TIMELINE OF NOISE ISSUES AND NOISE STUDIES
FOR THE SUFFOLK COUNTY TRAP & SKEET RANGE

Before reopening the range, the Licensee signed an agreement on
April 19, 2006 which clearly states:

Compliance with Law

a.   "The Licensee shall comply with all Federal, State and local laws, rules, regulations, codes and ordinances in the performance of this Agreement and shall obtain, pay for, and comply with any conditions contained in any permits, approvals and renewals thereof which are required to be obtained in the legal performance of this Agreement.   

      The License Agreement also prohibits the licensee from using the Premises for any purpose in violation of any federal, state, County or municipal law, ordinance, rule, order or regulation now in effect or hereafter enacted ...”  


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2003

April 17, 2003:   Suffolk County Parks Board of Trustee Minutes.

Chief Deputy Raptoulis reported that negotiations were broken off with the Campsite Store.  Even though they originally agreed to the license agreement, they now give several reasons for concern: first, the problems with sound mitigation, second environmental issues and possible lawsuit in which they would wish to be indemnified, third, moving of the gate at the entrance to Southaven.
 

April 29, 2003:  Suffolk County Legislature General Meeting Minutes (excerpted)

LEG. TOWLE: That's what I've heard third-hand as well, I didn't sit on the RFP Committee but I did send a staff person to the meetings just to get an account of what was transpired. The second question I have of Counsel, if I could, is that assuming this law passes, the facility still, though, which is a County facility, would still be forced to comply with any town ordinances, and we obviously do not have the power or the ability to exempt the facility from that.

MR. SABATINO: (Suffolk County Legislative Counsel): That's correct.

LEG. TOWLE: But the bottom line is, even if we were to approve this bill at our next meeting, because we would only be closing the hearing tonight, we would still be forced to comply with the local Town ordinances in the Town of Brookhaven.

MR. SABATINO: Anybody who would be operating that facility would have to be in compliance with State, Federal and local law. If there's a Town ordinance in Brookhaven that deals with the noise issue, the answer is yes, he or she or the entity would have to be in compliance.
 

May 13, 2003:  Suffolk County Legislature General Meeting Minutes (excerpted)

LEG. TOWLE: "...Now, if, in fact, Legislator Fields' resolution is approved, anyone operating that facility would still be forced to comply with any Federal, State, County or local town ordinances or requirements such as the Town of Brookhaven noise ordinance."

MR. SABATINO: "That's correct. This would only grant an exemption from the Suffolk County noise ordinance provisions."

LEG. TOWLE: "So, the bottom line is, if -- whatever they do, if it doesn't work, they still have to bring it up to code to make it work. And all I'm saying is that if we do this bill, we provide that exemption, but these requirements are not going to come out of the RFP. Why would the County expose itself to that liability after it's been disclosed that we would not be complying with Town codes?" 

LEG. TOWLE: (in response to comments from Leg. Ginny Fields):
What you suggested, or at least how I've interpreted it, is that the facility remains open, regardless of the Town law, because in other instances in other places, we're breaking the law, and, therefore, because we're breaking them there, it's okay to break them here. And I just think it's, you know, the wrong approach. I mean, the next thing, we'll have the vendor coming in and telling us he shouldn't be held to the same Health Department standards that a restaurant is, because he's running a little snack shop and he wants to be exempted from those Health Department requirements. I mean, where does it end that we're exempting people from requirements.  I didn't establish the decibels. They're not my opinion; they're our consultants' opinion, the very people that you agreed to hire. And I think, to use your words, allow the chips to fall where they may, and they've fallen in a position where a sound abatement plan needs to be done. And the reality is that that sound abatement plan will most likely cost close to a half a million dollars to do it appropriately and professionally.  And there are other laws, in fact, I think one approved by Legislator Fisher, in reference to us being good neighbors. And if we're going to have this facility reopen, I think we have an obligation to make sure that a full sound abatement plan is in place, as our consultants have recommended.

LEG. CARACCIOLO: Thank you, Fred. Legislative Counsel, the issue of Town ordinance versus County ordinance, does, in fact, the Town have jurisdiction if this range were to reopen and didn't comply with their ordinance, to enforce that ordinance and promptly to either shut it or fine the County?

MR. SABATINO: If the County ordinance is modified to exempt this facility and the Town ordinance is still in effect, the Town ordinance would be applicable subject to whatever its provisions are.  I don't know what exemptions they've got, I don't know exactly what the interplay of all of the sections would be, but whoever the vendor would be that would take over the operation of the facility would have to adhere to those Brookhaven restrictions, whatever they are.
 

2004

March 18, 2004:  Suffolk County Parks Board of Trustee Minutes

The Chief Deputy spoke of the resolution to appropriate $50,000 for design of the noise mitigation project.  This is the current biggest concern.
 

