Court Decision 74 Village Hill Road

UPDATE RE:  ZBA DECISION CONCERNING SHOOTING AT 74 VILLAGE HILL ROAD

The ZBA’s 2017 decision restricting shooting activity on the property located at 74 Village Hill
Road was appealed to the court by the property owners.  As due process and constitutional violations were alleged the appeal was initially transferred to the U.S. District Court in Springfield.  That court summarily dismissed all claims relating to Second Amendment rights and due process violations. 

Issues concerning land use under our Zoning Bylaws were referred back to the Massachusetts Superior Court in Northampton.

In a decision dated December 3rd, 2019 that court held the restrictions set forth in the 2017 ZBA decision are unenforceable.  Relying on a Massachusetts law protecting property owners from liability based upon noise and noise pollution emanating from a shooting range the judge stated that “it is abundantly clear that the driving purpose behind the ZBA’s imposed conditions was to respond to the neighbor’s complaints regarding the noise coming from the property”.

However, based upon the testimony of two neighbors and the record of testimony at the hearings, the judge recognized the major change of use of the property and stated that the prohibition against restrictions based on noise does not limit the imposition of restrictions and conditions relating to safety.

The matter was sent back to the ZBA to hold another hearing (the 4th) to justify the restrictions based upon safety concerns.  Issues relating to noise cannot be considered.  A date and time will be announced for the hearing in the near future.  We invite you to attend the hearing and we will welcome your feedback at that time.