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Township of Lower Frederick, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Lower Frederick Township 2-7-2006 by Ord. No. 06-03. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ADMINISTRATOR
The Township Manager for Lower Frederick, or his or her successor. The Township Manager may delegate his or her duties under this chapter to another official of the Township.
OPERATOR
The operating license applicant and any of its officers, directors, partners, or owners.
PUBLIC SAFETY AUTHORITY
The Lower Frederick Police Department and Lower Frederick Fire Department or delegate agencies as named by the Chief of Police or Fire Chief, respectively.
RANGE
Any individual or group of firing positions for a specific shooting type.
RANGE MASTER or RANGE OFFICER
A person or persons trained and appointed by the operators of a shooting sports facility to oversee the safe discharge of shotguns, rifles, or handguns in accordance with the safety specifications of this chapter and any additional safety specifications that may be adopted by the operators of the shooting sports facility.
SHOOTING SPORTS FACILITY
An indoor or outdoor facility designed and specifically delineated for safe shooting practice with firearms, whether open to the public, open only to private membership, open to organizational training such as law enforcement, or any combination of the above. Archery ranges are specifically excluded from this definition. The term "shooting sports facility" also does not include any portion of a private residence or private residential lot that is used by the residents thereof for shooting practice.
SHOOTING TYPES
A weapon used in the propulsion of shot, shell, bullet or any other object by the action of gunpowder or other explosive powder, excluding compressed gas or air.
A. 
The operators of all existing shooting sports facilities shall apply for an operating license no later than three months from the effective date of this chapter.
B. 
The operator of each new shooting sports facility shall apply for an operating license at the time of application for building permits or land use permits necessary for the new facility. The application shall be made on a form prescribed by the Administrator and shall include all of the following information:
(1) 
The name, address, and telephone number of the person completing the application;
(2) 
The name, address, and telephone number of the facility;
(3) 
The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all owners of the facility. If the owner is a partnership, the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all partners. If the owner is a corporation, the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all corporate officers;
(4) 
The name, address, and telephone number of a designated contact person to whom all licensing correspondence, including any notices and complaints provided for in this chapter, shall be sent. It is the responsibility of the shooting sports facility to keep this contact information updated in writing throughout the duration of any license and the owners and operators agree, by submitting an application and obtaining a license, that notice to the contact person at the last address provided to the Administrator in writing is proper notice to the owners and operators of the facility;
(5) 
The shooting types allowed or proposed to be allowed at the facility;
(6) 
The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all persons proposed to serve as designated range masters in compliance with § 125-7G;
(7) 
The days of the week and the hours of operation that the facility is or is proposed to be open;
(8) 
Whether use of the facility will be open to the public, open only to private membership, open to organizational training such as law enforcement, or any combination of the above;
(9) 
The site plan required by § 125-7C showing the location of all buildings, parking areas, and access points; safety features of the facility; elevations of any outdoor range showing target areas, backdrops or butts; and the approximate location of buildings on adjacent properties;
(10) 
The notarized certification required by § 125-2C;
(11) 
The operations plan required by § 125-7D; and
(12) 
Any other information reasonably required by the Administrator in order to determine whether the facility complies with the provisions of this chapter and may be issued a license. The applicant shall also pay the nonrefundable application fee and license fee established by this chapter at the time of application.
C. 
Every application for a shooting sports facility operating license shall be accompanied by a notarized certification by the shooting sports facility operator that the facility complies with this chapter, meets shooting facility safety and design practices as outlined in the National Rifle Association Range Source Book and as required by this chapter, and will be operated in a manner that protects the safety of the general public.
D. 
Upon receipt of an application for a shooting sports facility operating license, the Administrator will make a determination as to whether or not such application is complete. If the application is not complete, the applicant shall be so notified and the application shall not be processed further until such time as the applicant completes it. When the application is complete, the Administrator will forward copies of the same to the Public Safety Authority, the Township Planning and Community Development Department, and any other Township department or Township personnel deemed appropriate by the Administrator in order to determine whether the shooting sports facility meets the requirements of this chapter and any other applicable Township ordinance or regulation. Each consulted department or staff member shall review the application for compliance with regulations administered by that department or staff member and shall forward a report to the Administrator containing the results of that review.
E. 
