Rules change requested for shooting gallery

NAUGATUCK — The Zoning Commission will hold a hearing next month to discuss changing zoning regulations so that an indoor shooting range and recreation center could be built on Webb Road.

Shelton real estate agent Roger Spinelli wants to build an indoor shooting and archery range in a 40,000-square-foot building that would also be used for paintball and indoor soccer, said attorney Thomas B. Lynch of Lynch Trembicki Boynton in Milford, who represents Spinelli.

Spinelli is one of the owners of Long Meadow Brook, a company that owns 32 acres at 230 Webb Road where the center would be located. The property is in an I-2 zone, which means it has been set aside for light industry that creates little noise and pollution.

Under current zoning regulations, Spinelli would not be allowed to build the recreation center in an I-2 zone. The zoning commission will examine changing the regulations to allow building indoor shooting and archery ranges, bowling alleys and billiard halls in an I-2 zone provided the owner obtains a special permit first.

Across the street from the proposed recreation center on Webb Road are houses in a residential zone. Spinelli’s building would be soundproof and set back from the road, Lynch said, adding that the proposal is in its preliminary stages and Spinelli has not yet developed a site plan.

“We feel that certainly it will meet all the requirements, which the site plan process requires,” Lynch said.

The planning commission recently gave the proposal to change the regulations a positive referral back to the zoning commission. The zoning commission is required to hold a hearing before changing regulations. The commission next meets Jan. 19, but Lynch said the hearing is being scheduled for the commission’s February meeting.

Spinelli’s land is a mildly contaminated parcel that used to hold The Eastern Company, an industrial hardware manufacturer now located on Bridge Street.

“It’s been sitting fallow for, God, forever,” Planning Commission Vice Chairman Robert Pease said. “They’re proposing to take this relatively undevelopable piece of land and put something positive in it.”

Neighbors said they did not know much about the plan to build the shooting range.

“If it’s indoors, it doesn’t really bother me that much, I guess,” Nathaniel Baker, 26, of 389 Webb Road said. “I assume they’ll follow safety procedures.”

Baker said he would prefer the facility be accessed from Rubber Avenue.

“If it was going to cause more traffic, that would be annoying,” Baker said.