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County Exec: Westhampton Trap and Skeet Range Idea 'Boneheaded'

County Executive Steve Levy calls trap and skeet range near Gabreski Airport a bad idea, though property owner calls safety concerns "ridiculous."

After it was reportedly tabled at a Friday committee meeting, a bill to move the county's trap and skeet range to Westhampton will have to wait until next year to be revisited.

According to a Newsday article, a proposal to move the county's trap and skeet range near Westhampton's Gabreski Airport was called "the most boneheaded legislation of the year" by the current county executive, however the property owner is calling the concerns raised an overreaction.

Legis. Kate Browning, WF-Shirley, has been attempting to find a new home for the county's trap and skeet range - currently located at Southaven County Park in Yaphank - for years, as a potential location - though that never came to fruition.

The closest residential Westhampton property to the proposed trap and skeet location is 2.5 miles away. Yaphank residents in close proximity to the trap and skeet range have complained for years about the range's close proximity to residential housing, citing loud noise and property value declines as a result.

South Fork Legis. Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk, said the bill's designation to purchase the 75 acres in Westhampton under the county's drinking water protection program is suspect and since the bill seeks to use the property as active parkland - which would require a partnership with Southampton Town - Schneiderman said, "I don't think this bill has a future."

County Executive Steve Levy went one step further, saying in the Newsday piece, "This has got to be the bonehead legislation of the year, to have people firing rifles into the air while planes from the 106th are taking off or landing."

Property owner Edwin Tuccio said such concerns about skeet shooting were "ridiculous to even bring up."

"Skeet beebees can't even bring a sparrow down," he said.

A 2009 county report rejected the Tuccio property as one of 15 across the county studied for a trap and skeet range. The study cited a lease with a private vendor as the main reason for rejecting it, however Tuccio cited that the lease expires at the end of 2011. He said he's unsure if he will renew the lease.

Because Browning's measure didn't make it out of committee, it will have to be reintroduced next year. Newsday quotes her as calling it a "temporary setback," saying County Executive-elect Steve Bellone will be more open to solving the problem.

ony Ceglio, airport manager at Gabreski, said the county should look for another location and sited a danger to landing aircraft. Read what he had to say here.

Read the Newsday article here.

Walter Kaprielian December 19, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Shows how much the County Executive knows about weaponry. Trap and skeet shooting does not use rifles.
John December 20, 2011 at 03:43 PM
But why move it at all? The Yappank Trap and Skeet range was there many, many moons before houses were built around it. The developers and homeowners bought properties there because they were cheap due to the proximity of the range. Now that same range is a nuisance and lowering their property values! It's a repeat of the developments that went up under the landing and take-offs patterns at the JFK airport. Simply put a classical tail wagging the dog or greed at it's max!
Erica Jackson (Editor) December 20, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Jason Aparo said via Twitter: "That just sounds like a bad idea unless we are allowed to take shots at the celebs planes.... ?Nope still a bad idea."

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