A Roselle man hopes to open a shooting sports facility in Bloomingdale that he says would provide education, family entertainment and recreation for suburban gun owners.
Neighbors of the proposed facility, however, are asking village officials to reject the plan because they don't want a gun range close to their homes.
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Julian Perez, a certified firearms instructor who teaches classes in Hoffman Estates, is seeking Bloomingdale's permission to convert a vacant building at 7 N. Circle Ave. into a facility that would have two pistol ranges, a rifle range and a private range. There also would be separate areas for beginners to learn how to shoot using replica firearms.
The village's plan commission is reviewing the proposal for the 4.6-acre property, which is located just north of the intersection of Circle and Lake Street. The advisory panel is expected to make a recommendation next month to the village board, which will have the final say.
On Wednesday, Perez said he wants to open the facility -- dubbed The Range Bloomingdale -- to offer training for residents, including those who need gun-safety training to qualify for a concealed carry permit.
"My whole goal is to bring professionalism and provide a safe atmosphere for our residents," he said. "There's a lot of people who want to be trained."
Because there are many parents who enjoy shooting sports and hunting with their kids, Perez said he wants The Range Bloomingdale to be "a recreational facility for the entire family."
"There's a big void for this," Perez said, "because there's a lot of places that are just very intimidating to women, families and the novice -- somebody who wants to learn how to shoot."
In addition to the ranges, the roughly 42,000-square-foot facility would have classroom areas, a retail store, a library, a museum and on-site gun repair and cleaning services.
"Our facility is going to be based around friendly customer service," Perez said. "Everybody is going to be treated with respect and courtesy."
Residents who live near the former sheet metal fabricating building, however, say they don't want to see it become a gun range.
"Just so it is clear, this is not an anti-gun campaign," neighbor Tony Halachoulis wrote in a letter to the Daily Herald. "This is about the poor choice of a location adjacent to a residential area and the effect the noise, traffic and potential hazardous fumes will have on our property values and quality of life."
Halachoulis said the sound of rounds being fired inside the building and the noise generated by the air filtration and ventilation system "would create a substantial and unreasonable interference with the enjoyment and use of my land."
In response to complaints The Range Bloomingdale would generate the same noise as existing gun ranges, Perez said his business will be designed to address noise issues and ensure safety.
"I don't plan on just putting up walls and letting people shoot," Perez said. "This has been very calculated. My first concern is safety."
J. Thomas Brice, plan commission chairman, said there was a mix of opponents and supporters when the panel did its initial review of the project in December. The plan commission is expected to make its recommendation on Feb. 4.