Plan for Long Grove gun store, shooting range withdrawn

Facing overwhelming community opposition, a plan to open a gun range and store in Long Grove has been withdrawn by the developer, village officials said Friday.

A Range USA operation was proposed for about 1.7 acres on Old Hicks Road north of Lake-Cook Road. The undeveloped land is part of the Menards property.

Formerly known as Shoot Point Blank, Cincinnati-based Range USA has stores in 10 states. In Illinois, shops can be found in Hanover Park, Naperville, Villa Park and three other locations.

A 14,933-square-foot building with 20 shooting lanes, a retail area and classrooms was proposed for Long Grove by real estate developer ComptonAddy, also of Cincinnati.

The property is zoned for certain retail uses, and gun sales and a shooting range are not among them. ComptonAddy had requested that village officials change the zoning rules to allow firearms-related uses on such properties under certain circumstances, to allow them specifically on the Menards property and to grant a permit for such a business.

The village's plan commission discussed the proposal Tuesday, hearing from Range USA representatives and some members of the public. The group expected to continue the discussion Sept. 6.

But after the meeting, opponents inundated village officials with more than 1,000 emails. They came from Long Grove and throughout the Chicago area.

Many speakers referred to the recent mass shooting in Highland Park. Range USA carries the model of semi-automatic rifle police say was used in that attack, which left seven dead and dozens injured.

Long Grove officials received a brief email from ComptonAddy on Thursday that, after conferring with Range USA representatives, the developer was withdrawing requests for zoning changes and the permit, Village Manager Greg Jackson said.

That essentially scuttled the proposal.

When asked about the decision, Jackson said ComptonAddy and Range USA were entitled to consideration like any other business seeking to open in town. The process includes the ability to withdraw a plan from consideration, "and they've exercised that prerogative," Jackson said.

ComptonAddy representatives couldn't be reached for comment.

Long Grove resident Lisa Kaplin was among those who emailed Jackson in opposition to the plan. She celebrated its demise Friday.

"The residents were clear and nearly unanimous in their desire for things to end this way," Kaplin said.

Erin Waitz, a Chicago resident who also had emailed Jackson about the Range USA plan, called the withdrawal "a huge win for the community."

"We came together and were able to make a difference," said Waitz, who has six relatives who survived the Highland Park attack. "This is a victory for all of us fighting to get assault-style weapons out of our state. Small steps have an impact."

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