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Bloomingdale commission shoots down gun range plans

BLOOMINGDALE – In its recommendation to the Village Board, the Bloomingdale Plan Commission shot down plans for a proposed state-of-the-art shooting range.

Julian Perez, a Roselle resident and firearms instructor, proposed to transform an abandoned sheet metal factory, at 7 N. Circle Ave., into a 43,000-square-foot facility with four separate shooting ranges, airsoft range, simulated video range, classrooms, museum, library, on-site repair and cleaning services and a retail store.

But the Plan Commission, in a 5-1 vote against the proposal April 15, sided with residents in the area who expressed concerns about increased noise and traffic and lowered property values in the neighborhood if the range were to become a reality.

“The reason I voted against it is because I believed it would have affected the property values of the surrounding [residences],” Plan Commission Chairman J. Thomas Brice said.

Brice said the commission follows a list of criteria when making determinations about these kinds of proposals, and one of those factors includes the question of property value.

Although the commission had not spoken with a real estate agent on the matter, Brice said based on his own knowledge, he believed “it would adversely affect the property values.”

That was the only reason he could justify a negative vote, he said.

Tony Halachoulis, whose home is located about 33 feet away from the proposed site of the range, said he believes the Plan Commission made the right decision.

“I think that a gun range in Bloomingdale is a great idea, but this location is the wrong location,” said Halachoulis, a retired police officer and gun owner. “I said, in a prior meeting, if he opened it somewhere else in Bloomingdale, I’d be the first one in line on opening day.”

While the potential effects on neighborhood property values are an important factor to consider, Halachoulis said he and other residents in the area also are concerned about the influx of traffic such a business could generate.

The facility, located on nearly 5 acres of land, would include 91 parking spaces, most of which would be located behind the building, Perez previously told Suburban Life Media.

But Halachoulis said 91 parking spaces wouldn’t be enough to meet the demand. He believes the excess traffic would spill over onto neighboring streets.

“It would cause, in my opinion, major backups on Circle Avenue,” Halachoulis said.

Not everyone was pleased with the commission’s vote, however.

“I am disappointed in the [Plan Commission]’s decision,” Perez said in a text message sent to Suburban Life Media. “I strongly believe we met all of the zoning requirements. I am looking forward to meeting with the mayor and the village trustees as we move forward with The Range Bloomingdale project.”

Perez declined to comment further on the issue.

The Plan Commission doesn’t have the final say in the matter, as the fate of the range is now in the hands of the Village Board.

“The Plan Commission is a recommending body,” Brice said. “Our recommendation went up to the village, and they, as always, are the final deciding factor. They’ll communicate with [Perez], and they’ll make their decision.”

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