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Lancaster town leaders to meet with Cuomo rep about longbow hunting

The longbow hunting controversy on a narrow strip of land in a Lancaster subdivision will be the topic of a special meeting Tuesday between two town leaders and former state Assemblyman Sam Hoyt of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration.

Supervisor Johanna M. Coleman and Councilman John Abraham Jr. plan to meet with Hoyt to see what can be done to alleviate safety concerns raised by residents of Trentwood Trail in the Walden Trace subdivision, where a Buffalo man hunts with a longbow on a narrow strip of land between two subdivision streets.

Sean Petronsky of Buffalo has hunted on his 50-foot-wide-by-1,731-foot strip of land along Mohawk Place for two years but does not live on it. His hunting has upset residents who say that although it is legal, it is still too close to their homes and where their children play.

“We feel it is not a town issue, but an issue for the state Department of Environmental Conservation to address,” Coleman said Monday during the Town Board meeting. “So, we’re going to work that angle.”

Only one resident from Trentwood Trail, who has been outspoken about her concerns, attended the meeting and spoke on the issue to commend efforts by town officials to see what they could do.

The state recently shortened the required distance for longbow hunting by residences to 150 feet from the original 500 feet.

Technically, Petronsky is within his rights to shoot his longbow on his property and says he does so 30 feet up in the air from a tree stand. He has insisted he is very careful of nearby residents and uses a range finder.

After Monday’s town meeting, Abraham said he hopes to get direction from Hoyt on how to help the residents. “We are hoping the DEC could come up with a solution for these residents,” he said. “It won’t be cut-and-dried.”

The Town Board last month was eyeing a proposed local law to restrict the discharge of weapons such as longbows to within 500 feet of residences within four residential districts of the town. Many bucked that, including hunters, who attended the public hearing.

But residents of the Walden Trace subdivision were equally passionate about having special restrictions to ensure safety.

Petronsky has vowed that he won’t back down and said in an interview that he feels targeted by residents who he feels want to take away his right to hunt on his own land within state requirements.

“After the public hearing, we realized we can’t just come in and pass a local law,” Abraham said.

Coleman said the town’s objective is to try “the path of least resistance.”