The vacant former Trutech facility on Elton Street. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Plans are in place to renovate the former Trutech facility at the corner of Elton and East Main streets for occupancy by a firearms training facility, an HVAC supply warehouse and distribution operation and offices.

Applicant Signature Partners is seeking site plan approval and a change of use for the 73,100-square-foot former manufacturing and warehouse building, which has been vacant since early 2018. The property is owned by Luxfer Magtech, a subsidiary of Luxfer Holdings, a global materials technology company that bought the Riverhead-based Trutech in 2014.

The 11-acre site is located in the Commercial/Residential Campus “CRC” Zoning Use District, which allows indoor sports and recreation facility and office uses as of right. The applicant in December obtained a special exception from the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals for the warehousing use. The special exception allows the applicant to replace one pre-existing nonconforming warehouse use with another nonconforming use, Riverhead Planner Greg Bergman told the planning board yesterday.

The firearms facility, to be located within the existing one-story concrete block building, will include an indoor shooting range that will be open to the public, as well as offer different levels of memberships, including training for law enforcement agencies, Bergman said.

“The acoustics are such that we believe that’d be virtually no noise outside whatsoever,” said the applicant’s attorney, Charles Cuddy.

Planning board members commented that the shooting facility located within a trailer building at Baits and Barrels on West Main Street has not generated any noise complaints.

“In addition to the live fire range, we also plan on having a 270-degree surround virtual reality build for us by a company called VirTra,” said Anthony Niosi, a principal in Niosi Firearms Development, a federally licensed firearms dealer located at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach.. The company offers a library of training videos and also can create custom-made training videos for local police, that would be proprietary to the police, of local places — for example, local schools — to allow police to virtually train for an active shooter situation.

“So they can practice within an environment that they may find themselves in,” Niosi said. The training uses video screens and laser weapons, he said. “It’s state of the art stuff… It’s to the point now that — you wear a vest, and if the character in the video gets the drop on you, you feel it in the vest,” he said. “It’s very high-tech training.”

He said the proposed facility on Elton Street will offer weapons sales and rentals. The company is a type 07 Federal Firearms Licensee, he said.

Niosi’s business partner Marc Berlin discussed lead remediation. He said the facility would be equipped with a bullet trap system that traps the projectiles into buckets. As the buckets get filled, they get sealed and are taken away for recycling, Berlin said.

“Everything that’s in our facility is going to be completely green,” Berlin said. “The systems that we’re using are high-tech systems to really clean and keep a very safe inside environment. There are high tech scrubbers they suck all the particulate up and in, goes into their vents the vents scrub it out and then fresh air gets recirculated. The system costs over three-quarter of a million dollars, he said.

There will be no outdoor shooting and no discharge of lead particulate to the outside environment, Berlin said.

Architects and engineers discussed facade renovations and site improvements, including parking, landscaping and drainage upgrades.

The property was developed by Chemical Compounding Corporation, founded in 1929. CCC changed its name to Trutech in 1988. Trutech operated a manufacturing and warehousing facility at the site. It manufactured magnesium-based flameless heaters for MREs or “Meals Ready to Eat” used by the U.S. military. Luxfer closed the Riverhead facility in February 2018.

Correction: This story was updated on April 24 to correct the misidentification of Marc Berlin in the original version.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.