Cape Elizabeth gun club gets license extension after town misfires on renewal

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Spurwink Rod & Gun Club is operating with a new, short-term license after renewal last year apparently fell through the cracks at Town Hall.

The town Firing Range Committee, which is responsible for reinspecting the firing range to ensure the club’s compliance with a local ordinance, did not conduct an inspection because no residents volunteered to serve on the panel.

The Town Council on Monday granted a 90-license extenstion to the Sawyer Road club, which has been the target of complaints from neighbors, after discussion with former club President Mark Mayone and current President Tammy Walter.

Now, town councilors are serving as members of the Firing Range Committee.

Council Chairman Jamie Garvin took responsibility for the licensing lapse.

“We can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube,” but we can try to bring everyone current, Garvin said.

Mayone asked councilors Monday night for a six-month license extension. The council went with the shorter, 90-day time frame.

There have been no code violations or complaints received, Mayone and Walter told councilors.

The club, which is described on its website as one of southern Maine’s oldest rod and gun clubs, is being a good neighbor, according to Mayone.

“We’re really proud of it,” Mayone said about the club and steps it has taken to improve operations, including noise reduction. “(It) seems to be working out well.”

Councilor Sara Lennon, who lives on Cranbrook Road, about 4 miles from the gun club, said she has heard less noise.

The town’s shooting range ordinance went into effect in spring 2014, and the club’s conditional license to operate was approved in October 2015. In the time in between, complaints from residential neighbors forced the town to order the club to temporarily shut its outdoor firing range.

A gun safety expert determined there were not enough measures in place to keep a club user or neighbor from being hit by a stray bullet or freely walking onto the shooting range. Police Chief Neil Williams suspended shooting until the problems were fixed.

Williams on Thursday said the club is being a good neighbor has met all standards that were required.

“We haven’t had any calls to respond to respond to that establishment for any reason, for any noise,” Williams said. He added there was no notice to the club when its license expired.

The ordinance governing the club will be reviewed later this year, and councilors decided to keep the ordinance review and license renewal issues separate.

“I agree with Jamie on the separation, so the club has a valid license and when a new ordinance comes through, we’ll see how that falls out,” Councilor Penny Jordan said.

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or lconnell@theforecaster.net. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.

Former President Mark Mayone and President Tammy Walter at the Spurwink Rod & Gun Club in Cape Elizabeth.

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  • Mainer1

    Great work Town Council, way to spend our tax dollars wisely! Maybe you should hire another consultant for the town.

    • 101indianscout

      Just pray that it isn’t councilor Lennon who apparently can hear it from 4 miles away. Sad that a club established so long ago isn’t welcome due to ignorant buyers who moved near a shooting range and then complain. They are related to the folks living near airports and then complain about jet noise. Idiots who do no due diligence in where they live.

  • beachmom2

    Why did people even buy houses nearby if they don’t like the range?