Lincolnwood shooting-range proposal goes back to plan panel
Shore Galleries Inc., a gun shop at 3318 W. Devon Ave. in Lincolnwood, is considering moving to 6950 N. Central Park Ave. in Lincolnwood to open a 30,000-square-foot gun shop and 16-lane firing range. The proposal went before the Village Board July 17, but trustees returned the matter to the Planning Commission, which earlier had recommended changing zoning laws to allow the move. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 18, 2012 2:26PM
LINCOLNWOOD -- A proposal by Lincolnwood firearms dealer Shore Galleries to relocate within Lincolnwood and add a shooting range was delayed Tuesday night when village trustees sent the proposal back to the Plan Commission for further review.
Lincolnwood Village Hall was packed with residents eager to share their opinions about the proposed plan to move Shore Galleries from its current location at 3318 W. Devon Ave. —its address for the past 56 years — to a new spot in an industrial area at 6950 Central Park Ave.
Shore Galleries owner Mitch Shore needs village approval for his controversial plan to add a 16-lane shooting range to his firearms business, which sells mostly to law enforcement officials.
Before Shore Galleries would be allowed to relocate, the village would have to approve a special-use permit for the shooting range in addition to amending village zoning and municipal codes relating to parking regulations and location requirements.
Shore’s proposal was met with both praise and opposition Tuesday, with 26 people expressing support for the relocation plan and 10 speakers opposing it during a public comment session.
Mayor Gerald Turry said trustees also would consider the 97 petitions the village received opposing the plan and the 16 petitions supporting it before reaching a final decision.
Many opposing it said they were concerned about a shooting range being about a half-mile from Lincolnwood School District 74’s campus and a public park area.
A neighboring business owner also voiced concerns about noise. Michael Shapiro owns the office building at 6900 Central Park Ave., which shares a wall with the building where Shore Galleries would be located.
Shapiro said he would be compelled to shut down his business if the shooting range were allowed to operate in the location, which has been occupied by Resillo Press Pads since the building was constructed.
A consulting firm he hired to evaluate the noise level in his offices if a shooting range were located next door showed the noise would be too loud for him to continue to operate his business, Shapiro said.
“The gunfire noise will render my offices unusable,” Shapiro said.
Shore’s legal counsel said sound-related issues with neighboring businesses had been addressed, and that the construction of the shooting range was designed to comply with sound-level limits specified in the village’s ordinance.
But trustees refused to take any action, and said the Plan Commission needs to take a closer look at noise-level evaluations and other issues still on the table, such as the required number of parking spots for the range, a security plan for overnight storage of firearms and hours of operation.
“I think there’s a perception problem with having a shooting range in the community,” Trustee Nicholas Leftakes said. “I like the new site location and I think it’s better than the current location at Devon, but there are a number of issues that need to be addressed, and to rush something that still remains this fragmented is doing a disservice to the people who live in this community.”
Some who spoke in favor of the relocation said Shore Galleries was a welcome business in the community because it sells primarily to law enforcement, and doesn’t use marketing or advertising geared toward attracting outside business from the public.
“(Shore Galleries) is set so far back off a major road that you’re not going to go there unless you know it’s there,” said Mark Yohanna, a member of the Plan Commission.
If plans for the shooting range are approved, Shore said he plans to continue to maintain a low profile.
“Only the name and the address are on the outside of the building,” Shore said. “I’m not going to go and take out full-page ads that say I have a shooting range here.”
A part of the Lincolnwood village code implemented in 1994 requires gun shops to be at least a half-mile away from parks and schools, prohibiting firearms dealers from the community, but Shore Galleries was “grandfathered” in as an exception, allowing it to exist as the only dealer in Lincolnwood.
Before the business can relocate, the village also would have to approve a text amendment reducing the half-mile requirement to 800 feet, a requirement met by the property at 6950 Central park Ave.
The Plan Commission will hear the matter for a second time at a 7 p.m. meeting Aug. 22 at 6900 N. Lincoln Ave.