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DeKalb County Board to hear gun sales plan, neighbors' concerns

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

SYCAMORE – Marilyn Greenawalt doesn’t want what she calls a gun distribution center operating out of a home in her neighborhood.

Greenawalt, who lives on Ellen Drive in the Ellen Oaks subdivision near the intersection of Route 23 and Base Line Road, is opposed to a special use permit request from Ronald Budoff, of the 12800 block of Williams Circle, to run a business selling guns out of his home.

“I feel like everybody in the neighborhood should have been notified [of the permit request] from road to road,” she said. “This affects all of us – the values of our homes and the safety of our children.”

DeKalb County Board members are scheduled to consider Budoff’s request at their meeting tonight.

Budoff, who lives at his home with his parents, applied for a special use permit in July to sell firearms from his home. Because it’s a home-based business, the permit will be needed as he will receive deliveries and visits from customers, said Paul Miller, DeKalb County planning, zoning and building director. The permit is necessary for a business that may generate excessive traffic or attract large numbers of people. 

“In other words, does the proposed special use permit fit in or will it stick out like a sore thumb and negatively affect the surrounding area,” Miller said.

County staff and board members already have evaluated Budoff’s application, which included a public hearing Aug. 29 and a county planning and zoning committee meeting Sept. 25.

Budoff was not available for comment Tuesday. At the planning and zoning meeting, Budoff said his business would not have more than five customers a week, with deliveries limited to once or twice a week, according to meeting minutes.

Four members of the public spoke out against approval of the special use permit. They were concerned about safety issues with firearms being delivered and picked up in their neighborhood.

Rita Yerkes also is concerned that her neighbor’s request could hurt the property values in her neighborhood. Yerkes lives on Williams Circle in the neighborhood, where children play in streets that have no sidewalks or streetlights.

“We don’t know who these people are going to be to pick up guns from this person,” she said.

Budoff would have no employees, and the business would consist mainly of over-the-phone and online sales of firearms, meeting minutes indicate. The weapons would be delivered to Budoff’s home for customers to pick up. 

The sale, delivery and pick-up of handguns, rifles and shotguns at Budoff’s home would be allowed under the permit. Budoff said he wouldn’t be selling assault rifles, Miller said. The permit also doesn’t allow for more than one vehicle to be on Budoff’s property at a time, he said.

If the permit is approved by County Board today, it will expire in two years, Miller said. Budoff can apply for an extension but it must be approved by the board. 

County Board member John Emerson, a Genoa Republican from District 2, said he is opposed to the special permit for the business because of the lack of support from neighbors. Emerson said he is a gun owner himself and respects the rights of gun owners but doesn’t think a business with no support from neighbors should exist there. 

“None of the neighbors were interesting in having it,” he said. 

County Board member Anthony Cvek, a Sycamore Republican from District 4, said he thinks the permit will pass at today’s board meeting based on the public hearing for it. His concern was if the county could prohibit Budoff’s ability to sell assault weapons.

“My question is whether or not we can adequately put that in place and enforce it,” he said.

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