Derry residents concerned about shooting on public, private land

By Bruce Frauman
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Community members voice their concern about the proliferation of gunshots. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

A half dozen Londonderry residents came to the Monday, July 17 Select Board meeting to asking the board for solutions to the increased use of firearms on the town-owned Prouty property and elsewhere in town.

Barbara Butts, who lives near the Prouty property on Route 100, said, “It is dangerous and its noisy and very annoying. It used to be once in a great while. This summer it is constant. Somebody is going to get hurt.”

Butt’s neighbor, Lee Ferguson, said, “I really don’t enjoy the sound of gunfire, like yesterday, constantly … for hours. And Barbara alerted me to where the target is and it is pointed to her property and my property. My animals are outside and it freaks the hell out of them as it does me.” She suggested moving the shooting to a licensed range.

Concerns about semi-automatic gunfire from midnight until 2 a.m. on Saturday near Lowell Lake Road were raised by Bette Genser. And another woman said she had complained to her neighbors about shooting on their property, but that they have since stopped.

Board chair Paul Gordon tells residents that the town has no jurisdiction in some incidents.

Board chair Paul Gordon said, “We don’t have any other tools we can use” to regulate use of firearms on private property. Board member Tom Cavanagh said shooters must be 100 yards away from a house and no shooting is allowed after dark. Gordon suggested residents call 911 or use the number for the Vermont State Police listed on the town website when they hear gunshots after dark.

Later in the meeting, the board discussed possible rules for the Prouty property, which will be the site of the new town salt and sand shed. Rules could include regulation of use of firearms and a ban on overnight camping.

Board member Jim Ameden said that previous owner Clyde Prouty did not want the land to be designated as a park, but envisioned many possible uses for municipal services. Ameden also said that the new salt and sand shed should curb some of the activity now being discussed.

Board member Bob Forbes said that while the land is not being used for municipal services, other uses such as access to the river are welcomed. Planning Commission chair Sharon Crossman suggested designating parts of the land as motorized and non-motorized uses. She cited the West River Trail as an example of non-motorized uses only.

While the board took no action on this issue, it indicated it will be a continuing process.

Animal control issue comes up again

Board member George Mora addresses the owner of a goat killed by a dog.

In other news, Thomas Hutchins, a renter whose goat was killed by a dog a month ago, and the landlord appeared before the board to ask that some action be taken to remove the dog from the property. The dog is owned by a couple who are residing on the landlord’s land. Hutchins said the dog had bitten others, including people, five times.

Gordon said this was the first the board had heard of the other bites. Board member George Mora said that a dog on private property was not under town jurisdiction. The land owner said she did not give permission to the owner to bring the dog to her property. Gordon said that it was her responsibility, but that the dog owners will be fined for not having the dog licensed.

Hutchins also told the board that their goat only had three legs and that at the time of the attack it was on a chain and could not have been  “running around” as Animal Control Officer Pat Salo had said. He earlier had told The Telegraph that the goat was bitten on the neck and died of a blood infection.

Tax rates drop etc.

School board member Dick Dale explains why the school tax rate dropped.

The board approved the tax rates for 2017 as proposed by Treasurer Tina Labeau. The new municipal tax rate for residents and non-residents is .3213 cents per $100 valuation, a reduction from last year’s rate of .3351.

The 2017 education tax rate for residents is 1.3761, down from 1.5662 in 2016. The 2017 non-resident education tax rate is 1.5012, down from 1.5219 in 2016. Taconic and Green Board of Education member Dick Dale said the decrease in the education rate was due to the formation of the new consolidated school district.

  • Gordon said that Bruce Genereaux, the developer of the Route 11 solar array seen from Thompsonburg Road, that the landscaping has been completed and the pine trees, as they grow, will shield the array from road view.
  • He also said that people were seen throwing two mattresses over the gate of the Transfer Station, were tracked down by Vermont State Police and will be fined for littering.
  • Member George Mora said that someone posted on the Londonderry Community Forum that the town was spraying herbicide along  town roads. Road Foreman Matthew Rawson said this was not true, and Mora said that Jeff Duda said (that he saw someone) that he was painting lines on the roads at the time of the complaint, explaining the mystery.  (Labeau said later that the state paints the road lines for the town.)
  • The board approved issuing Requests for Proposals to begin construction of the salt and sand shed, with bids due at noon on Aug. 21. Gordon said the breakdown is “site preparation and ground work, concrete work, the framing of the siding and roofing, some minor electrical work, and the paving of the floor and the pads.”
  • The board approved a contract for the sale of the former Frogs Leap Inn property for $255,000 of which the town will receive $235,000. Gordon said the closing date is July 28 to “ensure that the inhabitant is gone from the property by that time.”
  • Town Administrator Stephanie Thompson said she is still waiting for a date for asbestos mitigation for the former Genser property.
  • And a bid of $4,184 was accepted from Glebe Mountain Gardens for the landscaping of 434 Main St., a FEMA buyout property. The bid included donated materials and labor from Glebe Mountain Gardens and others, that will include topsoil, wildflower seeds and a bench.
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  1. Raymond Makul says:

    Hiram Percy Maxim invented the firearms sound suppressor, often mistakenly called a “silencer” for the purpose of reducing sound from firearms. Unfortunately, the public now associates the use of “silencers” with organized crime, and assassins. And such sound suppressors are separately regulated under federal law. There are proposals to make it less onerous for firearms owners to own and use these devices. “Silencer” is a misnomer, as the firearm is never made silent. Rather, it makes the shots not as loud.

    Where sub-sonic ammunition can be used, there is also less noise from discharging a firearm.