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Yaphank Residents Want Noisy Skeet Range To Cease Fire

Advocates Call The Range A Threat To Local Quality Of Life

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Residents who lost a fight to close a Long Island skeet range are in for a long, noisy summer.

“It’s ruined practically every backyard BBQ we’ve ever had,” said Yaphank resident Joseph Merckling. “I get up on Sunday morning and the first thing I hear when I get out of bed is shotgun shells.”

The Mercklings, who just had a baby, told CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff on Thursday that they can’t even take their newborn outside.

Proposed legislation failed to shut down the Suffolk County Trap and Skeet Range, despite hundreds of noise violations that the range has racked up.

“Maybe at one point it was a good location, now it’s not. It’s having a serious effect on the local residents and their quality of life,” said Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning.

The range was closed from 2000 to 2006, and during that time a number of new homes were built. Homeowners claim that they were told the range was moving and would not be reopened.

“Why would the county lie about something like that? Houses are being built,” said John Palasek of the South Yaphank Civic Association.

Sportsman at the range told CBS 2 that the Olympic-sanctioned sport can be a great source of family fun, and that it promotes the safe handling of firearms.

“It’s a sport like golf, and it doesn’t take time away from your family,” explained Mark Nathan.

Neighbors claim their issue with the range isn’t about guns, it’s about the location. Right now their only hope is for officials to enforce noise ordinances, a subject which has been in court for years.

A Suffolk County committee tried for 18 months to find an alternate location for the range, but was unable to, CBS 2′s Gusoff reported.

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