Monadnock Rod and Gun Club seeking to open outdoor range amid financial trouble

  • The Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Peterborough is seeking Planning Board approval to use its shooting range. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Peterborough Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/26/2021 2:29:08 PM

Monadnock Rod and Gun Club President Ken Caisse hopes that approval to use its shooting range will help the club rectify the financial difficulties it has been facing.

The club faced a series of lawsuits years ago when it was found to have expanded one of its ranges without proper permits from the town, filling in wetland areas and crossing over an abutting property line in the process. The range the club is applying for would be on the site of the original range.

After being sued by the abutters and the town, the club was ordered to pay $650,000 to restore the abutters’ property and the wetlands to pre-range conditions, as well as $3,575 in civil penalties and $28,027 in attorney’s fees to the town.

The club has had difficulty making these payments, according to Caisse, since the club has been shut down.

“We’ve lost a lot of our members, so this is the predicament that we’re in,” he said. “We have no money to do this stuff. We’re working on very limited funds. We can’t get any more funds because we can’t get anybody to join the club without having an actual place to shoot.”

The Planning Board will take up the club’s request at its next meeting, Nov. 8 at 6:30 p.m. The goal of the application, Caisse said, is to provide a way for the club to start bringing in funds so that it can work on fulfilling its obligations.

Town Planner Danica Melone said that this line of thinking makes sense, but it might be a “cart-before-the-horse situation,” since the likely outcome if the application is approved is that the club will have to remediate the violations to the property before any new use can begin.

“It does make it difficult for them,” she said. Some of the payments to the town have been made, according to Melone, but the attorney’s fees are still outstanding. According to Caisse, the restoration of the wetlands is also outstanding.

Right now, the Planning Board is focused on the application itself and whether the club meets requirements for this specific project in terms of zoning and protecting the wetland. The proposed range would not be allowed almost anywhere else in town if it were not grandfathered in as an exception to the town’s restriction on outdoor shooting ranges, Melone said, which is part of why the club is seeking to move forward on this same property.

Caisse said the Planning Board has been helpful in guiding the club through the application process, and he is hoping that the decision will go its way.

“We have to wait for them to figure out what they want from us, but we’re hoping it gets accepted,” he said.

The Planning Board was scheduled to take up the club’s application at its October meeting, but delayed the matter due to the site bordering the towns of Jaffrey and Sharon, requiring notice of the discussion.




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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