By applying for and as a condition of issuance of a shooting sports facility operating license, the shooting sports facility operator agrees to permit representatives of the Public Safety Committee and any other appropriate Township personnel to enter the facility at all reasonable times in order to perform site inspections in regard to licensure, complaints, incidents, or any public safety concerns. Prior notification of such inspections will be to the operator when reasonably possible.
F. 
The Administrator shall issue a shooting sports facility operating license upon determining that the facility meets the requirements of this chapter and other applicable Township ordinances and regulations. The Administrator shall make that determination after receiving the reports of the Public Safety Committee and other consulted Township departments and Township personnel and only if the Public Safety Committee and such consulted departments and personnel determine that the application and the facility are in full compliance with this chapter and any other applicable Township ordinances or regulations. The license shall ordinarily be issued within 90 days of the filing of a complete application. Failure to issue the license within the ninety-day period shall not mean that the license is approved. In the event that the Administrator is unable to issue the license within the ninety-day time period, the Administrator shall provide a report to the Township Council stating the reasons why the license will not or has not been issued within the prescribed time. The report shall also provide an estimate of time for completion of the licensing process.
G. 
The shooting sports facility operating license issued under this chapter shall authorize only those shooting types that have been specifically applied for and that are identified in the license. The addition of new shooting types or the addition of a new range or ranges for existing shooting types at a shooting sports facility shall require amendment of the existing license before any such new shooting type is allowed. The list of designated range masters may be changed at any time without requiring a license amendment. Whenever a change is made to the list of range masters, a revised list must be filed with the Administrator within 30 days of the date of any change. The process for amending a license shall be the same as the process for initial issuance of a license.
(1) 
This section shall not relieve the applicant of any obligation to obtain any other required business license, land use, fire safety, or building permits or approvals, except shooting sports facilities in operation prior to the effective date of this chapter shall not be required to seek new land use, fire safety or building permits solely for issuance of a license.
H. 
This chapter shall not apply to shooting sports facilities owned and operated by any instrumentality of the United States, State of Pennsylvania, or a political subdivision of the State of Pennsylvania.
No shooting sports facility shall operate without a license issued pursuant to this chapter, provided that shooting sports facilities operating on the effective date of this chapter that have submitted required license applications before this same date may continue to operate without a Lower Frederick Township shooting sports facility license pending approval or denial of the license application under § 125-2. All such operation shall be conducted in compliance with § 125-7, Operating standards and specifications. Such operation shall cease upon denial of the license application and exhaustion of any administrative or judicial appeals.
A. 
The Administrator may deny, suspend or revoke any license issued under this chapter if the applicant or any of its officers, directors, partners, or members have violated any of the provisions of this chapter, or if the information supplied by any applicant in connection with any license issuance, inspection, or renewal under this chapter is determined to be false or to have been a misrepresentation. Whenever the Administrator denies, suspends, or revokes any license under this chapter, written notice of the same shall be provided to the designated contact person for the shooting sports facility by certified or regular mail. The notice shall specify the grounds for the denial, suspension, or revocation. If said notice is sent by regular mail, the notice shall be deemed received three days after the same is deposited in the United States mail, postage prepaid, correctly addressed to the contact person. If said notice is sent by certified mail, the notice shall be deemed received when signed for, or if the contact person fails or refuses to sign for the same, the notice shall be deemed received three days after the same is deposited in the United States mail, postage prepaid, correctly addressed to the contact person.
B. 
If the Lower Frederick Township Police Department, or its successor, determines that any participant, spectator, neighboring property or member of the public has been injured or endangered as a result of range design, operation or management of shooting activities or that rounds shot at the facility have escaped the property on which the shooting sports facility is located, the Administrator may immediately suspend or revoke any shooting sports facility license issued pursuant to this chapter. Reinstatement or reissuance of any license suspended or revoked pursuant to the provisions of this chapter will be contingent on review and determination by the Administrator that the shooting sports facility operator has made sufficient and appropriate modifications to the design or operation of the facility to reasonably address the specific deficiencies found to have contributed to the injury, endangerment, or escaped rounds.
A nonrefundable application and license fee of $100 shall be charged for review and processing of the initial application for the shooting sports facility operating license and for each renewal application.
A. 