May 6, 2004:  Suffolk County Parks Board of Trustee Minutes

Noise has always been a problem for the Trap & Skeet Range, as stated by Bud Corwin, former Commissioner of Parks at the meeting of the Board of Trustees of Suffolk County Department of Parks.  “Mr. Corwin stated that sound abatement first began when 60 acres were taken near Gerard Road, for use by Nassau Trap & Skeet (1950’s).   As soon as the shooting began, one neighbor that lived across the street, Mrs. Glover was upset with the noise and attained an attorney and it was determined that Mrs. Glover receive a nuisance fee.”
 

November 18, 2004:  Suffolk County Parks Board of Trustee Minutes

Earlier this year, $50,000 was appropriated for a noise study. 
The plan calls for the erection of a 1,800 foot long by 17 feet tall wall to be erected as a noise barrier between the current facility and Gerard Road.  Nick Gibbons also reported that he attended a CEQ meeting yesterday (Nov. 17, 2004) as part of the SEQRA process to get monies appropriated and the meeting resulted in the topic being tabled because CEQ wants to do a coordinated review.  Also, there are 2 other agencies that have regulatory oversight, one is the NYSDEC; the whole park is within rivers, and corridors for Southaven and Carmans River, the other is the Pine Barrens Commission; the entirety of Southaven Park is within the core of the pine barrens.   Regarding the Pine Barrens Commission, they would be looking for an exemption as an expansion or an upgrading of an existing recreational facility.
 

December 16, 2004:  Suffolk County Parks Board of Trustee Minutes

Just yesterday went before the Parks Committee to ask for the remainder of the $450,000 to be appropriated on the books so we don’t lose it.   It was determined that the facility is subject to the Town of Brookhaven’s noise ordinance.  The County Executive has written to The Town supervisor asking for an exemption.  If an exemption is granted, work can continue and make the operational upgrades and improvements that are needed. Nick spoke about the Pine Barrens Commission.  They do have a role in improvements to the Trap & Skeet facility.  Parks is hopeful that after public hearings that they will rule in favor of proceeding.   Ray Corwin confirmed that said formal hearings will be held next month.
 

December 21, 2004:  Leg. O’Leary; Suffolk County  Legislature General Meeting Minutes

"I just wanted this body to be aware of the fact that the County Executive had requested the Town of Brookhaven to waive that particular ordinance and the Town of Brookhaven is of the mindset not to do that. The position of the town, as I understand it...they're going to go on record saying that they're not going to adhere to the request of the County Executive to waive that particular ordinance."  
NOTE:  Less than one month later, on January 7, 2005 a letter was sent to County Executive Steve Levy from Brookhaven Town Supervisor John LaValle denying Mr. Levy's request that the Town exempt the range from its noise ordinance.  Mr. LaValle also told Mr. Levy that "mitigation measures must be implemented to comply with the Town's noise ordinance"

(See: "LaValle Letter To Levy" in the main page menu)

2005

January 20, 2005:  Suffolk County Parks Board of Trustee Minutes

Commissioner Foley reported that Contracts Manager Colleen Hofmeister’s unit has been developing an RFP to seek an operator to run operations for the shooting range once it is completed.  Mr. Foley noted that "This is progressing on the premise that the Town of Brookhaven will grant the County an exemption to their noise ordinance."
 

February 15, 2005: Brookhaven Town Board Meeting

The Town Board of Brookhaven adopts Resolution 26A: “SENSE OF THE TOWN BOARD THAT THE COUNTY OF SUFFOLK IMP[LEMENT ALL MITIGATION MEASURES TO PROTECT THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND GENERAL WELFARE OF THE PUBLIC WITH RESPECT TO THE RE-OPENING OF THE SUFFOLK COUNTY TRAP & SKEET RANGE AT SOUTHAVEN PARK.”

The resolution also makes clear that the Town will not waive its noise control ordinance citing that Suffolk County requested this “…so as to avoid the cost of implementing sound mitigation measures…” and citing that the Town Board “…believes it is their responsibility to ensure the quality of life of its residents…”    -Ed.
 

February 17, 2005: Suffolk County Parks Board of Trustee Minutes

Deputy Commissioner Bellone reported that the Town of Brookhaven did not grant an exemption to the County from their noise ordinance affecting this facility. However, the project is still moving forward using limited funding to abate noise.  The County Attorney agrees that the Town of Brookhaven has jurisdiction.   Trustee Miller could not believe there would be anyone who would become the concessionaire (there) and buy into a lawsuit. Deputy Commissioner Bellone reported on Trap and Skeet – "the Department is currently working on the RFP for a concessionaire. The Town of Brookhaven did not grant an exemption to the County from their noise ordinance affecting this facility. However, the project is still moving forward..."  Trustee Miller asked, “You are still going to fight it?" (The County Attorney agrees that Town of Brookhaven has jurisdiction.)  Deputy Commissioner said the RFP is still moving forward. Trustee Miller could not believe there would be anyone who would become the concessionaire (there) and buy into a lawsuit – he felt this was just a waste of time. 
 

