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Lansing Rod and Gun Club

A few Ludlowville residents were at the Lansingville Fire Station for an update at Wednesday's Town Board meeting on the Lansing Rod and Gun Club's progress on a project that may move current shooting ranges to a new location on gun club property.  Residents and town officials were frustrated by the lack of information, and nobody spoke in behalf of the club.  Lansing Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne said that the Town had issued a Stop Order after it was found that the club was clearing over an acre of land.  The club may continue the work if a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is accepted by the Town.

"Right now the SWPPP is at the (Town) engineer's office and he is looking at it," LaVigne said. "Nothing is going to happen until that is looked at and sent back to the Town."

Town Attorney Guy Krogh clarified the Town's jurisdiction as best he could with the information at hand, confusing because the EPA has not been clear on what jurisdiction it wields that would supersede Town authority.

"Again, the issue for the Town is going to be one of zoning.  Ultimately the question that's going to come before the Town is what zoning applies to this proposed project once it's scoped out?  Unless they're required to have a site plan review.  That's ultimately the question the EPA is looking at to answer.  There's no application pending, so it's difficult to know exactly what it is.  I don't even want to guess, but depending upon what the project is."

Krogh said the project is under the authority of the EPA under the The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), mirroring officials' frustration at the lack of information from the club and the federal agency.

"We don't have any input under RCRA," he said. "It's not within the scope of our authority to evin review those issues.  If they're not doing anything what are we supposed to do?"

The club had submitted a plan to the Planning Board, but it was subsequently withdrawn.  Since that time Town Officials have been in the dark about what the club intends, something that has also been frustrating to residents, who have repeatedly asked the Town to do more. 

Residents have been up in arms, so to speak, over potential environmental damage and lead poisoning from decades of shooting lead bullets near Salmon Creek and neighboring homes.  Most vocal have been Lisa Ruzicka and Tim Farrell, whose home adjoins the portion of gun club land on which the new ranges may be located; and John Burger, who has been fiercely critical of the EPA and DEC's enforcement -- or absence of enforcing -- lead mitigation by the club.  They, along with board members were most frustrated by the absence of information.

"The EPA 'Best Practices' says they're supposed to talk to the community and let them know what they're doing," said Ruzicka. "Instead they're really secretive.  Nobody knows what their intentions are.  It's hard living, not knowing what they're going to do."

Last month Town officials said they would initiate lead testing near the ste on Salmon Creek and Ludlowville falls, and LaVigne said the Intermunicipal Water Commission (Bolton Point) had agreed to testing their water for lead on the grounds that their intake from Cayuga Lake is not that far from the gun club.  But Town officials have been repeatedly advised not to speak out on this issue because public statements on their personal opinions could present legal problems for the Town down the road, forcing them to recuse themselves from crucial votes that may occur.  LaVigne also pointed out that the Town doesn't have much information to work with even if it wants to react.

"It would be nice to see if the EPA has a mitigation plan (for the gun club)," he said. "What is the mitigation plan?  Is there one?  Have they agreed on one?  We can speculate all night, but for now we have to move methodically forward."

LaVigne said the club has done some reseeding in the area, but that otherwise no work may take place until the SWPPP has been accepted by Town authorities.

"I would prefer not to comment right now unless there is something that we can address," he said.  "We have addressed that they had over an acre of disturbance, and therefore by law we could issue a Stop Order, which we did.  We have to go methodically, one step at a time.  It's painful for people who want to go faster, but there's a certain process you have to go through.  We are doing everything we can now, but we have to be very careful moving forward.  I can't think of anything more convincing than stopping them.  They're not doing anything and they won't until they follow all the rules and regulations."

LaVigne said gun club updates will be on Town Board meeting agendas for every meeting in the foreseeable future.

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