By Remington Vaughan, Staff Reporter In October 2019, a small group of Easttown Township citizens came together over a common concern: Waynesborough Country Club’s trap shooting program. Every Sunday from early November through the end of March, participants use shotguns to shoot clay discs that are flung from a spring device. Once the golf season...
By Remington Vaughan, Staff Reporter
In October 2019, a small group of Easttown Township citizens came together over a common concern: Waynesborough Country Club’s trap shooting program. Every Sunday from early November through the end of March, participants use shotguns to shoot clay discs that are flung from a spring device.
Once the golf season at Waynesborough Country Club comes to a close, the main driving range is turned into a trap range at which the club hosts practices and tournaments.
Not every community member views this as a relaxing Sunday pastime. Donna Loyle, a member of the Stop the Noise Now coalition, sees the program as a danger to the health of the surrounding neighborhoods.
“There are two primary issues that have brought this group of concerned neighbors together, and it’s the decibel levels of the loudness — which clearly breaks Easttown township’s noise ordinance — and the environmental concerns with the lead pellets being dumped,” Loyle said.
The group met with then-Waynesborough Country Club president Alexis Bove and wrote letters to the Club’s Board of Governors to voice their concerns regarding the noise and environmental impact.
“We (took) their requests and (saw) what we could accomplish — if not all in the first year, (then) what we could accomplish down the road,” said Joe Furko, General Manager of the country club.
The coalition hired Michael Goldberg, an independent environmental engineer, to help test and record the decibels emitted from the gunfire. According to his findings, at all times during the trap shooting, the sound of the shots violated the Easttown Township Noise Ordinance — and by as much as 33.2 decibels above the allowed 55 decibels on weekends.
The coalition then met with Easttown Township’s Board of Supervisors to request an enforcement of the noise ordinance. According to Michael Wacey, the Chair of the Easttown Township Board of Supervisors, in 2021, the township cited the country club under the zoning ordinance in district court. However, the presiding judge, Tom Tartaglio, denied the citation.
According to a letter from Waynesborough Country Club to the community, the club has lowered the range, altered the direction in which members shoot, attempted to use low recoil ammunition which can be quieter and reduced the number of shooting days and hours to only Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Previously, members shot on Sundays and occasionally on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The coalition’s second concern lies with the lead pellets emitted from the shot.
“Given that a stream runs through the range and (it) is in close proximity to wetlands, the amount of lead being embedded into the soil from the lead pellets also poses a threat to contaminating the stream that, in turn, connects to other streams, including Crum Creek, that ultimately provide a source of drinking water and groundwater,” Loyle said.
In its letter, the club stated that the pellets pose no threat to the surrounding environment as it vacuums them up to remove much of the debris from the clay targets and the shot fall. The club also spreads lime over the soil to increase pH levels, reduce acidity and reduce the chance of leaching from the pellets.
Loyle is not convinced that the club can minimize the noise and possible environmental impacts.
“Given that I don’t think that’s possible to do — especially reducing the noise to township limits — I’d like the club to do what it did during last season’s course renovation and move the shooting program permanently off-site,” Loyle said.
Remington Vaughan can be reached at [email protected]
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