Grafton Planning Board Action – Shooting Range
by Kieron Kramer
The Grafton Planning Board met on June 18 with only one item on the agenda, the site plan application by Les McDermott for a shooting range and gun store on his property at 303 Old Siek Road. The main purpose of the facility is to provide training by certified instructors to retired police officers who, by federal law under The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 (HR218), may carry concealed weapons if they re-qualify yearly. [private]At present retired police officers from this area and north in the State must attend classes at a training facility located in Rockland County. Les McDermott expects that a lot of people will train at his facility. He will operate the gun store from a temporary building on the premises.
The McDermotts, and their chief firearms instructor Bob Nuttall, former Senior Firearms Instructor with the Troy Police Department, attended the meeting, but the application was presented to the Board by their lawyer, attorney Spain. Spain reviewed the material submitted with the application. He had extra copies of McDermott’s federal and NY State licenses to sell firearms and several lame aerial photos of the shooting range. The photos were meant to clarify the topographical plot map, submitted with the application, showing the high earthen berm toward which the shooting range is oriented. Planning Board Chairman Tom Withcuskey has already visited the site, walked it with McDermott and seen the berm. He wants to check the efficacy of the berm with the Town Engineer Russ Reeves and the Town’s safety liability with Town Attorney Sal Ferlazzo. But he said, “It will be a very controlled site which will have certified instructors,” and he added that he had received a letter from Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola endorsing the program. Since certified instructors are required, all of the training sessions, which will be for classes, will be scheduled by appointment between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday. There will be open shooting during the hours when there are no classes and on weekends from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday and noon to 5 pm on Sunday. NRA training is also available. The gun store will be open during all of these hours.
Parking was a concern that the McDermotts raised. They have a parking area on the site plan which should accommodate the trainees, but they suggested that the Town put up no parking signs along the road so that people won’t be tempted to park on the side of the road. The road is very narrow, they said, and parking may prevent emergency vehicles from traveling the road. Withcuskey did not seem worried about this issue. The road is a dead end, he said, and the shooting range is at the end of it.
Planning Board Member Arthur Surprise asked about the lead bullets that would be fired into the earthen berm. Withcuskey said he would check with the DEC to see if they have concerns about shooting lead bullets into the ground. Planning Board Member Jim Goyer said that when DEC Ranger Joe Hess finds people illegally practice shooting in the State Forests, he not only issues a citation but he makes them “dig out the lead.” McDermott said that the trainees would have to use bullets purchased at his gun store and he will be selling them only copper bullets.
The Board voted 3-0, with Scott Newell and Owen Grandjean absent, to accept the site plan review application. A public hearing was set for 6:45 pm before the next regular Grafton Planning Board meeting on July 16.
No Horsing Around?
No decision was made on the site plan filed by Richard Lundy for a horseback riding business on Kautz Hollow Road with a one mile riding trail loop over 135 acres. It was postponed from the May meeting to this meeting. In fact the topic was not even brought up. Withcuskey had said in May that the project is moving forward.
A Side Note
Regulars at the meeting noticed immediately that the Board members’ name placards, which are usually placed before them on the dais, were missing. The Board was tempted to call the police but refrained from doing so. The placards were returned at the end of the meeting, shortly after 7:12 pm.[/private]