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Ramsey Attorney To Zoning Board: Was Gun Club Properly Approved?

Debra Sahler of Ramsey.
Debra Sahler of Ramsey. Photo Credit: Debra Sahler

RAMSEY, N.J. — Debra Sahler, a resident and attorney from Ramsey, has filed a notice requesting that the Zoning Board of Adjustment interpret the borough's zoning ordinances to determine if the Screaming Eagle Gun Club was properly given zoning approval.

The municipality approved the proposed use without having the matter vetted before the Zoning Board after the Ramsey zoning officer wrote a letter stating that the prospective purchaser can go right to the Planning Board.

The borough denied residents the opportunity to have the issue vetted as to whether a B-3 Commercial District permits a Gun Club, Sahler said.

By allowing the purchaser to bypass the Zoning Board, the community was denied the opportunity to have the zoning ordinances interpreted, she said.

"There was no final and binding decision rendered by the zoning board," Sahler said.

"Rather, the [borough] gave the prospective purchaser the go ahead with their application for a gun club. The matter was never before the proper Board. It should be before the zoning board for an interpretation of the ordinance."

According to counsel for the proposed purchaser of the Gun Club property, the use of the property would include:

  • 25 member shooting lanes
  • 42 non-member shooting lanes
  • a retail store
  • storage of firearms and ammunition
  • a restaurant; administrative offices
  • 6 training rooms
  • various lounges
  • bath facilities

According to the prospective purchaser, all of these uses would fall under the umbrella of Ramsey's undefined "club".

Sahler's notice for request for an interpretation explains that the term “Club/Fraternal Organizations" are permitted uses in the B-3 zone is undefined. The interpretation of the term and the permitted uses must go before the Board of Adjustment, the attorney said.

"It should not matter what business the applicant seeks to run at the location," Sahler said. "Zoning ordinances should be followed. The municipal land use law needs to be followed and this matter needs to be interpreted by a public board: the Zoning Board of Adjustment."

Sahler and Aparna Mulchandani, are running for two seats on Ramsey’s Borough Council. Sahler has served on the borough’s environmental commission for over three years. Mulchandani is a small business owner, who has lived in town for 17 years. She is active in local chambers of commerce.

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