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Greenburgh Town Board to Visit Gun Range Tuesday

The Greenburgh Town Board of Trustees plans to hold a work session following the gun range visit.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
The Greenburgh Town Board of Trustees will visit the Westchester Police Revolver and Rifle League gun range on Ardsley Road Tuesday, according to Town Supervisor Paul Feiner.

In an email to residents and officials Monday, Feiner said the inspection - which will be closed to the public - will come before the board considers whether to refer a proposed ordinance to regulate the range to the town Planning Board for further review.

Feiner proposed the ordinance last week, which came on the heels of a woman being grazed in the leg by a stray bullet fragment from the range.

Below is the text of the email sent out by Feiner, which includes the proposed ordinance:  

TOWN BOARD MEETING TOMORROW MORNING- BOARD TO CONSIDER REFERRING PROPOSED GUN RANGE REGULATIONS TO PLANNING BOARD AND COMPREHENSIVE PLAN COMMITTEE

Tomorrow morning the Town Board will inspect the gun range on Ardsley Road. At the urging of the gun range operators this inspection will be brief and the site inspection will be closed to the public.  The Town Board expects to return to Town Hall around 10:30 and will consider referring a  proposed local law that was drafted by Bob Bernstein, President of the Edgemont Community Council and introduced by me to the Planning Board and Comprehensive Plan Committee for review and recommendation. The proposed law regulates outdoor gun ranges in the town.  Before any law could be adopted a public hearing will have to be scheduled. I have recommended that a public hearing be scheduled on September 10th, the first Town Board meeting after Labor Day.

The Town Board usually does not allow public comment at Work Sessions and Special meetings.  I have received notice that some members of the public who support and oppose the proposed law may attend the work session tomorrow morning. The Town Board may provide a spokesperson for the pro Rifle range and a spokesperson for the anti Rifle range to speak for 10 minutes each.

 

 

This is the tape from the Town Board meeting on July 8,2014—residents and representatives of the range expressed their views,,,

http://greenburghny.swagit.com/play/07082014-973/#0

 

Paul Feiner


 PROPOSED SHOOTING RANGE ORDINANCE FOR THE TOWN OF GREENBURGH

Prepared for submission to Greenburgh Town Board, revised as of July 10, 2014

by Bob Bernstein

Section 1. Purpose

This Ordinance is intended to regulate the establishment and operation of outdoor shooting range facilities.  Such recreational and training complexes, due to their potential noise impacts and safety concerns, merit careful review to minimize adverse effects on adjoining properties.  This Ordinance does not otherwise apply to the general discharge of firearms in accordance with all other applicable laws or regulations.

Section 2. Intent

It is the intent of this Ordinance to accomplish the following:

A.        Permitting, registration and compliance.  New outdoor shooting ranges shall only be established in accordance with a valid permit issued by the Town of Greenburgh.  In addition, existing outdoor ranges shall be registered and shall comply with the provisions of this Ordinance within six months.  However, no proposed or existing outdoor range shall be permitted to operate within one-fourth (1/4) mile (1,320 feet) of any residence, school, place of worship, playground , child day care center, or public park.

B.        Shot containment.  Each outdoor shooting range facility shall be designed to contain the bullets and/or shot on the range facility. 

C.        Noise mitigation.  Each ourdoor shooting range facility shall be designed to minimize off-site noise impacts generated by the activities conducted on the range facility.

Section 3.  Authority

This Ordinance is adopted under the authority of New York Town Law Section 130.

Section 4.  Definitions

As used in this Ordinance, the following terms shall have the respective meanings ascribed to them:

dBA:  The sound pressure level, in decibels, as measured using the impulse mode and “A” weighting network on a precision sound level meter.

Firearm: A weapon, including pistols, rifles, and shotguns, capable of firing a projectile using an explosive charge as a propellant.

Firing line:  A line parallel to a target from which firearms are discharged.

Frangible Ammunition:  Lead-free bullets designed to disintegrate into tiny particles upon impact with any surface harder than the bullet itself.

High Powered Rifles: Any modern rifle designed to fire a bullet larger than .308 caliber at high velocity from a hollow cylindrical metal shell by means of igniting a primer and detonating a smokeless power charge contained within.  

 

Person;  Any individual, corporation, association, club, firm, or partnership.

Safety fan:  An area on an outdoor shooting range facility designed to contain all projectiles fired from a shooting range.

Shooting range:  An outdoor area designed and improved to encompass shooting stations or firing lines, target areas, berms and baffles, and other related components.

Shooting range facility:  A public or private facility, including individual shooting ranges, safety fans or shotfall zones,  structures, parking areas, and other associated improvements, designed for the purpose of providing a place for the discharge of various types of firearms.

