June 18, 2014 —
WHITE LAKE, NY — Officials from the Boy Scouts say they have been conducting rifle shooting at the Ten Mile River Boy Scout facility for 80 years. Neighbors say something has changed in the past few years and now noise from the shooting, especially the shotgun blasts, is making life unbearable.
Neighbors who live in the Indian Field community turned out to the town meeting on June 11 to make their concerns about the noise known to the board. The board was in the midst of considering issuing a noise permit for the Boy Scouts so they could proceed with the shooting and not violate town code.
Supervisor Dan Sturm read letters from several homeowners and also one signed by 21 families in the community. It read, ‘The members of the Indian Field Association strongly opposed the issuance of any permit to allow loud gunfire to continue at the Ten Mile River Boy Scout range. The daily, constant, disruptive gunfire is clearly a violation of Bethel laws. Twenty-one families (and their names are all listed), their visiting relatives and friends, and surrounding wildlife are directly and negatively affected by these daily violations. It’s unacceptable to have to live this way.”
The permit sought by the camp would allow the shooting from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and again from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 8:30 p.m. A couple of the council members said this amount of time to produce noise was excessive.
Councilmember Bernie Cohen said that if the camp wishes to continue to fire the guns, they should limit the firing to .22 caliber rifles, which are not as loud as shotguns and other rifles.
Sturm said he had been to the area and heard the gunshot noise. He said, “We asked for some kind of noise abatement measure: lower gage weapons, or a wall, a berm, pointing the weapons in another direction, whatever they could do to alleviate the noise that goes to Indian Field. As far as I’m concerned they did none of that since last year.” Sturm suggested limiting the hours of shooting from 12 noon until 5 p.m.
Counciwoman Vicky Simpson noted that no one from the camp was at the meeting.
At the suggestion of the town attorney, Rob McEwan, the board decided to deny the permit without prejudice and invite the camp to reapply for a permit with noise abatement measures included.
Tractor warning signs
In other news, Sturm read a letter from the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) that said the department had agreed to place some tractor warning signs on Route 17B.
DOT noted there were sight-distance issues at the L&M Farm entrance and the Russell Farm.
DOT said they compiled the number of accidents on a 2.5-mile stretch of the road from 2000 through 2013 and found there were 71 reportable accidents, which is about what they would expect to find on that type of road.
Still the letter said that because of site issues, DOT would place an intersection warning sign near the intersection of Donaldson Road and Route 17B.
Sturm noted that town officials had made numerous requests to DOT regarding Route 17B over the years, and this was one of a very few times when the department agreed with the town’s point of view and granted the request.