A Compelling Letter and Last Chance to Write Your Own

All written opposition to the State Police Firearms Training Facility must be received by tomorrow May 1st. Please send your letters to the officials listed on our Say NO!: Contact Local Officials page

I am sharing this clever and elegant letter because it summarizes the concerns of our quiet corner and will certainly add weight to the opposition. Please read.

Dear Officials,

I am the owner of two residential properties, on the West side of Sand Hill Road, Hampton, directly opposite the proposed site for a Firearms Training Facility here. I am writing with my observations as to why this proposal is inappropriate, substantially based on environmental, health, safety and financial grounds.

One of my properties provides equestrian training, schooling and boarding facilities. The current environment for this facility is suitable since it is quiet with minimal road traffic or noisy machinery, which is why we chose to operate it here. Young children and novices learn to ride here in a peaceful setting. Un-ridden horses are “broken” here and made suitable for safe riding. Difficult horses, including mustangs, are brought here on a temporary basis by their owners in order for them to be trained to become suitable and safe to ride. Some riders from the boarding stables use Sand Hill Road itself for riding purposes, as traffic along it is light during most daylight hours. It also provides a thoroughfare for riders wishing to use one of our fields which is accessed from the road. Horses have a much greater auditory acuity and sensitivity than we do. The imposition of repetitive noise from gun-fire would provide a safety hazard to riders and trainers alike since the horses, in particular those in training, are likely to be startled by it. As many of these horses do not board here, there is no opportunity for desensitization even in those that are temperamentally suited for such. The increase in traffic and noise both during the construction of the Firearms Facility and associated with travel to and from it when operational would represent an increased hazard to horses and riders.

I am a physician currently employed in health care. I often work from home which is within 200 ft of the property border in question. Much of my work is intellectual in nature, requiring review and creation of critical documents for which a quiet environment, at least for me, is essential. Although I do not anticipate that small-arms fire from such a facility would be of an intensity likely to directly damage my hearing, its nature and frequency would have a negative impact not only on my work quality and capability but also on my quality of life as well as that of neighbours in the area.  Repetitive and inescapable noise is known to be related to the development of both physical and mental conditions in those chronically exposed to it project management system.

The proposed site is also at a higher elevation than both my properties and those of many residences between it and the Little River. There are areas of wetland on it, as is clearly evident by inspection from Sand Hill Road. Simply look for the patches of Skunk Cabbage. Some of this wetland can be seen to drain into the Still River, which flows all year, crosses into my property, supplies water to one of the lake/ponds (which contains pollution-sensitive species such as trout and crayfish) and eventually flows into the Little River. In even moderate rains, water also flows off the proposed site, across Sand Hill Road into and onto my land and the horse paddocks, thence to a pond used by the horses for drinking. Eventually this water also drains into the Little River via various streams and brooks. Our own drinking water also comes from wells situated at lower elevation than the proposed site. I am sure that is also the case for many of the residences on Sand Hill and Windham Roads that are situated to the West or South.

When ammunition is fired there will inevitably be small amounts vaporized on impact, through the kinetic energy released, and some fragmentation. When lead is a constituent, that raises a concern due to its toxicity and persistence. Although lead is not highly soluble, it is somewhat soluble in water, particularly when the water is acidic. This therefore raises a concern that water flowing from the site, whether under or over ground, would pollute the properties and watercourses downstream. It should also be noted that run-off of pollutants during the construction process itself, from the materials used in the construction, from the sanitation processes on-site and from the vehicles using the site once commissioned would pose a threat to our environment and health. There are numerous species dependent upon the waters running from the proposed site that could be affected by pollutants. In and around the streams and rivers on my property there are at least 6 species of fish, 2 of toads, 5 of frogs, salamanders, turtles, dragonflies and mayflies. There are also birds and animals that feed on these, such as belted kingfisher, great blue, green and night herons, osprey, bald eagle, merganser, hooded merganser, solitary sandpiper and at least 5 species of snake.

The proposed site is used by numerous animals native to New England. As an ornithologist and hunter I have spent time both outside and within my home observing what goes in, out and over the site during the almost 15 years that I have lived here. Apart from the mammals, such as white-tailed deer, skunk, possum, raccoon, red and grey squirrel, bobcat, coyote, red and grey fox and black bear that have been seen, there are over 70 bird species recorded by myself, some of which appear to breed on site. Some of the bird species are fragile in the sense of being very sensitive to disturbance, such as pileated woodpecker, osprey, barred owl, great-horned owl and a number of hawks. Clearly, the siting of a firearms range on the property would have a detrimental impact upon these animals.

Finally, the siting of this facility in this area of Connecticut is about as far from the epicenter of police activity that it is possible to get without going out of state. From the point of view of recurring transport costs (fuel, vehicular wear and tear, travel time) and the polluting effects of that transport it would be a more efficient and sensitive use of tax-payers’ money to site the facility so that travelling time and distance is minimized.

Consequently, I respectfully urge you to remove this Hampton site from the list of options being considered.

Yours Sincerely,

Concerned Citizen of Hampton

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