Another shot at commenting on Lincolnwood gun shop expansion offered
Updated: September 24, 2012 7:02AM
LINCOLNWOOD — Residents at the Village Plan Commission meeting Aug. 22 are expected to have another chance to sound off on a contentious plan for expansion by a longtime Lincolnwood gun shop.
Shore Galleries, 3318 W. Devon Ave., received initial support from the commission in June to relocate to 6950 Central Park Ave. and to add 16-lane shooting range to its firearms business.
After a throng of both supporters and opponents voiced their opinions last month on the impact such an expansion could have on public safety and businesses’ ability to operate, village trustees opted to send the proposal back for further review.
Plan Commission Chair Paul Eisterhold said the spread of misinformation during the past few months riled up residents on both sides.
“A number of people have purposely got other people agitated,” he said, adding that he didn’t think the views presented were a “true sample” of the community’s overall stance.
Gun-shop owner Mitch Shore stated in his application to the village that his business — which sells mostly to law-enforcement officials — needs additional space to meet customers’ demands for services. He seeks to create a firing range, classrooms, office space and locker rooms.
But village officials must first make several concessions, including amending the zoning code to allow for firearms dealers, minimizing off-street-parking requirements and reducing the distance a firearms dealer must be located from a school or public park to 800 feet from a half-mile (or 2,640 feet).
“The magnitude of the variations being requested are unprecedented,” said Lincolnwood resident and attorney Joann Angarola, who has been retained to represent Ravenswood Studio, a company that shares a wall with the building where Shore Galleries would be located.
“Fortunately the board took a harder look at it and sent it back,” she said.
Angarola said she recruited two highly credentialed engineers to perform a sound test at the Plan Commission meeting to demonstrate the level of noise rifle shots would create in the studio if located next door to a shooting range.
As of Aug. 20, Lincolnwood Mayor Jerry Turry advised Angarola that the demonstration would not be allowed, she said.
In addition to the potential for noise pollution, opponents are also concerned about the gun shop’s desire to move near the School District 74 campus.
Eisterhold contended the close proximity might actually benefit students.
“I am of the opinion that it would be nice to have a gun range and gun shop that could accommodate instructing young people,” he said.
Eisterhold said he learned to hunt and “have respect for firearms” in Boy Scouts and summer camps while growing up in rural Missouri.
He recognized that attitudes toward guns might be different in urban areas.
“A lot of times you don’t get access (to guns),” he said. “But I think it would be a great thing to offer, to teach young people about firearms.”