Laberge firing range case heard by the Vermont Supreme Court

While the donations make it easier to operate the range, it’s not necessary for them to collect the donations.”
   ~ Hans Huessey, Representing Laberge Farm

The case against the Laberge Farm firing range has reached the ears of the Vermont Supreme Court. 

Located on Lime Kilm Road, the farm has been the focus of many disputes among neighbors, who complain about the unregulated noise levels of the range. On July 26, the Court heard arguments regarding whether the firing range should continue to be exempt from Act 250. Act 250, according to the Vermont Official State Website, exists to ensure that “larger developments complement Vermont’s unique landscape, economy, and community needs.” The Act provides community members the opportunity to participate in the review process. 

The case first began in 2015, when the Neighborhood Group, those living near the range, filed a request for a jurisdictional opinion. However, despite the efforts by the community, the Supreme Court announced on Friday that the range would continue to operate without an Act 250 Land Use review. 

The farm has been operating a firing range in its fields since the 1950s and is frequented by many. Hans Huessey, representing Laberge Farm, said that almost every police force in Chittenden County uses the Laberge farm as a practicing range, as does the University of Vermont shooting team.

At the entrance to the range sits a donation box that, according to the court papers, brings in as much as $20,000 in donations per year. 

“While the donations make it easier to operate the range, it’s not necessary for them to collect the donations,” said Huessey during the court hearing on the 26. “Even if you take down the donation box, the activity at the farm would be the same.” 

Since the decision was announced by the Court, the Laberge family has declined to comment. The Neighborhood Group has released a statement saying they were “deeply disappointed and surprised” regarding the ruling. However, they are still reviewing the possibility of further legal action. 

A spokesperson for the Group said, “In the meantime, despite the decision, we do hope that the Laberge family will consider placing reasonable limits on the noise impact of the firing range on surrounding neighbors.”