ALTON – In a controversial move, the city turned down a request by Piasa Armory for a special use permit following complaints from its neighbor, a woman’s shelter.
“I don’t believe that having a gun shop next door to a battered women’s center is appropriate,” said Joanne Adams, board member of the Oasis Women’s Center.
Last December, the city issued a business license to 115 Market Street to operate a sporting goods store, including gun sales. The owner, Scott Pulaski, later was advised by the city to request a special use permit for a gun shop, or diversify sales to include additional sporting goods.
The Plan Commission recommended a negative vote earlier this month.
Pulaski says when his business moved into the area, representatives of the shelter said they had no problem with the store being next door. Oasis Women’s Center board member Michael Meehan says that is not the case.
“What they applied to as a sporting goods shop was, in reality, a gun shop,” he said.
Meehan also said a special use permit is a privilege, not a right, and could set a precedent that could adversely affect the shelter.
Jason Hill, attorney for Scott Pulaski, said the shop poses no threat to the shelter and Piasa Armory fully supports the shelter and its purpose.
The special use permit failed by a vote of 4-3, with five votes needed to pass.
Pulaski says he is looking to move his business to a more suitable location, including somewhere with room for a firing range. He also looks to add more sporting goods to his inventory.
Oasis Women’s Center has been at its current location since 1978.