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Apr 1, 2009 3:46 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Suffolk County might relocate trap and skeet range to Southampton Town

Apr 1, 2009 3:46 PM

East Quogue, Manorville and Speonk are three of the six communities now under consideration for the siting of a trap and skeet range operated by Suffolk County, according to a report submitted earlier this month to Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy’s office.

Four sand and gravel mines in East Quogue and Speonk, and a 444-acre wooded area in the compatible growth area of the Manorville pine barrens, were named as possible replacement sites for the county-owned skeet range now operated in Yaphank.

The three other sites under consideration are located in Ridge, Calverton and the North Fork Preserve in Riverhead. A total of 15 properties were reviewed, but only eight were considered worth further consideration, according to the report that was submitted to Mr. Levy’s office on March 18.

Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning, the chairwoman of the search committee that prepared the report, said her office has already begun receiving e-mails from constituents protesting placement of the shooting range in Manorville.

The recommendations will now be scrutinized by the county’s planning and parks departments before the Suffolk Legislature makes a final decision, she said. There is no target date for a decision.

“Manorville is not the only location in that report,” said Ms. Browning, whose legislative district encompasses Yaphank. “I don’t know why they feel that Manorville is the be all, end all.”

Dan Aug, a spokesman for Mr. Levy, said the county has not determined how much money can be spent to relocate the Yaphank shooting range. Mr. Aug also said it is too early to make a determination regarding which of the eight recommended properties, if any, will be chosen to house the facility.

“The county executive would have no problem with a new location as long as it does not include the purchasing of property or more than a nominal expense to the county,” Mr. Aug said. “We’re looking at all the options that the committee has put forward. There are many features that are going to need to be considered at every potential site.”

Brookhaven Town officials and some Yaphank residents have raised concerns over the past few years about noise and lead pollution at the range in Yaphank, and have pressured the county to relocate the shooting range for some time. The range is also located within the pine barrens core preservation area.

The county contractor operating the range, Suffolk Trap and Skeet, is now suing Brookhaven Town, charging that the range does not have to comply with town noise ordinance, which limits noise above 65 decibels. The town has been arguing that the range, which dates back to the 1960s, violates the municipality’s noise ordinance.

The range’s status within the pine barrens area has also been called into question by Brookhaven Town officials.

Following concern about lead and noise pollution, the range was closed in October 2001 before reopening in July 2006.

Because the range falls within the pine barrens and was not operated for more than five years, the Brookhaven Town Board approved a resolution on March 18 directing the town’s law department to review whether or not the reopening of the shooting range violates the Pine Barrens Protection Act of 1993.

Residents in Brookhaven and Southampton towns are raising concerns about the alternate sites proposed in the search committee report.

Susan Sineo of Manorville said she has reviewed the report and already filed a complaint with Ms. Browning’s office. Ms. Sineo said she was concerned about noise pollution from the proposed Manorville site, located just south of the Long Island Expressway and between exits 68 and 69.

She said that acres of trees would have to be cleared in order to accommodate a trap and skeet range in Manorville. “I don’t know why they would move it from one area of the pine barrens to another,” Ms. Sineo said. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

In Southampton Town, sites under consideration are exhausted or nearly exhausted sand and gravel mines. In East Quogue, the Sand Farm Corporation and the East Cost Mines properties, both on Lewis Road, are possibilities. Sites eyed in Speonk are the former Huntington Ready Mix and Hampton Sand and Gravel mines, both off of Riverhead-Speonk Road.

Stephanie Davis, a Speonk resident and hydrogeologist with an environmental consulting firm in Ronkonkoma, also reviewed the report. She said she has concerns about locating a shooting range in a depleted mine, because mines usually make aquifers more vulnerable to surface contamination, such as lead found in some types of ammunition.

“When they get done with mining, the floor of the mine is usually right at the water table,” Ms. Davis said. By placing a shooting range inside a mine, “you are potentially setting yourself up for a pretty nice water contamination problem,” she continued.

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By UpWest Joe, Yaphank on Apr 1, 09 9:23 PM
Maybe the Gabreski Airport would be a good location for it.There's already a private shooting range there.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Apr 2, 09 10:31 AM
Great Idea, Its a sport with deep roots on the east end. I and my family enjoy it. It would be fun to start a travel legue and compete against other teams.
By North Sea Citizen (538), North Sea on Apr 2, 09 11:54 AM