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Gun club neighbors’ complaints ring out

WEST POINT — Madison Township residents attended the township trustee meeting Wednesday to complain about the West Point Rod and Gun Club Turkey Shoots shooting range.

William Chuck and Victor Chuck asked trustees what they can do in regards to what they call a safety hazard the West Point Rod and Gun Club poses. They said the club does not use proper backing for their targets and that the club shoots towards a number of residential properties.

“We’ve had numerous conversation with them where they say they’re going to comply and then they don’t. They have no regard for anybody’s property, they think they can do what they want when they want,” said William.

William and Victor expressed safety concerns, and the two brothers supplied the trustees with a petition signed by approximately 50 people, reported they have gotten the Columbiana County sheriff involved in the matter and read Facebook comments from the club’s Facebook page. William also claimed a member of the club was trespassing on his property, because the club said it was a part of the club’s property.

“It’s a legitimate gun club, but you have trustees in that organization that do not want to comply with safety. I’m not out to shut this place down, we don’t want that, we just want it to be safe, and it’s not safe,” said Victor. “When they are shooting on Saturdays and Sundays my kids know they are not to leave our yard, and even then bullets are getting close.”

Madison Township trustees do not have jurisdictional power to create or enforce a resolution forcing the club to add safety measures. They said they will file the petition the residents brought. The trustees also said they would try to speak at one of the club’s meetings to express concerns and to see if any progress could be made that way.

The trustees also suggested hiring a lawyer to file a civil suit.

“I hate to say this but township government is very limited, it’s a shame, but there’s nothing the township can do legally,” said Trustee Chairman Wayne Chamberlain. “I do agree this is a nuisance. I don’t disagree with the gun club, but I disagree with what they are doing. We [the trustees] might be able to at least pass it further on with our dislikes and get some attention.”

After the meeting, an official with the West Point Rod and Gun Club responded that they are a certified member of the National Rifle Association of America, and are recognized as being in compliance with the bylaws and regulations of a gun club.

The club also said they follow all state and local rules and do not shoot during restricted hours.

They also added the Ohio Department of Natural Resources finished up with an abandoned mine project and are unable to used a portion of the club’s land for two years.

They have agreed to meet with Madison trustees at 9 a.m. Sunday.

In another matter, trustees announced they received a letter from Yellow Creek Township requesting Madison conduct a speed study on Hibbetts Mill Road where the South Field energy plant is being constructed. Bechtel had sent Yellow Creek a letter requesting they conduct the speed study, but Yellow Creek wants Madison to conduct the study because the construction site is mostly on the Madison Townships section of Hibbetts Mill. The trustees decided they will not conduct the speed study until Bechtel sends them the letter directly.

In other actions trustees sold the townships W14 loader for $4,500, and discussed needed road and culvert repairs.

The township’s road foreman announced the county’s chip and seal program has made it to Madison.

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