“Sometimes it sounds like I live in Fallujah.” So says Ted Levin of Thetford, Vermont. He and about 20 neighbors have signed a petition complaining about the noise coming from the nearby Upper Valley Fish & Game Club these days. “’I’m being a real NIMBY on this,’ Levin said, referring to the ‘not in my backyard’ acronym, ‘because it is my backyard. But the bottom line is, it will affect resale values when the time comes to sell or to pass it on to my kids, and that’s an issue.’” Here’s a thought: maybe he shouldn’t have bought a home within earshot of a gun range . . .
The Upper Valley Club has been in its current location for forty years. Levin’s been there for twenty. To be fair, use of the range has increased in that time, including police training and
more fun bigger recreational firearms in use there.
“When we moved there in 1996, it was a place for people to get ready” for the state’s hunting seasons, he said at the Selectboard meeting. “It’s not the ‘fish and game and assault weapons’ club. It’s the fish and game club, and I would like to see it return to that.”
Levin says he doesn’t want the range to close down. The club’s current 20-year lease (cost: $1) with the town expires next year and the town’s Selectboard is weighing its options.
Proposed amendments to the Thetford lease include stricter hours, including banning firing before 10 a.m. on Sundays, and some limits on weapon types, including banning fully automatic weapons, exploding targets, drones and .50-caliber Browning machine guns, or BMGs, which are particularly loud.
The club’s secretary says they’re willing to make some changes to address some of the concerns of neighbors. And to try to keep the range operating and affordable (current dues are $15/year) for area shooters. Whether anything short of closing down will make people like Levin happy remains to to be seen.