Pawlet: Slate Ridge owner pays $53K in fines

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 4:43 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2022 at 12:23 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PAWLET, Vt. (AP) - The man who owns the property that contains an unpermitted firing range that has generated complaints about the intimidation of neighbors and noise has paid nearly $53,000 in fines, the town of Pawlet said Thursday.

In a news release, the town said that Daniel Banyai, the owner of Slate Ridge in West Pawlet, had paid the town $52,965.35, to satisfy the fines and accrued interest imposed by the court for zoning violations between Sept. 6, 2019, and Dec. 16, 2020, when a trial was held on the issue.

Town Attorney Merrill Bent said Thursday the fines continue to accrue in an amount that will be decided by a judge at a contempt hearing scheduled for April 18.

“The town has endured a lengthy process to satisfy its obligation to enforce its zoning regulations, and while this initial payment is a victory for the town, the process will continue,” the town’s release said. “Compliance with other requirements of the court’s order is still incomplete and daily fines continue to accrue in an amount to be determined by the court.”

Banyai’s attorney did not immediately return a call Thursday seeking comment.

Last month the town moved to foreclose on the property and it also asked that Banyai be jailed if he refuses to comply with the court’s orders.

Slate Ridge neighbors have complained for some time about gunfire at the facility and what they claimed were threats and intimidation by Banyai and his supporters. Many of the neighbors of Slate Ridge are afraid to talk publicly because of fears for their safety.

Banyai bought the 30-acre property known as Slate Ridge in 2013 and sometime in 2017 he began operating what he calls a firearms training facility. The property is only permitted to have a garage with an apartment.

Around the time Banyai began operating the shooting range, he erected a 500-square-foot structure to serve as the training center and a number of outdoor shooting ranges, all without necessary zoning permits.

Banyai has been ordered to remove the unpermitted structures.

In January the Vermont Supreme Court upheld the lower court order that Banyai demolish any unpermitted buildings on the Pawlet property and pay the outstanding fines.

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)