Dozens attend Granby Select Board with complaints about gun club noise

  • Three dozen people attended the Granby Select Board meeting Monday night, Aug. 7, 2017, to discuss concerns over noise they say is coming from the Granby Bow and Gun Club on Chicopee Street. The club's attorney, Edward George Jr. of Woburn, addressed those in attendance. —STAFF PHOTO / EMILY CUTTS

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

GRANBY — A lawyer for the Granby Bow and Gun Club urged neighbors who have complaints about noise from the gun range to organize and present their concerns with a united front.

Speaking to a crowd of nearly three dozen people who attended the Granby Select Board meeting Monday, attorney Edward George Jr., of Woburn, said he had learned from his experience that it’s hard to deal with individual complaints.

“If you have complaints about noise, come up with somebody who is a spokesman who can come up with an agreement,” George said.

Residents of Granby and Belchertown brought the issue of noise coming from the club to the Granby Select Board July 10 and to the Belchertown Select Board on July 24. The bow and gun club on Chicopee Street in Granby is owned by Debi and Andre Mercier and has been in existence since 1947.

First to speak was Granby resident Robin LaBorde, who voiced his concerns not only about the noise but the environmental impact of the club.

“Of course the noise is deafening most of the time,” LaBorde said. “Also we are very concerned about the lead from the bullets ... specifically pollution by bullets that get into the water and because that is up high it’s even worse. It will contaminate a whole lot of people’s water.”

George said he had taken a tour of the gun club by car earlier Monday and looked at various permits for tree cutting as well as documentation from the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I haven’t seen any evidence that there is any leaching of lead into the water or the streams. I don’t believe that the trees that were removed formed any kind of a sound enhancement for the rifle range,” George said. “But nevertheless, I understand that people have a lot of concerns about this and I have represented a number of clubs before involving noise and shooting activities.”

Jane LaBorde echoed her husband’s sentiment about the environmental concern adding she did not want to have to fix something after the fact or worry about multiple people dying before something is done.

“I’ve lived here 30 years. We’re pro-gun. I think it is a nice thing,” she said, adding that they had no problems with the club until recently.

“I just want to enjoy my property again, that I have been enjoying since 1994,” said Belchertown resident Douglas Zimmerman. “I’m hoping for a quick and speedy resolution to this for myself and all my neighbors.”

The only real solution to the issue would be if the club would return to its original use pre-expansion, Zimmerman said, referring to the creation of a more than 1,000-yard shooting range in the last year.

Those in attendance Monday included Granby town counsel and assistant town counsel as well as four members of the Belchertown Select Board, residents of both towns and members of the Granby Bow and Gun Club.

Before George spoke, Select Board Chairman Mark Bail told those in attendance that the Planning Board, not the Select Board, has most of the power in terms of regulating the gun club. While expressing a willingness to accommodate the neighbors as a group, George warned that club officers were not interested in talking with anyone who had a conflict of interest, like a concern over home value, which he called a “commercial concern.”

The issue may be addressed by the Granby Planning Board at its next meeting on Aug. 14.