By Bob Balgemann


A requested special use permit to allow a firearms assembly and repair business at 9663 N. Alpine Road, between Field Fastener and Quest Packing and Shipping, has received two positive recommendations. It will be considered by the village board at Monday night’s meeting.

The new business is called Twigg Arms, which would design, build and repair firearms and ammunition, according to a letter from co-owner R. Scott Twigg requesting a special use permit to allow the operation.

There is an existing building with two general industrial office suites and shop spaces, on the 1.82 acres in question at the Alpine Road location.

Twigg’s letter stated the new business would occupy the smaller of the two suites, approximately 1,900 square feet in size, to house the business. He said that space would be used for the design, build and repair of firearms and ammunition. Those services would be marketed to the firearms collector, who desires to have modifications, upgrades and repairs made to their valuable weapons.

“We do not intend to be another retail gun store,” Twigg stressed. “It is our desire to focus our services on cleaning, repair and modifying firearms for the hunter, target shooter and sporting enthusiast.”

First stop for the request was the planning and zoning commission (P&Z) on Dec. 28, 2020.

After providing commissioners with background on the proposal, village Planning and Zoning Manager Carrie Houston said staff recommended approval of issuing a special use permit because they didn’t believe the business would negatively impact the area.

“It is an established industrial area,” she said of that part of North Alpine Road. “Our only concern is there would be firearms ammunition on the premises. We believe the conditions will help ensure the safety of the business and the area.”

Here are the conditions:

• Firearms assembly and repair only may be conducted in the 1,900-square-foot suite at 9663 N. Alpine Road.

• No sale or resale of new or used firearms, or ammunition, shall be conducted on the premises.

• Any test firing of the firearms shall be into OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)-approved test firing containers.

• Security, surveillance and alarm system details must be submitted, and shall be reviewed and approved by the village public safety supervisor, and installed, prior to conducting the firearm assembly and repair use.

• Reinforced exterior doors and windows are required.

• An ST-1 sales tax registration is required to be submitted to the Illinois Department of Revenue, indicating the business address in Machesney Park, Ill.

Meets criteria

There are six criteria that have to be met for a special use permit to be approved. Those criteria primarily address whether the proposed use would have any detrimental impacts on the immediate surroundings and nearby area.

This request met five of the six criteria. It didn’t meet the one stating, “The establishment, maintenance of operation of the special use will not be detrimental to, or endanger, the public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare.

The village view stated, “The industrial area, north of the commercial area along West Lane Road (Illinois 173), is home to a number of industrial manufacturing and servicing businesses. The subject property is a conforming lot where a gauge and instrument repair (business) is already operating. Adding firearm assembly and repair to a vacant portion of the industrial building may draw a criminal interest based on the new presence of firearms in the area.”

During the P&Z meeting Commissioner John Valenta asked Twigg to define the word, “assembly.”

Twigg replied that someone could come in with a hunting rifle and want a new scope put on. Or someone could want a different trigger.

“So that would be modifications and not assembling product, where you would take pieces and create guns,” Valenta said.

Twigg answered that was correct.

Commission Chairman Jim Hankin asked Twigg if he was agreeable to the proposed conditions?

“The only one outstanding is with regards to the safety and security of the building,” Twigg responded. “We did not want to put expense into bulletproof glass and things of that nature, until your committee approved the zoning variance. But we will be putting in security cameras inside and outside the building. And right now we’re in discussions with various security companies on whether to put bars on the windows, put in bulletproof glass or have other security-type features like storm shutters.”

P&Z ultimately voted 5-0, with two absent, to recommend approval of the special use permit request.

On Jan. 4, 2021, the planning and economic development committee (PED) with minimal discussion voted 4-0, with two absent, to recommend approval of the request.

Village Trustee Jake Schmidt, one of the committee members, asked Twigg if he would be getting a Federal Firearms License?

The answer was “yes.” And Twigg said further, “I have not submitted an application yet for two reasons. One is I wanted to make sure I’d get the zoning variance I need. And No. 2, I have to be fingerprinted for that application and plan to do that when we return to Illinois, at the Roscoe police station.”

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