Problems mount for Falmouth Rod & Gun Club

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FALMOUTH — After voluntarily closing its doors in March because of safety problems, the Falmouth Rod & Gun Club remains closed and now faces environmental sanctions.

“The neighbors have all commented about how nice and quiet it is,” said Todd Kelly, whose property borders the sportsmen’s club.

Both the Falmouth Police Department and the town’s code enforcement officer said they have not heard from the club recently and have received no requests for safety inspections or permits for adding protective fill.

The 293 Gray Road property was first inspected in November 2010, when Code Enforcement Officer Justin Brown determined that one of the shooting ranges had “serious safety concerns” and had to be closed.

A second range was closed shortly thereafter for similar issues, and the entire facility was voluntarily closed earlier this year.

Kelly said it appears there has been no construction of berms required to protect neighbors from stray bullets, which have been found by Kelly on his property in the past. Berms that were not high enough to protect neighbors were part of the reason the club was closed.

“They have not been issued another permit,” police Lt. John Kilbride said Tuesday. “We’re still trying to work with them on the safety issues.”

Kilbride said neither he or Sgt. Frank Soule, who has been working with the club on its safety violations, knew if any new berms were under construction.

“The timeline is up to them,” Kilbride said.

In April the club received a notice of violation from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for rerouting a stream without proper permitting.

DEP alleges the club failed to observe setbacks of 75 feet required for all rivers and streams.

It also claims a dam was installed upstream with a standpipe that washed out, and that permits for those actions were never issued.

The issue was brought to light when Kelly noticed sediment piling up, creating a muddy pool on his property.

The DEP violation requires the club to restore the stream, remove the earthen dam it built and replant native plants in the 75-foot setback area.

Just before it closed, the club filed an administrative appeal of the code enforcement officer’s decision that it was in violation of its permits. But that appeal, which would go before the town’s Board of Zoning Appeals, has been tabled several times.

The appeal documents state that Brown’s decision should be reversed “as it is unsupported by the facts or applicable ordinances.”

Brown said that he received a request from the club last week to withdraw its appeal.

“At this point, the (zoning) board will likely accept their withdrawal,” he said. “That’s about as done as it gets.”

Club President David Ennis did not respond to several requests for comment Tuesday.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.

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