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Newport officials targeting shooting range on site of former landfill

NEWPORT — The Board of Selectmen has asked the Conservation Commission to approve a move that would open the door for a shooting range proposal in town.

The Conservation Commission met this week, but tabled the discussion for an Oct. 1 public hearing, Town Manager Paul Brown said on Thursday.

Brown met with the Board of Selectmen Monday and requested the board endorse an amendment to the landfills conservation easement and the concept of a gun range at the ash landfill the town took ownership of seven years ago.

The Economic Corporation of Newport, the town's nonprofit economic development organization, acquired the 79-acre landfill property in Oct. 2006 from the now defunct New Hampshire-Vermont Solid Waste Project.

As part of the acquisition, the nonprofit became responsible, under the rules of the Department of Environmental Services, for post-closure maintenance and monitoring.

In March of 2007, the Conservation Commission accepted a conservation easement on the majority of the property.The easement expires in March 2031, but the board is now asking the Conservation Commission to approve a change to the development restrictions to allow for the construction of a gun range at the site.

After gun maker Sturm, Ruger & Co. withdrew its controversial application to construct an outdoor shooting range on Route 11 and 103, Brown approached Sturm, Ruger officials to see if they would be interested in the old ash landfill site.

"We are proposing this, which I think will be a great use of the land," Brown said Thursday. "There are some neighbors in the area," which borders Claremont."I'm not sure what the feedback from Claremont would be right now," Brown said or if the new proposed site would cause any controversy.

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