Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division
PLATFORM I SHORE, LLC, and 3318 W. DEVON, LLC, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
THE VILLAGE OF LINCOLNWOOD, THE VILLAGE OF LINCOLNWOOD ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS, SHERWIN J. MALKIN, Chairman of the Village of Lincolnwood Zoning Board of Appeals, and AARON COOK, Zoning Officer for the Village of Lincolnwood, Defendants-Appellees
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 CH 6635. Honorable Mary Mikva, Judge, Presiding.
Defendant village's denial of plaintiffs' zoning application for the development and operation of a firearms shooting range on their property was reversed, since a shooting range was a permitted use under the plain and unambiguous language of the zoning ordinance in existence at the time of plaintiffs' application.
FOR APPELLANT(s): Stewart T. Kusper, Paul C. Mallon, Jr., Kusper Law Group, Ltd., Chicago, IL.
FOR APPELLEE(s): Steven M. Elrod, Peter M. Friedman, Hart M. Passman, Holland and Knight, LLP, Chicago, IL.
JUSTICE HOFFMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Connors and Justice Cunningham concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] The plaintiffs, Platform I Shore, LLC, and 3318 W. Devon, LLC, appeal from the circuit court judgment which affirmed the decision of the defendants, The
Village of Lincolnwood (Village), the Village of Lincolnwood Zoning Board of Appeals, Sherwin J. Malkin, chairman of the Village of Lincolnwood Zoning Board of Appeals (collectively referred hereinafter as the Board), and Aaron Cook, zoning officer for the Village of Lincolnwood, denying their zoning application for the development and operation of a firearms shooting range on their existing property. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the judgment of the circuit court and remand the cause for further proceedings.
[¶2] On March 8, 2013, the plaintiffs filed a complaint for administrative review of the Board's decision in the circuit court, alleging the following facts. Platform I Shore, LLC (Platform), leased the second floor of a Lincolnwood property owned by 3318 W. Devon, LLC, in order to operate a shooting range above the existing firearms dealership operated on the first floor of the property. The property is located in a " B-2 zone district" according to the Village's zoning district map. Pursuant to the " health club and private recreation" permitted-use provision for B-2 zoned properties, Platform submitted its application for a business license on October 1, 2012, and on October 2, 2012, 3318 W. Devon, LLC, filed an application to obtain a building permit for Platform's intended renovations and planned shooting range. The plaintiffs, through counsel, sent a letter on October 24, 2012, demanding a decision on their zoning application as promised by the Village's website, which provides that decisions shall be rendered within 11 days of submission. A second demand letter was sent on October 29, 2012.
[¶3] On November 1, 2012, Zoning Officer Cook denied the plaintiffs' application, stating that a shooting range did not fall within the zoning ordinance's permitted-use provision for " health club or private recreation." In the letter, Cook referenced a prior decision made in May 2012 in which the plaintiffs were allegedly told that a shooting range did not fall within the permitted uses for the property. The plaintiffs appealed from Cook's denial to the Board.
[¶4] On December 19, 2012, the Board conducted a hearing on the plaintiffs' appeal at which the following evidence was adduced. The plaintiffs submitted evidence of the plain definitions of " recreation" and contended that Cook read into the ordinance a non-existent exception. They also pointed to another shooting range located within the Village, namely in an area designated as the more restrictive B-1 zone district. The plaintiffs further refuted that any decision on this issue had been rendered in May 2012, and the record is void of any documentation of an application or previous decision from that date. Scott Krone, an architect involved in the planning of the plaintiffs' proposed new firearms store, testified that the May 2012 decision concerned a different approval process for the construction of a ...