An indoor shooting range could soon be coming to the old American Candle factory building that has in recent years become an eyesore for travelers on the Thruway or Kings Highway.
The indoor shooting range would occupy the rear portion of a 35,000 square building, said Matt Mason, who brought the proposal in front of the Town Planning Board on Dec. 17.
“We hope to provide a place where local hunters can get some safety training,” he said. “Local police agencies would be able to come in and conduct their training off hours.”
Mason says he wants to put safety first and that his range would meet and exceed all state and federal regulations.
“All pistols would be stored on-site in a secure area,” he said. “All ammunition will be secured in way that is compliant with all regulations.”
He also noted that a lack of residential neighbors and the proximity of the US Army Reserve facility makes this site a good fit for this type of use.
He also reassured the board that soundproofing measures would ensure that no gunshot sounds would be audible at the property line.
The project would also see a former fire reservoir (made obsolete by a planned hookup to the new town water main on King’s Highway) turned into a small park area. An old water tower also made obsolete, would be retained possibly for communications purposes.
If this proposal comes to be, it would mark the third tenant to move onto the former Philips site owned by Arthur Green, joining Kapsch’s E-ZPass test track and Spinnenweber Supply’s soon-to-open pipe yard, which are located directly across King’s Highway.
Green plans a series of upgrades to the site that include extensive renovations to the building inside and out. Green plans to fix up the portion of the building that is not being used by the shooting range for small offices that will be rented out at a later date.
Parking lots would also be redone, Green said.
Green told the board he’s in talks with Central Hudson about reactivating an abandoned natural gas line and bringing back gas service to the Kings Highway corridor.
“Central Hudson says they’ll bring the gas back if this project goes forward,” he said.
Overall the board was cautiously optimistic about the proposal.
Chair Howard Post noted that local hunters could use more training. He says he would be happy to see improvements to this building, and that an indoor shooting range would be a good use for this building.
At the same time, Post doesn’t want to see a repeat of other failures at this site.
Paul Andreassen said that while he is excited to see a proposal to bring this long-vacant building back to life, he wants to be sure that all firearms and ammunition would be properly secured and that the building inspector is qualified to ensure compliance with State and Federal firearms regulations.
He cautioned Green and Mason to be careful about lighting and landscaping, noting that the Ulster County Planning Board is often very particular about these things. (Due to its location on a county road, the proposal also has to be approved by the County Planning Board.)
Member Dan Weeks was particularly concerned about the noise generated at the site and proposed a special requirement for noise to be limited to 65 decibels outside the building.
After much discussion, the board decided against this restriction, instead relying on the 75-decibel at the property line requirement in the zoning code.
Weeks also wants Mason and Green to be absolutely sure that all walls are bulletproof. “We don’t want any stray bullets going out towards the Thruway,” he said.
The board also wanted to be certain that there would be no gun shows, which would not be in compliance with the town’s zoning law in this area. Mason ensured them this was a “member’s only” facility with no plans for gun shows.