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Rod and gun club seeks permission to use target range


The Dug Hill Rod and Gun Club has asked county officials for permission to use a target range it built on its property four years ago without county approval.

Club members were unaware that they needed permission from the Board of Zoning Appeals to build the range, club trustee Clair D. "Hap" Baker Jr. said.

"A disgruntled former member" notified the county last year that the range had been built, he said. In June 1991, the county ordered the club to stop using the range.

Three club members told the board Wednesday afternoon that the new range would not increase noise at the site, in the 4100 block of Wine Road north of Manchester.

But one neighbor has lodged a complaint with the board, saying noise has increased in the past five years.

"Sometimes the firing sounds like cannon blasts," Julius J. Pitrone, of the 3800 block of Wine Road, wrote in a letter to the board.

Pitrone said he has lived near the club for 20 years, and noise from the club was "minimal" for most of that time. He did not attend the hearing Wednesday.

The club's attorney, William R. MacDonald of Westminster, said the target range doesn't change the club much.

"It's not much different from what's already there," he said, noting that the nearest neighbor is 1,500 feet away.

The range is almost in the middle of the club's property. It is 60 yards wide and 100 yards long.

The Dug Hill Rod and Gun Club, founded in 1940, has been on 60 acres on Wine Road since 1960, vice president Harlan Lee Martin said.

Its membership is limited to 100 people, who pay $30 a year in dues, he said.

The grounds are used year-round for club and community activities, Martin said.

The Board of Zoning Appeals will issue a written decision on whether the club should be allowed to use the range "within a reasonable time," Chairman John Totura said.

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