West Barnstable Shooting Range Decision Postponed

shooting rangeBARNSTABLE – The Barnstable Town Council voted last night to postpone a decision on a proposed land swap involving the closed West Barnstable shooting range.

Opponents of re-opening the range in its current location argue the land should be used for passive recreation.

The shooting range was closed in January 2013 when the town’s insurance company discovered that the area was not covered with the proper liability insurance.

While the shooting range was closed down to handle the paperwork on adjusting the insurance, state conservation officials became involved in the issue. State officials said the land where they shooting range was located was purchased for passive recreation, a use that does not include a shooting range.

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Town officials then came up with the idea of putting an equal sized parcel of town land under a conservation restriction so that the West Barnstable land could be taken out of conservation.

The proposed location for the land swap is 17 acres off Breed’s Hill Road in the town’s industrial park.

But neighbors of the shooting range balked at having the land taken out of conservation. They argued that the shooting range was installed illegally on conservation land and should not be reinstated.

A number of those opponents showed up at last night’s meeting of the Barnstable Town Council to urge the councilors not to vote for the land swap.

Among them was Hilary Sandler of West Barnstable, who lives near the shooting range. She argued that the conservation land cannot be used as it was intended because people walking the trails, walking dogs or mountain biking on the land near to be wary of stray bullets.