WEST CHAZY - The Plattsburgh Rod and Gun Club recently inquired about an area in West Chazy for their new shooting range and it's got some residents up in arms.
Residents of Olena Road, in the hamlet of Sciota where the shooting range is to be located, have mounted a resistance. Their major concerns are about the amount of traffic, noise and possible lead contamination that could occur if the location is approved by the town planning board. The club is looking to move from its previous location at Woodruff Pond in Plattsbrugh, which was closed down due to lead contamination.
"It's right in our backyard. We bought the place to have peace and quiet," said Olena Road resident Joe LaForest, whose house is in front of the area the shooting range will be located. "There's a lot of open land where there's no houses or residents."
"You come out here anytime of the day and all you hear is some animals; you hear nothing, just quiet anytime and you won't hear that anymore," said resident Doug Lyon.
Lyon's concern also goes for the well-being of his children who ride their bikes up the road.
"The people coming up the road know [the kids] are going to be out there," said Lyon. "They're the people that live on the road and they respect it and go slow ... They won't play in the road anymore."
Town planning board member Robin Brunelle said if more traffic does come up Olena Road, then it will encourage the town to take better care of the "riff-raff" that already comes up there, including kids and other who drive up the road and cause trouble for the residents.
Phillip LaMarche, vice president of the Plattsburgh Rod and Gun Club, said the main reason the area was chosen is for its close proximity to Plattsburgh.
"For me to shoot now, I travel to Vermont, which is a ferry cost of a car and a passenger," said LaMarche. "Before, you used to jump in the car and travel eight to 10 minutes to the Plattsburgh Rod and Gun Club to shoot."
His other alternative is to travel to Canada, where the cost is double the amount of that in Vermont, or he could travel south for nearly two hours to the other clubs.
On April 23, the planning board performed a noise test at the proposed site to see just how disruptive the noise would be to the residents.
"We're here trying to gather all the evidence from all the parties and we're listening to what the sounds of the shots will be and what that impact will be on the neighborhood," explained planning board chairman Tom Dashnaw.
The planning board will meet Monday, May 18, to perform an environmental impact study to determine whether lead contamination will be an issue. A clean-up plan will be proposed to the board by the Plattsburgh Rod and Gun Club to minimize lead contamination.
Karee Magee is a student correspondent from Northeastern Clinton Central School in Jessica Mehrman's journalism class.