Village of Lincolnwood holds its fire on shooting range decision
Updated: October 1, 2012 6:16AM
A contentious proposal involving the construction of a firing range in Lincolnwood has prompted the would-be neighboring business of the facility to seek advice on the potential for noise pollution.
The actual sound of gunshots though, won’t be heard anytime soon, as the village is moving cautiously toward allowing acoustic demonstrations, let alone approving the gun shop’s application for expansion.
After learning that sound-simulation equipment would not be allowed at the Aug. 22 Village Plan Commission meeting, Michael Shapiro, of Ravenswood Studio, appealed to officials during the public-comment portion of the Aug. 21 Village Board meeting.
His company shares a wall with the property at 6950 Central Park Ave., where firearms dealer Shore Galleries proposes to install a 16-lane shooting range.
“A long-range rifle range is an extraordinary thing,” Shapiro said. “The sound pressures generated are also extraordinary.”
He and his attorney, Lincolnwood resident Joann Angarola, engaged two engineers to perform a live demonstration of the auditory impact of gunshots from a distance.
“You asked for (the proposal) to be remanded back so we could have more information. I have it,” Shapiro said in reference to the decision by trustees last month to have the Plan Commission re-evaluate specific issues, including noise, related the Shore Galleries’ request.
“I’m just asking for it to be presented, that’s all,” Shapiro said.
The 45-minute discussion that then ensued resulted in five officials strongly voicing their support for the demonstration.
“This is quantifiable study,” said Trustee Renee Sprogis-Marohn. “I don’t see the harm.”
Mayor Jerry Turry and Trustee Jesal Patel, Sr. expressed some reservation, citing the potential for an unfair circumvention of Shore Galleries’ proposal.
The amount of time Angarola requested — 45 minutes — was a particular sticking point.
“Fifteen minutes is reasonable,” Turry said. “The rest is esoteric.”
Patel said he did not want the retained engineers to present information based on Shore Galleries’ proposed construction plans but, rather, various sound levels.
He said the Village Board charged the Plan Commission with determining an appropriate decibel level, and that Shore Galleries would have to build in a manner that complied with the allowable amount.
Shapiro contended the gun shop, to date, has not accurately conveyed the loudness of a rifle.
“It’s possible to build range where that sound will not be heard in the adjacent building,” Shapiro said. “That’s not what Shore is proposing to do.”
Plan Commission Chair Paul Eisterhold said it would be “prejudicial” to allow Shapiro to make his case with a sound simulation without giving Shore Galleries a chance to immediately rebut.
“Our job as a commission is to hear the petitioner and then to take public input. We have done that once already,” he said, referring to a public hearing on the matter in June at which Shapiro was the sole attendee.
Eisterhold said: “I think what we’re trying to do is to get as much information as we can from the petitioner based upon what the board has directed us to do, and then we will hear from the neighbors, which we are allowing extra time because they are immediately impacted.”
Trustee John Swanson cautioned that any restriction on public comment or the presentation of evidence in support or opposition of the gun-shop proposal would reflect poorly on the village.
“They have to be given, I think, their full opportunity to present their case,” Swanson said. “This is too important of an issue.”
Eisterhold ultimately conceded Shapiro could give a live sound demonstration at a future meeting, possibly as early as September, as long as Shore Galleries received notification of their intent and had a chance to prepare a response. ~.