Police Chief Still Hopes to Relocate Little Egg Harbor Police Shooting Range

Apr 11, 2018

An application to use the former Little Egg Harbor regional garbage dump site in the Pinelands Reserve for a shooting range for the Little Egg Police was made in 2008 and has been stuck in limbo despite repeated calls from residents living nearby the present shooting range off Route 9 to move it.

According to Police Chief Richard Buzby, the effort to move the shooting range has been one of his priorities, but the township committee’s concerns have now focused on possible engineering costs to prepare a site for use.

“The NJDEP (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection) and the Pinelands Commission have been very helpful,” said Buzby.

But the township has wavered between using the dump site and a possible joint use of a black-powder gun training site owned by the state near the bombing range on Route 539.

Complicating matters was Superstorm Sandy in 2012 that saw the former dump site used as a temporary staging site for all the debris from Tuckerton, Eagleswood and Little Egg waterfronts. That trash was trucked from the site to a railway that took it out of state to unused coal mines for disposal.

Afterward, the former dump site was determined to be adequately capped.

The present-day shooting range where police and other law enforcement qualify to use their weapons was once in a remote area of the township. The growth of residential developments in the 1990s have encroached on the area. Residents from the Cranberry Creek senior development and Sunrise Bay on Center Street are among those that frequently voice complaints about the noise. Also Walmart and Tractor Supply have been built in the last few years in an area zoned for business.

Buzby noted that in all the years that the shooting range has been in existence – since before his time on the force – there have been no shooting accidents.

But he acknowledges the frustration of residents who want it moved. At a recent municipal meeting some residents claimed they had heard the range being used at night.

Buzby said it is not used at night, never at 9 p.m., as residents claimed, though the range is used for training in low-light conditions. For reduced light conditions, officers can wear goggles.

“We’re still exploring every avenue we can to address this. I’ve worked on this for 15 years,” said Buzby. “We’re not happy with the proximity of houses to the range and we do understand people’s concerns. Hopefully in the near future, we can find a solution.”  —P.J.



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