The Saugerties Town Planning Board approved an indoor shooting range proposed for the former American Candle building on Kings Highway with a few conditions: The mercury vapor lamps on the site should be replaced with metal halide. Five trees would be planted in the front of the property, with some reduction in parking. The shooting range would be a members-only facility, and would not host gun shows or include an outdoor firing range, the engineer for the project said.
Speaking at a Planning Board meeting Tuesday, Jan. 21, architect Matt Mason explained that the range would occupy about 35,000 square feet of the 100,000-square-foot building. The remainder could be office, warehouse or light manufacturing space, depending on potential lessees.
A public hearing on the project did not draw any speakers, but Planning Board members had a number of concerns, which Mason and building owner Art Green addressed.
At a prior meeting, Mason assured the board that weapons would be stored in a secure area, that he intends to use sound-deadening materials to ensure that noise is not a problem and that the building would be extensively renovated. A small park would be placed in an area formerly occupied by a small reservoir, which would no longer be needed because the facility would hook up to the Kings Highway water loop. The existing sprinkler system would also be modified to use municipal water.
The board’s concerns at the meeting Tuesday centered on landscaping, specifics on sound from the facility and the building’s run-down appearance. Some of the rusted siding panels would be replaced.
The sound level at the edge of the property would be no more than 65 decibels, well within the regulations, Mason said. “We would have to treat the interior of the building so that sound control is incorporated in the project to meet that level,” he said.
In response to a question, Mason explained that the section of the building housing the firearms training facility has a separate entrance; no one would need to go through the other parts of the building to get to it. There’s an existing concrete path, with lighting, leading from the parking lot to that section.
The site has more than enough parking to meet the requirements, Mason said. Based on the firing range and a reasonable prediction of the types of business that might use the rest of the building, some 87 parking spaces would be required. The plan calls for 93 spaces, more than enough.
Planning Board member Carole Furman said she recalled questions being raised about mold in the building and asked whether this has been remediated. “There is no existing mold in the building at this time,” Green said. “The building has been worked on over the last six years, and the problems in the ground, Phillips is remediating slowly. The interior of the building has no hazardous material.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tested and inspected the building, and found that it no longer contains hazardous materials. “They are still on the site,” he said. “They come every week, mainly testing the ground water.”
Board member Dan Weeks asked whether the facility would be in use on weekends. Green responded that it would be. “As a club, a lot of people – even the police agencies who we’re mainly dealing with – would be using the facility.”
The board also had questions about the proposed park, which would be between the two buildings on the site. There would not be any shooting or any outside events in the park area, Green assured the board members.
Planner Dan Shuster asked that the plans include additional trees along the front of the property.
Mason responded that given that the building is in an industrial zone, the number of existing trees seems sufficient. He also pointed out that the parking area is close to the highway, with a drainage swale between the lot and the road. “It certainly would not be appropriate to put trees in that swale,” he said. The other choice would be to put an island for planting within the parking area, which could reduce the number of parking spaces by ten. Chairman Howard Post suggested a compromise – a reduction of four parking spaces to provide some additional trees; the board agreed to ask that the plans include this change.
The building is something of an eyesore, Weeks said, with many of the panels rusted. Mason said the rusted panels would be replaced, and he felt the replacement panels could be a reasonable color match for the existing panels.
However, “Our plan is to paint the façade of the building,” Green said.