In letter to Planning Board, firearms company indicates Elton Street property only to be used for training services

A firearms company seeking to relocate to Elton Street in Riverhead will offer “no gunsmith services … and no sales of firearms whatsoever,” according to a letter sent on behalf of the applicant, Signature Partners, headed by Andrew Weiss.

The letter written by attorney Charles Cuddy and sent to the Riverhead Planning Board indicated that Niosi Firearms Development LLC still intends to provide firearms training at the site at 680 Elton St.

A commercial application from Signature Partners named 680 Elton Street calls for the currently vacant 73,100-square-foot commercial building to be developed with new tenants that would include the firearms training facility, among other proposed uses, along with improvements to facades, parking, lighting and drainage.

During a Planning Board meeting in April, Anthony Niosi, the owner of the firearms company, said that he would sell guns at the site in addition to the firearms training. The company had previously sold firearms at its location in Westhampton Beach.

That set off a wave of public opposition and calls for new zoning to address issues like where firearms can and can’t be sold.

The Planning Board had planned to schedule a public hearing for a site plan application from 680 Elton Street in early June, but that resolution was pulled from the agenda prior to the meeting.

The Planning Board had a resolution on its agenda for Thursday’s meeting to schedule a public hearing on the site plan application, but the resolution was again pulled. Jefferson Murphree, the building and planning administrator, said it was pulled because the Planning Board attorney, Eileen Powers, was away, and there was new information on the application, namely the letter indicating no firearms would be sold at the site.

Specifically, the letter states in its entirety: “The training academy will have classrooms, virtual reality training and practice, simulation training (such as paintball) and practice, and live fire training and practice.

“There will be rentals of equipment and sales of ammunition associated with the use of the facility. There will be no gunsmith services offered and no sales of firearms or transfer of firearms whatsoever.”

Planning Board chair Joann Waski said she wants to discuss the letter with the Planning Board attorney when she gets back.

The Town Board currently has devised proposed zoning to address where firearm sales should and shouldn’t be located. Current code does not specify where those businesses can be located. Following a packed June hearing on the proposed zoning, with speakers both for and against the proposed zoning, the board has yet to take any further action. 

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said at a July 21 meeting that this proposal had no support on the board. But on Tuesday, Councilman Tim Hubbard said the issue will go before the town’s code revision committee and Ms. Aguiar said she supports that.

Ms. Aguiar also directed Mr. Murphree to address firearm sales in the town’s comprehensive plan revision. The town’s code revision committee next meets Aug. 15, but the meetings are not open to the public.

The Elton Street property is located within the Commercial Residential Campus zoning district.