Shooting range planned for Forest Lake gun shop

Lakes Trading Company seeks permit


Clint Riese
News Editor

The owner of a Forest Lake gun shop is seeking permission to add an indoor shooting range. The Forest Lake Planning Commission next Wednesday will consider a request from Ben Oliver of Lakes Trading Company for a conditional use permit.

His business is located in a mall at 95 SW Eighth Ave., which is in a mixed-use district.

The City Council, after its third look at the matter, on March 11 voted unanimously to change the city code to allow the discharge of firearms in qualified indoor ranges in MU-2 zoning districts, as well as in Limited Industrial Business and Industrial districts, contingent upon a conditional use permit.

The planning commission on Feb. 13 had recommended the council require applicants to obtain an interim use permit. That board also recommended limiting indoor ranges to those same districts, but only on properties south of 11th Avenue South and west of Highway 61. Lakes Trading Company is located north of 11th Avenue.

The related ordinance was outdated and had not been revised when the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning districts were updated in 2010.

Oliver hopes to expand his gun shop from 250 square feet to 1,600 by putting in an 11-lane, 25-yard range. From the Heart Bible and Gift, which occupies the adjacent suite to the west, would relocate. Lakes Trading Company’s neighbor to the east, The Music Connection, would consolidate at the same address to make room.

A public hearing at the April 24 planning commission meeting begins at 7 p.m. If the board recommends approval of the permit, the matter would likely go before the City Council on May 13, said Community Development Director Doug Borglund.