Restrictions in West Seneca's town code prevented the town's Planning Board from moving forward Thursday on a proposal to develop a 27,000-square-foot indoor public gun range on North America and Ransier drives, according to Shawn P. Martin, town attorney.

A request for a special permit made by Ransier Development Corp. to change the zoning classification of the parcel where it plans to build the indoor shooting range designed for long gun, pistol and bow target practice was tabled by the Planning Board just minutes after a hastily called executive session.

“Issues regarding firearms are specifically reserved to the Town Board,” said Martin, explaining that current prohibitions in Section 74 of the town's code would legally restrict any action the Planning Board could have taken Thursday.

According to Section 74: “All persons, firms, corporations or associations are hereby prohibited ... within ... the town of West Seneca from using and discharging any firearms unless the same be by permission granted in writing by the town board.” Offenders would be guilty of a violation, the code stipulates, and punishable by a fine up to $250 or 15 days in jail for each offense.

As quickly as the agenda item came to the floor, members of the Planning Board, Martin and the petitioners from Ransier retreated outside of the public meeting. When they returned, Planning Board members tabled the measure without any further discussion.

“This issue is going to be addressed at Monday's Town Board meeting,” explained Martin without elaborating.

It appeared that Planning Board members were advised they were precluded from granting any such approval on the issue before them Thursday without express permission for firearm use granted by the Town Board.

It remained unclear whether that permission would need to be granted only to the developer and owners of the range or to each and every public patron using it.

Those were issues that town officials said they'd need to hammer out in the coming days.

Among the Town Board's options at Monday's meeting could be expressly granting that permission to Ransier to operate the gun range or amending Sec. 74 and any other pertinent sections of the town code with respect to discharging firearms.

If the project does advance, the range would be only the second indoor public gun range in Erie County. The first is currently under construction on Walden Avenue in Depew. Both would join the ranks of indoor gun ranges with the Niagara Gun Range on Niagara Falls Boulevard in North Tonawanda, which has operated for 18 years.

In other matters, the Planning Board issued site plan approval with conditions for the construction of a new five-unit townhouse at 1696 Orchard Park Road at the request of architect Daryl Martin.