A Shiloh firearms seller and trainer initially started the village’s recent efforts to establish a zoning classification for a shooting range, if one were to come to the village.
Tom Martindale, owner of 4 Pines Firearms, sells guns and has provided shooting instruction at different shooting ranges in the metro east since 2013. He said he inquired about the zoning for a permanent shooting range in town weeks ago but said he has not submitted any application or has plans to do so.
“It was just a conversation about what zoning would be needed,” Martindale said. “It’s obviously going to be up to what the village comes up with.”
The village board initially discussed the matter during a meeting last month. On Tuesday night, the board agreed to take the next step toward establishing light industrial zoning under special use for any proposed shooting range or gun club in town.
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Village Administrator John Marquart said Martindale requested information about creating a potential shooting range in a wooded area near his home, located south of the railroad tracks and K and K Road and east of North Green Mount Road.
Martindale said he agrees with the light industrial zoning under special use because these areas would be safer and less likely to be disruptive to residents.
“Safety is our main goal,” he said. “I’m not big proponent of a pubic range just coming in and being able to shoot at random. I firmly believe that if anyone were to open a range here it definitely would need to be in a controlled environment with a certified facility and instructors. This would be my concern with it. Even though I’m a business owner, I’m also a Shiloh resident and I also have concerns.”
Mayor Tom Vernier said there has been talk at past planning commission meetings about establishing a needed indoor shooting range for local law enforcement and military personnel, including talk of building an indoor shooting range through a joint venture with Scott Air Force Base and the city of O’Fallon. He said the village would need to meet a number of regulations in order to create appropriate zoning for any shooting range, including safety and air regulations.
“It’s a big process,” Vernier said. “All the village is doing is we are saying if someone came to our community, we would possibly consider a firing range in light industrial zoning, but it would take a special use permit and they would have to meet all of their guidelines. The biggest one is safety and the fact that the air quality has to meet EPA guidelines.”
Village engineer Norm Etling said the board will next determine what specific requirements would be included under special use. He said the village staff will next need to recommend requirements and submit them to the planning commission and then hold a public hearing.
“The board has reaffirmed the opinion from the planning commission that, yes, industrial zoning seems to be the right place to put it,” Etling said. “We’re taking another step.”
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2526.