EPPING — The planning board has approved two firing ranges at Sig Sauer Academy that were built a decade ago without town permission.
The after-the-fact approval came after planning officials learned several months ago that Sig Sauer had been operating the two ranges, but was never given the OK from the planning board when they were constructed in 2009.
While some planning board members voiced concern about Sig Sauer ignoring the approval process years ago, they agreed that the ranges appeared to be safe and approved them at a meeting on March 14.
Planning board chairman Joseph Foley said any penalties against Sig Sauer for constructing the ranges without permits would be determined by the town’s building department.
The board also OK’d safety improvements for another range on the property located at 233 Exeter Road.
The ranges were approved despite concerns from attorney Robert Dietel, who represents neighboring property owner Malcolm Bradsher.
Dietel asked that an environmental safety engineer review the design to make sure the ranges are safe and that a sound study be done. He also requested additional information about the use of the property.
Dietel accused Sig Sauer of various violations related to sound, hours of operation and expansion over the years and claimed that bullets have been found on Bradsher’s property.
Tom Hildreth, Sig Sauer’s lawyer, argued that the environmental engineering review and sound study were unnecessary, insisting that the property has been reviewed extensively by the town for many years.
“There’s just no need or value and it would be a waste of time and expense to require any third party review,” he said.
Hildreth said Bradsher has owned property next to the facility for 20 years and it wasn’t until last December when allegations of stray bullets on his property were made.
“We dispute that they’re coming from our property,” he said.