Town seeks swift judgement in gun club case

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

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/2/2020 4:42:09 PM

Peterborough wants to close the book on a drawn-out legal battle with the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club over the expansion of one its shooting ranges, asking the court to issue a summary judgment in the matter.

The town is accusing the club of multiple zoning and code violations and is seeking a total of $3,575 in penalties. The town has filed a motion for summary judgment in the matter, arguing that a previous case already demonstrated the validity of the town’s arguments.

The Monadnock Rod and Gun Club has not yet responded to the town’s motion for a summary judgment, and currently, the matter is scheduled for a bench trial at the Hillsborough Superior Court on March 9 and March 10.

In 2018, the Rod and Gun Club’s neighbor, Scott Perry, notified the town that the club had expanded one of its ranges and was encroaching on his property.

When the town investigated the claim, Code Enforcement Officer Tim Herlihy found that in addition to straying over the property line, the club had also erected a pavilion, allegedly without a building permit, and had allegedly filled in wetlands in the area without going through the proper procedure.

The town of Peterborough’s suit with the gun club has been on hold, while the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club went to court with the Perrys to sort out the land dispute. The Monadnock Rod and Gun Club attempted to claim the portion of the land they used for the expanded shooting range, claiming it had used that portion of the property for decades without challenge, a process known as adverse possession. The court ruled in the Perrys’ favor, finding the club hadn’t used the property continuously or in a way that was so obvious that it could not be missed by the legitimate owner, and also ordered the club to pay reparations for property damage to the Perrys’ land. The court awarded the Perrys damages in the amount of $648,402 for the restoration of disturbed wetland and removal of soil contamination.

With that matter settled, Peterborough is now seeking to close its own court case with the club, asking for civil penalties for zoning and code violations.

In a request for summary judgment filed by the town’s attorney, John Ratigan, with the Hillsborough Superior Court on Nov. 2, the town argued that the court’s findings in the Perry case already demonstrated that the club violated Peterborough’s Zoning Code.

Gun clubs are not allowed in the district. Monadnock Rod and Gun Club existed prior to the installation of the Zoning Code, and is a grandfathered use, but can’t expand without special permissions from the Zoning Board of Adjustment, which the town said it did not receive before expanding the gun range. The town also alleges that the club removed vegetation and altered the land within the required buffers of wetland without the proper permits, fired shells in the Groundwater Protection Overlay Zone, contaminating it with lead, and built its shooting pavilion without obtaining a building permit.




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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