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Keene planners OK indoor shooting range

Union Leader Correspondent

February 27. 2013 9:56PM

KEENE - The Planning Board has approved plans for a 26,138-square-foot indoor shooting range and educational building on Ferry Brook Road.

The Cheshire County Fish & Game Club is proposing the indoor shooting range on its 195-acre site in Keene and Sullivan.

The proposed shooting range received support from the public Monday night, including from abutters and the Keene Police Department, which uses the current shooting facilities at the club to fulfill mandatory firearms training, Lt. Shane Maxfield told board members.

The building would provide an indoor shooting range for the Cheshire County Shooting Sports Education Foundation, a separate non-profit that would own and manage the building.

Club facilities currently include a 100-, 200- and 300-yard rifle range, a pistol range under covered firing points, two trap fields, an archery range and a clubhouse.

David Bergeron, a development consultant for Brickstone Land Use Consultants of Keene, said the building would have different sections including ranges for handguns and another section for archery and air rifles.

The building would also include classrooms and a kitchen, he said.

According to foundation President Kent Whitman, about 85 percent of the police officers in Cheshire County belong to the club. The facility would also benefit the clubs Jr. program, which includes over 30 area children ages 10 to 18, Whitman said.

"It would be a collegiate, first-class shooting facility," Whitman said of the proposed building.

"We are also in the process of reopening a 600-yard range that goes back to when the club opened in the 1930s," Whitman said.

Only about 44 acres of the property is in Keene; it sits in the city's rural district. As part of the site plan approval, the board granted three waivers.

Planning Director Rhett Lamb said the first was for a minor wetlands encroachment into the setback area.

"It's closer to the required 30 feet by just a little bit," Lamb said.

The board also approved a waiver for outdoor lights to be a height of 20 feet instead of 15 feet and a waiver that allows for some of the parking to be in the front of the building.

The board also gave a one-year extension on the three-year deadline for substantial construction on the project.

The club hopes to begin construction in the next two to three years and is fund-raising for the $6 to $8 million project.

Outdoors Keene