In late October 2012, plaintiffs applied to obtain the appropriate licenses and permits from the village to open and operate a shooting range on the second floor of a building, above a licensed gun dealership. The property is located in what the village referred to as a B-2 zoning district, which permits for-profit or not-for-profit health clubs and private recreation. On November 1, 2012, the village’s zoning officer denied the applications, finding that a shooting range did not fall within the ordinance’s permitted-use provision for the zoning district. On November 9, 2012, the village adopted a resolution initiating amending the ordinance to formerly clarify that shooting ranges are not permitted uses in the B-2 zoning district. Thereafter, the village’s zoning board of appeals affirmed the zoning officer’s denial of the plaintiffs’ applications, finding that a shooting range did not fall into the intended meaning of the ordinance’s definition of “health club or private recreation.” Upon administrative review, the circuit court affirmed the zoning board’s decision but the appellate court reversed.
The appellate court determined that a shooting range fell under the unambiguous definition of a “health club or private recreation” as used in the ordinance at the time of the applications. At the time the plaintiffs submitted their applications, the village’s ordinance defined “health club or private recreation” as: “A building or portion of a building designed and equipped for the conduct of sports, exercise, leisure time activities, or other customary or usual recreation activities, operated for profit or not-for-profit and which can be open only to members and guests of the organization or open to the public for a fee.”
Examining the dictionary definition of “recreation,” the appellate court determined that the plain language of the ordinance was unambiguous, and concluded that the proposed shooting range was a “recreation” and, hence, a permitted use as of right under the ordinance.
Platform I Shore, LLC v. Village of Lincolnwood, 2014 IL App (1st) 133923 (8/18/2014)
The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2014/1stDistrict/1133923.pdf
Editor’s note: This blog post is reprinted from the Illinois Municipal League’s weekly digest at: http://www.iml.org/page.cfm?key=13114