the town of Peterborough. The town alleges the club expanded its range and constructed a new building without the proper permits or processes, and that it filled in wetlands to do so.

The case between the town of Peterborough and the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club is on hold pending the outcome of the current case.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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