Cape gun club moves closer to approval

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CAPE ELIZABETH — After receiving a grant of $28,000 and completing various studies, the Spurwink Rod and Gun Club is moving closer to completing a new registration process required by the town.

Club President Tammy Walter received a letter earlier this week finalizing the grant from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The club originally received the grant in August, but it was put on hold until a walk-through was held on Sept. 11. Walter said she found out a few weeks ago that the club was officially receiving the money.

“We’re really pleased that it finally all came through,” Walter said.

Former President Mark Mayone said the grant will be used to complete safety upgrades at the Sawyer Road facility. Concrete walls will be erected along with berms and overhead baffles.

At a Firing Range Committee meeting Wednesday, Mayone said the club has completed the required noise, contour and wetland studies. These were mandated as part of the registration process that all gun clubs must go through under a new town ordinance.

The club hired a sound engineer to complete the noise study in which the decibel levels of gunshots were measured from eight different locations around the grounds. Levels were recorded at distances ranging from 500 to 2,000 feet. Mayone said a .30-caliber gun was used, which he described as being mid-range in terms of noise.

Mayone said the highest reading was 79 decibels at 500 feet away from the club. This was from a location in which the engineer was standing perpendicular to the direction the bullet was traveling in.

Town Councilor Jamie Wagner, committee chairman, said the study meets the requirements of the ordinance.

“I thinks it works under the ordinance, but for a new club I wouldn’t be satisfied,” Wagner said. “I would want them to use their loudest gun.”

South Portland police officer Ben Macisso, a member of the committee, agreed that the study was sufficient.

“I’m happy. I feel that this satisfies the baseline requirement,” he said.

Mayone said added safety features that he expects to be put in place over the next couple of years will require new sound studies to be held. He said with each study, the decibel level should be lower as the club becomes more soundproof.

As for the wetland study, Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal said it satisfies the requirements for registration. He said it doesn’t appear that building new safety features and walls will affect the wetlands surrounding the club.

The committee voted 6-1 to accept the materials and study results, and will meet again Dec. 17 to discuss a safety evaluation of the club that the town is expected to perform.

Mayone said the club is moving forward and he anticipates the registration to be accepted soon.

“I don’t think there’s much holding (the committee) back from accepting the registration at this time,” he said.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.