Shooting station:  A fixed point from which firearms are discharged.

Shotfall zone:  An area within which the shot or pellets contained in a shotgun shell typically fall.

Structure:  A walled and roofed building that is typically above ground; a manufactured or mobile home; a storage tank for gases or liquids; or any other permanent, manmade facilities.

Section 5.  Applicability

This Ordinance is applicable to all existing and future outdoor shooting ranges in the unincorporated areas of the Town of Greenburgh.

Section 6.  Performance Standards

The following performance standards shall apply to all outdoor shooting range facilities:

A.        Shot containment.  Shooting range facilities shall be designed to contain all of the bullets or shot or any other debris on the range facility.

B.        Frangible Ammunition.  Only frangible ammunition may be used.

C.        High Powered Rifles. High powered files are not permitted to be fired under any circumstances.

D.        Noise mitigation.  Noise levels measured at the property line where the facility is maintained or, in the case of leased land, at the property line of any leased parcel shall not exceed sixty-five (65(dBA) when located adjacent to residential or commercial property or seventy-five (75) dBA when adjacent to industrial property.

E.         Written variance.  These performance measures may be varied with written permission of adjoining property owners affected thereby.

Section 7.  Development Requirements

A.        Setbacks.  Notwithstanding the performance standards of Section 6, all shooting stations on a range facility shall be located a minimum of two hundred (200) feet from any property line.

B.        Warning signs.  Warning signs meeting National Rifle Association (NRA) guidelines for shooting ranges shall be posted at one hundred foot intervals along the entire perimeter of the shooting range facility.

C.        Distance from occupied dwelling.  All shooting stations shall be located at least one-fourth (1/4) mile (1,320 feet) from any existing, occupied dwelling, school, place of worship, playground, public park or child day care facility.

D.        Written variance.  The distance requirements of this Section may be varied with written permission of all adjoining property owners affected thereby.

Section 8.  Operational Requirements

A.        Hours of Operation.  Shooting ranges shall be allowed to operate between sunrise and sunset.

B.        Liability Insurance.  The permittee shall be required to carry a minimum of $5,000,000 of liability insurance per occurrence.  Such insurance shall name the Town of Greenburgh as an additional named insured party and shall save and hold the Town of Greenburgh, its elected and appointed officials, and employees acting within the scope of their duties harmless from and against all claims, demands and causes of action of any kind or character, including the cost of defense thereof, arising in favor of a person or group’s members or employees or third parties on account of any property damage or personal injury arising out of the acts or omissions of the permittee, his/her group, club, or its agent or representatives.  The Town shall also be notified of any policy changes or lapses in coverage.

Section 9.  Procedure for Securing Approval for New Ranges

A.        Permit application.  An application for a permit to establish and operate a shooting range facility shall be submitted by the legal property owner(s) or owner’s agent to the Department of Community Development and Conservation.  Such permit shall be secured prior to issuance of any other building or other permits required by the Town.

B.        Fees.  The application shall be accompanied by an application fee of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00).

C.        Required Information.  The applicant shall provide sufficient information as required by these provisions in order to properly evaluate the permit application, including in all cases (1) a certification by a recognized authority in the operation of shooting ranges that the applicant’s facility is safe and meets all current safety standards; and (2) a certification from a licensed acoustical engineer that the noise to be generated by the applicant’s facility will not exceed the noise mitigation standards defined herein.  In addition, copies of any written agreements from the adjoining property owners and a letter from the insurance company to provide liability insurance shall accompany the permit application.

D.        Site plan.  A site plan for the entire range facility which shows the following applicable information drawn to an appropriate scale, shall accompany the permit application:

1.         Property lines for any parcel upon which the range facility is to be located, north arrow, plan scale, date, and ownership information for the site;

2.         Complete layout of each range, including, shooting stations or firing lines, target areas, shotfall zones or safety fans, backstops, berms and baffles.

3.         Projected noise contours;

4.         Existing and proposed structures; occupied dwellings, schools, playgrounds, places of worship, public parks and child day care facilities within one-fourth mile; roads streets, or other access areas; buffer areas and parking areas for the range facility; and

5.         Any other appropriate information related to the specific type of range(s) being proposed.

E.         Action.  Within thirty (30) working days or at the next available meeting, whichever is sooner, the Town Board shall take one (1) of the following actions:

1.         Reject the application as incomplete; or

2.         Approve the issuance of the permit; or

3.         Deny the permit request.

In any case, the written findings to support the action taken shall be provided to the applicant.

F.         Permit display. Permits shall be kept and displayed in a readily visible location on the shooting range facility and at all times be available for public information.

