Westminster Rod & Gun Club Needs Support From Members and Concerned Residents At April 20th Meeting
Take Action! please attend the zoning board appeal meeting, scheduled for April 20 – 7:00 PM at the Westminster elementary school in support of the club and urge the board to rescind the cease & desist order and stop the illegal attacks on the club.
The club has undergone three attacks over the last year from a neighbor named Mike Fortin, who is also on Westminster’s planning board.
The first, based on noise was defeated. The second, based on an “illegally built” structure was also defeated. When the first two failed, Fortin convinced Westminster’s Building Inspector Paul Blanchard to issue a cease and desist order based on violation of non-conforming permit. Fortin is claiming that increased activity at the club goes against the permit and Blanchard agreed with him. “The intensity of the noise stemming from the use has dramatically increased. Based on this information, I find that to the extent there is any protection afforded the property as a pre-existing nonconforming use, it has been exceeded,” wrote Zoning Enforcement Officer Paul Blanchard.
GOAL has also learned that the club was harassed by Mike Fortin, who showed up at the club to yell at members about the cease and desist order, before it was issued to the club!
There is an interesting backstory here as well. Here’s what we know, Mike Fortin is on the Westminster Planning Board. He will be a deciding factor on a vote to approve a 48 acre subdivision to be built on vacant land that lies less than a mile as the crow flies from the club. According to town records the land to be developed, on Newton road is owned by someone named Bruce Fortin. Coincidence? For some reason, Bruce Fortin’s name is being kept out of all meetings regarding development of the property, an advocate named David Murphy has been making the appearance at the approval meetings.
We have to ask, what is the connection between Bruce and Mike Fortin? Are they related? Does Mike Fortin have a financial interest in the proposed housing development that is less than a mile from the club?
We look forward to answers on these questions.
GOAL has learned that the Westminster Rod & Gun Club has been illegally forced to cease all range activities by the town’s zoning office because of noise complaints from a neighbor.
See note below from a Westminster club member. If you live in the area please attend the hearing on 4/20/17.
Like many clubs, their land is located within what is now residential zoning, but is grandfathered because the club predates the zoning laws.
One of the neighbors is demanding that club activities be ratcheted back to the level practiced at the time zoning came into effect in the 70’s. This, of course, is near impossible to quantify
There is a hearing scheduled for 4/20 – but in the meantime, the Zoning Enforcement Office aka Building Inspector, has shut things down, though I get the idea that he was reluctant to do so.
Take Action! Westminster residents – please attend the zoning board appeal meeting, scheduled for April 20 – 7:00 PM at the Westminster elementary school.
GOAL will update this post as information becomes available