Warner gun range hearing misfires as abutters not properly informed, officials say

Monitor staff
Published: 4/3/2017 11:56:14 PM

A proposal to bring an indoor gun range and retail store to Warner is off to a rocky start.

A Warner planning board public hearing scheduled for Monday night was postponed for two weeks because at least one of the abutters was not properly notified when the proposal went before the town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment in early March. According to a motion for rehearing filed by Alfano Law Office on behalf of Norm Carlson, the owner of abutter MadgeTech Inc., the state of New Hampshire was not given notice when Eric Miller, owner of Dragonfly Holdings LLC and applicant for the gun range, brought his proposal before the ZBA and was granted a special exception to the town’s zoning laws.

The development, if approved, would be located on Warner Road off Interstate 89’s Exit 7, just shy of a mile from the Hopkinton town line. The state’s Department of Recreation and Economic Development owns a plot of land called the Davisville State Forest across from the proposed location of the range, and there is also a state Department of Transportation shed near the property. Neither department received notification from Miller, who was responsible for notifying abutters, according to the motion.

Planning board Chairman Ben Frost said the board is required to make sure all abutters are notified properly before a public meeting is held. The hearing is rescheduled for April 17 at 7 p.m. at the town hall. Frost said there was a miscommunication between the town and Miller about who needed to be notified before the meeting.

The board also determined the development would not cause a regional impact and therefore would not require the town to notice abutting municipalities.

That impact can include – but is not limited to – noise, light, smoke emissions, proximity to neighboring communities, proximity to waterways that cross town boundaries, or shared facilities such as schools.

That would be news to the Hopkinton select board, who questioned whether they should have been notified before the planning board hearing. The Hopkinton board voted to send a letter to Warner during a select board hearing held on Monday, before the planning board meeting, after discussing whether Hopkinton should be involved.

Select board member Sabrina Dunlap during that meeting said they should be included based on environmental concerns and because the range would be within 2 miles of Hopkinton’s high school. She said the board had received several emails from concerned residents, who said they did not have enough notice prior to Monday’s meeting. “I think people have a right to be heard,” she said.

Frost said Hopkinton residents who have a demonstrable interest in the proposal would be allowed to speak.

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