An initial shooting sports facility operating license shall be valid upon issuance and shall continue in effect for a period of four years from the date on which it is issued, unless suspended or revoked as provided in this chapter. The shooting sports facility operating license and the facility's business license shall be reviewed and renewed every four years thereafter, and the renewed license shall be valid for a period of four years from the date the previous license expires, unless suspended or revoked as provided in this chapter. New shooting types and new ranges for existing shooting types shall not be permitted until authorized by a new or amended license. Applications for license renewal shall be made in writing on forms prescribed by the Administrator and shall include the information required by this chapter or the Administrator for an initial license. Renewal applications shall be accompanied by the nonrefundable application and license fee established by this chapter. Included with the renewal application shall be an affirmative written statement that the existing operations plan of the shooting sports facility (which has been approved by the Public Safety Authority) is still in force and effect, or a copy of a modified operations plan with changes highlighted.
B. 
Applications for renewal shall be made at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the existing license. The process for renewal of a shooting sports facility operating license shall be the same as for initial application, provided that the Township shall not require the applicant to pay for consultants or investigators to review the renewal application or inspect the facility unless: 1) the applicant is proposing changes in the facility, the facility site plan, the required operations plan, or the allowed shooting types as part of the license renewal; or 2) the Administrator determines that inspection or review by consultants is required in order to verify compliance with changes in state, federal or local laws pertaining to the shooting sports facility or its operation; or 3) there was a final determination by the Administrator, the hearing examiner, or a court during the expiring term of the license, that the shooting sports facility violated any provision of this chapter during such term or that an injury or endangerment of property occurred or a round escaped the facility during such term as the result of the facility's design, construction, operation, or maintenance.
All shooting sports facilities licensed under this chapter shall comply with the following operating standards and specifications:
A. 
All structures, installations, operations, and activities shall be located at such a distance from property lines as will protect off-site properties from hazards when the ranges are used in accordance with range safety rules and practices.
B. 
Range site design features and safety procedures shall be installed and maintained to prevent errant rounds from escaping all shooting positions when such positions are used in accordance with range safety rules and practices.
C. 
A site plan shall be submitted with the license application which shows the location of all buildings, parking areas and access points; safety features of the firing range; elevations of the range showing target area, backdrops or butts; and approximate location of buildings on adjoining properties. The site plan shall also include the location of all hazardous material storage and use locations.
D. 
An operations plan shall be submitted that includes the rules for each range, sign-in procedures, and restrictions on activities in the use of ranges. Every operations plan shall prohibit loaded firearms except as provided by the range safety specifications and operating procedures.
E. 
A management guidebook shall be maintained that includes procedures for operations, maintenance, and lead management and recovery. The management guidebook shall be kept on site and shall be accessible at all times to those using the shooting sports facility.
F. 
The shooting sports facility, its plans, its specifications, its rules, its procedures, and its management and staff shall comply with the applicable safety guidelines and provisions in the latest edition of The Range Source Book (National Rifle Association of America: Fairfax, Virginia) or its successor, as appropriate to the type of facility involved.
G. 
All shooting sports facilities shall have a designated range master or masters. A designated range master must be present whenever the shooting sports facility is open for shooting activities and may oversee as many as three simultaneous events within a shooting sports facility. The range master shall be trained in shooting safety, the safe operation of shooting sports facilities, first aid, and the facility's emergency response procedures.
H. 
Warning signs shall be installed and maintained along the shooting sports facility property lines. Such signs shall be posted a minimum of every 100 feet along the property lines.
I. 
Shooting sports facilities shall be used for the shooting activities they were designed to accommodate unless redesigned to safely accommodate new shooting activities according to provisions in the latest edition of The Range Source Book.
J. 
The shooting sports facility operator shall report in writing to the Lower Frederick Police Department all known on-site and off-site gunshot wounds resulting from activity at the shooting sports facility and any measures that are proposed to address any deficiencies that may have contributed to the wounds. The report shall be made within forty-eight hours after the existence of the gunshot wound or wounds becomes known to the operator. The Lower Frederick Police Department will forward such information to the Administrator for consideration in connection with any licensing action.
K. 
The shooting sports facility operator shall report in writing to the Lower Frederick Police Department all known rounds that escape from the property on which the shooting sports facility is located and any measures that are proposed to address any deficiencies that may have contributed to the errant rounds. The report shall be made within forty-eight hours of the time the existence of an alleged or acknowledged escaped round or rounds becomes known to the operator. The Lower Frederick Police Department will forward such information to the Administrator for consideration in connection with any licensing action.
L. 
