A firing range used for police training in Pittsfield is causing new concern. Residents who live near the range say the shooting activity has picked up recently and they are now worried for their safety.
Police say the gun range has been here for years but recently neighbors say they’ve have been finding things like shotgun slugs in their yards. With the County 4-H club just up the hill, they say things are getting too close for comfort
Cellphone video one neighbor captured from her porch. The video certainly seems loud, but neighbors say the shooting is more than just an annoyance.
“I have a 12-year-old daughter. She’s exposed to this. She gets off the school bus and they’re shooting like crazy,” Elizabeth Fiscella, a Pittsfield resident, said.
Fiscella has been living in the neighborhood behind the utility drive gun range for 30 years, and she’s not the only one nearby.
“We are to the right probably 500 feet,” David Durante, a Pittsfield resident, said.
Durante says living so close to the tree line at the range is worrisome enough.
“It’s not the bullets that have gone into the tree that are the problem. It’s the bullets that have gone by the tree that are the problem. Because once they have gone by the tree, they can go miles downrange.”
“For years people have found stuff laying on the ground, including live rounds,” Brenda Vallone, a Pittsfield resident, said.
That’s not all neighbors say they’ve found in the area.
“It’s apparently a kitchen pot that guys brought down there and threw on the ground so they could shoot it full of holes,” Durante said.
“If there are bullet holes in copper pans, there could be bullet holes in our children,” Fiscella said.
With an active railroad track, close to the backstop, neighbors say that this range isn’t in compliance with zoning regulations.
“We realize that police officers do need a place to train, but this is not a training area. It’s not set up to be one by any extent of the law,” Fiscella said.
According to the Pittsfield Zoning Website, the range does appear to be in Zone R-12 which does not permit shooting ranges.
Police say they’re not sure of the zoning laws, but this is where the city allows them to train. They say neighbors are safe from fire but that they do understand their complaints.
“We’re working on finding a solution,” Pittsfield Police Lt. Matthew Kirchner said.
NEWS10 ABC reached out to the city’s permitting coordinator to talk about zoning, but we did not hear back.