RANSOM TWP. – The township supervisors have set a March 3 deadline for a developer to submit land development plans for a proposed shooting range.
The proposal was originally submitted in June 2010, but progress has been continuously delayed. The proposal from Ransom Recreational Shooting Sports LLC aims to to construct a 600-acre gun range on Ransom Road. The plans include a long-range precision rifle range, a police range and safety training for hunters.
“I think this should be the final extension,” Supervisor William Brown said at a special meeting Aug. 20, after the board voted unanimously to set the March deadline. The decision was forwarded to the supervisors following a Ransom planning commission meeting held Aug. 19.
If the plans are not submitted by then, the project will be quashed, said township solicitor Edmund J. Scacchitti.
This is the third extension granted by the township.
“This has been a cat-and-mouse game from the start,” said Supervisor David Bird. “We’re gaining no ground on this.”
Bird said it is vital that the project engineer get together with the township engineer to smooth out some of the issues, the largest being the width of the driveway. The shooting range’s representative, Andy Massimilian, said the township’s mandate of a 20-foot wide driveway is excessive.
“We’re not going to build for 20 feet – it’s too expensive,” Massimilian told the supervisors, adding that his plan calls for a 16-foot wide driveway but he is open to a compromise.
Brown said he doesn’t believe 20 feet is excessive. “You don’t know what kind of vehicles will be coming down there,” he said, noting the possibility of emergency situations.
Another issue is a pipeline that runs through the property, carrying gasoline, heating oil and kerosene, among other fuels. The pipeline, owned by Buckeye Partners LP, is underground but is still a concern to the supervisors.
Bird said he would like something in writing from Buckeye that would relieve the township in the event of an emergency. “We have to protect our people,” said the supervisor.
A letter from Buckeye read aloud at a meeting in May stated the company intended to deal privately with Ransom Recreational Shooting Sports on the matter and does not wish interference from the township.
Despite the delays, Massimilian assured the supervisors the project will move forward. The next step is for him to get the development and grading plans to the township planning commission. He said he’d like to start building the facility in the spring.
“We’re not walking away from that development,” Massimilian said. “We’ll get this done one way or another.”