G.        A permit issued pursuant to this Ordinance may not be transferred to another operator without the written approval and consent of the Town Board. 

H.        Changes or expansions.  If any outdoor shooting range facility is intended to be substantially changed or expanded to include types of ranges, operations, or activities not covered by an approved permit or otherwise cause nonconformance with this Ordinance, a new permit for the entire facility shall be secured in accordance with all of the provisions of this Ordinance.

Section 10.  Registration and Compliance of Existing Ranges.

A.        Registration.  All existing outdoor ranges shall provide a site plan, prepared in accordance with Section 9-D within forty-five days (45) days after the effective date of this Ordinance.  No fees will be charged and no permits will be required.

B.        Compliance.  Within six (6) months after the effective date of this Ordinance, any existing outdoor range facility determined not to be in compliance shall be ordered closed, and made to obtain a permit and comply with all of the requirements of this Ordinance.

C.        Abandonment and discontinuance.  When an existing outdoor shooting range discontinues operations for six (6) months or longer, it shall not reopen without first obtaining a permit in accordance with the requirements of this Ordinance. 

Section 11.   Enforcement, Remedies and Penalties

A.        Enforcement and remedies.  The Town of Greenburgh Police Department shall be responsible for the enforcement of this Ordinance.  Any violation or attempted violation of this Ordinance or of any condition or requirement adopted pursuant to these provisions may be restrained, corrected, or abated, as the case may be, by injunction or other appropriate proceedings as  allowed by state law.  Any permit issued under this Ordinance may be suspended or revoked for noncompliance.

B.        Civil penalties.  Any person who violates any of the provisions of this Ordinance shall be subject to a civil penalty of one thousand dollars ($1,000) per violation. No penalty shall be assessed until the person alleged to be in violation has been notified of the violation.  Each day of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate violation.

C.        Criminal penalties. Any person who knowingly or willfully violates this Ordinance or who knowingly or willfully initiates or continues unapproved actions shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment not to exceed thirty (30) days, or by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars $1,000).

Nancy July 15, 2014 at 07:28 AM
**No word as to what the metal fragment is? Publish the findings! ** Why all of a sudden are there bullets flying out of the range after over 50 years? If the bullets were escaping for over 50 years why was the landscape not littered with bullets prior to the construction breaking ground? Why did Toll Brothers salespeople tell the residents that the range was a mile away. If you listen to the residents of Ardsley Chase who purchased home next to the range, bullets are flying into their yards. I seriously doubt that claim based on the design of the landscape. Check back on Toll Brothers contributions to the campaigns before this neighborhood was approved. ** Before this range is destroyed due to new residents claims - how about some proof of the issue. Because of the distance restriction of 1/4 mile in this proposal "Section a" - right / wrong, issue or not, this range would be shut down on that issue alone. ** So a range open over 50 years is closed after a new housing development is approved. Why did they approve the housing development of $1,000,000 homes at that site within a 1/4 mile of an existing range?
Mary Ann Johnson July 15, 2014 at 07:42 AM
It is called the "Howard Beach" syndrome......people built/bought homes near Idlewild now JFK and then demanded the airport be closed.
bruce stokes July 15, 2014 at 07:51 AM
People, should be able to learn & maintain weapon's skills. A firing range is a asset, not a liability. Firearms skill's are great for gun safety & self protection
Brian P July 15, 2014 at 08:37 AM
They should continue to investigate this alleged victim of this bullet fragment wound. The trajectory does not add up. It can't based on the landscape of the location. Time of day, 911 call, severity of wound, location of wound, victims history of complaints against range, location of wound on victim should all be taken into account. Maybe she was just slick, did some research, then obtained a bullet fragment and scratched herself in a superficial spot with it, then made a report that it came from the range. Maybe she is truly a victim and has a valid argument. One paper mentioned she had a lawyer, which usually means a lawsuit is coming. I wonder if she will request a million dollars for this wound (scratch). I know papers are often wrong, but the range should hire a private investigator to look into this story.
Nancy July 16, 2014 at 07:33 AM
They had to admit yesterday that the police investigation into the incident has not been completed. What the metal fragment is - still to be determined. * Rush to judgment * It was clear based on one of the councilman's questions is that this is a directed specifically to this range alone. That after the research he requested only 2 other sites in the entire town could make the arbitrary 1/4 mile radius buffer - 1 in Mt. Hope Cemetery and one on a site of a newly approved Hotel and convention center. That the range's proximity was clearly stated in the Toll Brother's development plans. That the planning board had done site visits. What their salespeople said or did not say is a point of legal action between homeowners and the developer. Action Tabled till next meeting.

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