Otisfield Planning Board to hold site walk for proposed outdoor shooting range

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OTISFIELD — The Planning Board will do a site walk of a pit off of Station Road on Tuesday, July 11, where a firearms training company is proposing an educational training site for firearm safety and proficiency.

Chair Karen Turino said that Uel Gardner, operating as Weaponcraft LLC, came before the Planning Board at the June 20 meeting and proposed an outdoor shooting range where people can learn how to safely shoot firearms.

“Years and years ago, the property was used as a pit,” Turino said. “Over the past few years, the property has been privately owned and used off and on for private use as a gun range. What Mr. Gardner is proposing is a commercial enterprise with gun classes and education.”

According to its website, Weaponcraft LLC is a firearms training facility that “provides firearms, equipment and progressive firearms training programs to responsible armed citizens, law enforcement officers and military professionals.”

At the June 20 meeting, the Planning Board determined that Gardner’s Site Plan Review application was not complete and invited him to come back with the rest of the items.

During the time between the June 20 meeting and their July meeting, Turino and the rest of the Planning Board members will walk the property.

She said that following the site walk, if Gardner’s Site Plan Review application is approved by the Planning Board, a public hearing would be scheduled to give residents a chance to speak their mind on the proposal.

Turino said that she anticipates residents may have questions about how loud the shooting range will be.

However, the only properties abutting the proposed shooting range is Hancock Lumber and the Otisfield Transfer Station.

“There aren’t any residents within a 1,000-foot radius, so I’m hoping there won’t be an issue,” Turino said, “but we did bring the issue up with Weaponcraft and asked if there is some sort of test that can be done. We want to know how far away people can hear the shots, or if they can at all.”

The town of Otisfield does not have a noise ordinance.

Turino said that the shooting range would not be in use on a daily basis.

“He told us that he would only come over and use it if he needed to train people in this area,” she said.

Gardner also told the Planning Board that he would make sure to fence off the range to keep any roaming ATV riders from entering the property.

“Lately, the pit has also been used for ATVs driving through the area, and Hancock Lumber allowed ATV riders to ride through their property,” Turino said. “[Gardner’s] intention is to close the area off so there won’t be any riders going through.”

The Planning Board has not yet set a date for the public hearing, Turino said.

The rain date for the site walk is 5:30 p.m., Thursday, July 13.

mdaigle@sunmediagroup.net