NORTH WOODSTOCK – A local couple and 29 of their neighbors want a judge to order the closure of the Gold Bess Shooting Club and award them damages, saying the outdoor range is a public and private nuisance.
Constance and Edward Martell say the range, which began operating Oct. 24, is within 100 feet of their property and within 500 feet of their home.
“During use of the range, the sound from the range is unbearable on the plaintiffs’ properties, at times, and on certain properties to the point where you cannot have conversation nor make a phone call, including potentially in an emergency,” the lawsuit said.
The Shooting Club asked that the injunction be denied. A Jan. 6 hearing on the lawsuit was continued until March 1.
According to the lawsuit, in May 2016, Woodstock Sand and Gravel (WSG) purchased 34 acres on Daniel Webster Highway and used it exclusively to stockpile gravel. On July 13, 2020, the Shooting Club registered with the New Hampshire Secretary of State and “at or around the same time, upon information and belief, the club leased the defendant property from WSG,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said that “all properties are within the travelling distance of a bullet of the caliber being used at the range.” The suit also alleges that the range is “likely to cause lead leaching” into the Pemigewasset River, which is fed by a brook upslope from the facility.
The Shooting Club said the noise it generates is protected by the New Hampshire Range Protection Act “in a town with no zoning and no noise ordinance.”
Court documents state “the plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief must be denied because they are plainly seeking money damages, which do not provide a basis for an injunctive relief since there is an adequate remedy of law.”
Gold Bess Shooting Club is “within an industrial/commercial area characterized by noises from the same site sand-and-gravel quarrying operations and nearby operations, including an auto racetrack, a frequent-trip tourist railroad, permitted snowmobile use of the railroad tracks in winter and an interstate highway.”
The Shooting Club said that with one exception, all of the plaintiffs’ homes are “at a considerable distance from the range, of a half-mile to several miles away,” and that shooting at the range is directed “toward large earthen berms situated immediately in front of a mountain, beyond which is a federal forest.”
The Shooting Club closed by saying it had an environmental stewardship plan and there are “no documented incidences of lead from shooting activities migrating off site.”