All shooting sports facilities shall provide an operating telephone available to range participants and spectators for the purpose of contacting emergency medical services.
M. 
A first-aid kit containing the items recommended by a certified expert in emergency medical treatment shall be readily available at each shooting sports facility for emergency treatment or care of minor injuries.
N. 
No alcohol, nonprescription narcotics, or other nonprescription controlled substances shall be permitted on or in use at any shooting sports facility during any time that the facility is open for shooting.
O. 
The use of steel targets at a shooting sports facility is strictly prohibited.
P. 
No automatic weapons or multiple projectile rounds may be used at a shooting sports facility unless under the control and use of a licensed official of the United States, State of Pennsylvania, or a political subdivision of the State of Pennsylvania in an official capacity, provided that multiple projectile rounds customarily associated with shotgun use, e.g., buckshot and birdshot, may be used if the downrange area guidelines for such use set forth in the latest edition of The Range Source Book (National Rifle Association of America: Fairfax, Virginia), or its successor, are met on that portion of the facility where the rounds are used and the facility has been licensed for shotgun use as provided in this chapter.
Q. 
All shooting sports facilities are required to have gated fencing surrounding the entire property a minimum of six feet in height. This does not apply to indoor ranges.
The express intent of the Lower Frederick Board of Supervisors is that responsibility for complete and accurate preparation of applications, plans and specifications, for compliance with applicable laws, including but not limited to those set forth in this chapter, and for safe design, construction, use and operation of facilities regulated herein shall rest exclusively with applicants and their agents. This chapter and the codes adopted herein are intended to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public and are not intended to protect any particular class of individuals or organizations. This chapter shall not be construed as placing responsibility for code compliance or enforcement upon Township or any officer, employee or agent of Lower Frederick. Application review and inspections conducted pursuant to this chapter are intended to determine whether a shooting sports facility is in compliance with the requirements of this chapter. However, those inspections and reviews that are done do not guarantee or assure either that any design, construction, use or operation complies with applicable laws or that the facility is safely designed, constructed, used or operated. Nothing in this chapter is intended to create any private right of action based upon noncompliance with any of the requirements of this chapter.
A. 
Upon receiving a written complaint to the effect that any shooting sports facility is in violation of any provision of this chapter, the Administrator shall:
(1) 
Issue a notice of complaint to the shooting sports facility operator advising such person of the allegation(s) made in the complaint. The notice shall be sent to the designated contact person by certified mail and may be sent by regular mail as well. The notice shall be deemed received when signed for, or if the contact person fails or refuses to sign for the same, the notice shall be deemed received three days after the same is deposited in the United States mail, postage prepaid, correctly addressed to the contact person;
(2) 
Request the shooting sports facility operator to respond, in writing, to the allegation(s) in the notice of complaint within 30 days of receipt of the notice of complaint;
(3) 
Investigate the allegation(s) in the written complaint and the response submitted by the shooting sports facility operator;
(4) 
Make a finding as to the validity of the allegation(s) in the written complaint, based upon information received from those conducting the investigation of the complaint. If it is found that violation of any of the shooting sports facility operating standards or any other provision of this chapter has occurred, the Administrator shall issue a written notice and order requiring that the operator suggest and implement measures or procedures to correct any violations of this chapter and to bring the shooting sports facility into full compliance. If a notice and order is issued, the Administrator shall provide the shooting sports facility with a copy of any and all final written reports prepared by Township personnel, consultants, and/or investigators concerning the investigation of the complaint, except as any portion thereof may be exempt from public disclosure.
B. 
The notice and order issued under Subsection A may suspend or revoke the license of the shooting sports facility if the requirements of § 125-4B, Denial, suspension or revocation of license, are met.
C. 
Failure to comply with the notice and order issued as a result of the above process will result in the suspension and/or revocation of the license involved. Such suspension/revocation will last one year from the date the license is surrendered.
D. 
If the Administrator concludes that the complaint is accurate, that it discloses a violation of this chapter, and that the operator has not proposed or effectively implemented measures or procedures to correct any violations of this chapter; the Administrator may revoke a license issued under this chapter.
E. 
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the Administrator's authority to issue a notice and order or take such enforcement or investigative actions needed to protect the public's health and safety.
A. 