Circa Late 2005:  Mark Wroobel, Range licensee (from his RFP statement)

"While we of course hope the County of Suffolk can wield its influence and convince the Town of Brookhaven to exempt the property from current noise control codes, we are prepared to proceed in any case.” 
 

2005-2007:  Suffolk County “Review of Capital Budget” pp. 391,392

"Studies of the Southaven Trap and Skeet Range in Yaphank confirmed objectionable noise levels were present and the range was closed.”  
 

November 30, 2005: Suffolk County Trap & Skeet Status Report –  (Summary of Hansen Consulting and Dick Peddicord & Co. reports)

The County submitted a proposal for a 17’ high wall for the purpose of sound mitigation to the Central Pine Barrens Commission, December 15, 2004, based on the following:  “Actual test firing at the range and sound level measurements at several neighboring locations indicated noise levels above acceptable standards contained in the County and Town noise ordinances.  Several options for dampening sound to comply with the ordinance were recommended, the most practical and cost effective being the construction of a barrier 17' or higher behind the trap & skeet firing stations

2006

March 16, 2006:  Suffolk County Parks Board of Trustee Minutes

Vice Chairman Colina asked for more information on whether a wall would be considered as a noise barrier at the Trap & skeet facility.  The Commissioner said as of now, it is not our intention that a wall be built, but we know we will have to deal with noise mitigation somehow.
 

2007-2009: Suffolk County “Review of Capital Budget” p 401:

"The Suffolk County Trap & Skeet Range was closed October 1, 2001 due to the results of a study of the noise level emanating from the range."  

 


NOISE STUDIES

2002

Trap and Skeet Oversight Committee Report
March 2002:  Report of the Trap and Skeet Oversight Committee – prepared for Peter A. Scully, Commissioner of Suffolk County Parks, Recreation and Conservation March 2002

Summary

Brookhaven Town and Suffolk County Codes are the most restrictive with regard to sound emanating from the park.  Both limit the maximum permissible A-Weighted sound pressure levels to 65 decibels (dBA) in residential areas.  In response to community complaints, several sound surveys were performed for the trap & skeet range operator over the past decade.  Measurements were taken at different locations both on the range and in the local community.  The measurements were taken using meters with an “A” weighting function which allows the meter to respond as the human ear would with regard to frequency and sound level.  Although none of the sound surveys were completely satisfactory, noise levels on the range were routinely found to be greater than 65dBA.  Sound levels were generally 70-90dBa when the range was in operation.  Several recommendations were made to limit or reduce the noise coming from the range. These recommendations include applying sound absorbing material to the shoot house walls, building a berm with dense trees in the middle of the field and constructing a berm or wall near the fence line along Gerard Road.
 

Hansen Consulting Study
August 19, 2002:  Hansen Consulting: Suffolk County Trap & Skeet Range.

Summary

In summary, shooting activity on this range was clearly audible beyond the Suffolk TSC property.  Based on the measurements results of 25 June 2002, sound exposure to the nearest neighboring properties is high.  At several test locations measured sound pressure levels were often exceeding the limits set forth in both Suffolk County and Brookhaven Town Codes. Numerous sound abatement options have been discussed.  Most methods could provide some level of sound reductions.  It is possible to combine several methods, such as reorienting the field and adding a barrier at the rear of the trap and skeet fields, to achieve the greatest potential for noise reductions.  It is not well understood if sufficient room exists to reorient the sporting clays course safely. A long-term solution would be to relocate the range to a more remote location.  This new location should be located in a non-noise sensitive area or have the surrounding area designated as a “noise park” to prevent residential development from encroaching on the club.  To re-open in the current location a series of barriers would be needed to be erected to bring the sound level into compliance.  A limited number of shooting positions on the current sporting clays course could be utilized
 

2004

L.K. McLean Study
August 2004:  Analysis of Noise and Lead Mitigation at Suffolk County Trap & Skeet Range, prepared by L.K. McLean Associates, P.C. for the Suffolk County Department of Public Works,

Summary

The Hansen study identified that a wall placed along the back of the Trap & Skeet shooting line could help to mitigate noise impacts to the community that results from the Trap & Skeet games but would have a limited effect on noise generated by the Sporting Clays venue.  This is a feasible alternative which may have benefit.   However, it should be kept in mind that noise levels will fluctuate from day to day, and even during any given day, depending on atmospheric and operational conditions.  Therefore, at times a wall may not be effective in preventing an excursion of the standard.  The most problematic conditions would be when all stations are shooting at the same time and when winds persist in a direction towards the adjacent residences. Any barrier wall considered would need to be continuous and gap free to maintain effectiveness.  This presents both access and security issues.

 

 

     
 

Notes:  Emphasis added  -  Full documentation available upon request

 
     
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