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Selectmen want tighter agreement on rifle range.

Byline: Lynne Klaft

LANCASTER - After hearing complaints from residents, selectmen said last night they want a much more restrictive agreement with Clinton than the one proposed for the use of the former rifle range by the Clinton police.

"I want to be a good neighbor, but I want this agreement to be as strict as possible," said Selectman Christopher J. Williams, who said he had been getting calls and e-mails all day.

Chairman Jennifer B. Leone agreed, saying she wanted it to be "tight, with no wiggle room."

They described changes they wanted in the memorandum of understanding that was presented to the board last night. The proposed agreement between the two towns would allow Clinton police to use the rifle range at the 12.3-acre "Brandli" parcel in the South Meadow Pond area of Lancaster.

The Lancaster zoning enforcement officer ordered Clinton police to stop shooting at the range in September, and since then town officials, counsels and both police chiefs have been negotiating an agreement.

Clinton has appealed the cease-and-desist order with the Lancaster Zoning Board of Appeals, which will hear the case at the end of December if an agreement is not reached.

Selectmen said last night they want police to use the range only in October, rather than year-round, and only from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, not on Saturdays.

Among other changes, they want the right to random inspections by the zoning enforcement officer and legal consequences for any violations detected.

Three Clinton residents and one from Lancaster attended the meeting last night to voice their and their South Meadow Pond neighbors' opinions against the proposed agreement.

Former Lancaster Selectman David Dunn said, "This is pitting one town against another and putting it into the laps of the boards, who shouldn't be put in that position. We don't want people to say that our town didn't try to help the Police Department officers qualify, but there should be specific times and none of us should feel that their Police Department will retaliate against us."

"I think we are poking at Pandora's box and will be going from one problem to another, and who's going to police the police?" Clinton resident Dennis Parker asked.

He said Clinton police could just as easily use other, nearby shooting ranges.

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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 6, 2009
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