The Administrator may hire consultant(s) or investigators to:
(1) 
Review license applications and license renewals under this chapter;
(2) 
Inspect properties on which applications for licenses and license renewals have been made under this chapter;
(3) 
Inspect facilities licensed under this chapter to determine if they comply with this chapter and approved licenses and plans;
(4) 
Investigate, in cooperation with the Lower Frederick Police Department, complaints, incidents, and reports of injury or endangerment of persons or property, or of rounds escaping the facility;
(5) 
Review and investigate proposals to bring facilities into compliance with the chapter.
B. 
The license applicant shall deposit the sum of $5,000 with the Administrator at the same time as an application is made for an initial license under this chapter. The deposit shall be used by the Township to pay the cost of consultant(s) and investigator(s) employed by the Township to perform inspections, reviews, and investigations during the initial licensing process. If the application is withdrawn prior to completion of the initial licensing process or if the license is denied after completion of the said process, any unexpended deposit shall be refunded to the applicant. If the license is issued, the unexpended portion of the deposit shall be retained by the Township in order to pay the potential costs of consultant(s) and investigator(s) during the term of the license as provided in § 125.10C.
C. 
If, during the term of any license issued under this chapter, a complaint filed under § 125-9 results in the determination by the Administrator that the operator of any shooting sports facility has violated any provision of this chapter, the Township may use any unexpended portion of the deposit provided for above in order to reimburse the Township for any and all actual and reasonable costs of consultant(s) and investigator(s) retained by the Township to review the complaint. Where an alleged violation is investigated and determined to be unfounded, the shooting sports facility shall not be responsible for the costs incurred by the Township.
D. 
At the time an application for the renewal of any license under this chapter is submitted, the applicant for the renewal shall replenish the consultant expense deposit provided for in this section so that the total amount of the deposit is returned to the five-thousand-dollar level. Use of the deposit during the renewal process and during the term of any renewed license shall be subject to the same procedures and restrictions as are provided in this section for use of the deposit during the initial application process and initial license term.
E. 
Notwithstanding the participation of other Township departments and Township personnel, and notwithstanding any information or advice received from any consultant, the Board of Supervisors shall retain full authority for determining whether a shooting sports facility is in compliance with this chapter and any other applicable Township ordinance or regulation. In exercising that authority, the Board may consider expert consultant advice, professional knowledge, and any or all other information available regarding shooting ranges and shooting sports facilities, but shall not be bound by any such advice, knowledge or information in any specific case.
A. 
Any person aggrieved by the Administrator's decision to approve, condition, or deny an application required by this chapter or to suspend or revoke an application under the chapter may file an appeal of such decision. Any such appeal must be filed in writing with the Administrator within 10 days from the date the Administrator's decision is received or deemed received by the designated contact person.
B. 
Upon receipt of an appeal, the Administrator shall forward the same to the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors shall schedule and hold a hearing on the appeal within 45 days following the Administrator's receipt of the appeal. During the pendency of the hearing and until final action is taken by the Board of Supervisors as provided herein, the Administrator's decision shall be stayed, provided that the Board of Supervisors may, at the request of the Administrator, order the shooting sports facility to cease operations pending the appeal hearing if the Board of Supervisors determines that ceasing operations is necessary to prevent an imminent danger to the public health or safety. At the appeal hearing, both the applicant or licensee and the Administrator shall be entitled to be represented and to present evidence. Upon completion of the hearing, the Board of Supervisors shall:
(1) 
Accept the Administrator's decision as presented; or
(2) 
Overturn the decision of the Administrator and either issue its own decision based upon the record or hold additional hearing or hearings for the taking of additional evidence; or
(3) 
Modify the Administrator's decision based upon the record made before the Board.
C. 
Appeal from a decision of the Board of Supervisors under this section shall be to the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas and must be filed and served within 30 days after the decision of the Board.
D. 
In the event that the applicant or licensee fails to appeal the Administrator's decision within the time periods provided in this section, the decision shall be final.
E. 
Whenever any license issued under this chapter is suspended or revoked, the shooting sports facility operator shall immediately return said license to the Administrator. Notification of such suspension shall be posted at all entrances to the shooting sports facility and all shooting locations on signs of at least 20 inches by 20 inches. No shooting may occur at the facility during the term of suspension.
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding brought before a District Justice under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution. In default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days. Each day or portion thereof that such violation continues or is permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense, and each section of this chapter that is violated shall constitute a separate offense.
Should any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter be declared unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion of this chapter.