Stillwater Planning Commission Approves Plans for Shooting Range in Simonet’s Furniture Building

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The Stillwater Planning Commission approved the plans for a gun range and outdoor sporting goods shop in the Simonet’s Furniture Building on Curve Crest Boulevard.

Minnesota Shooting Academy is proposing to retro-fit the 26,000 square foot Simonet’s Furniture building into an outdoor sporting goods retailer and range similar to Cabela’s and Gander Mountain, according to a letter written to the Stillwater Planning Commission.

The plans for the building include about 7,500 square feet of retail space, along with a lounge, training rooms and 2 offices, gunsmith room and warehouse area.

The south side of the building would include a two 75 foot shooting-range bays that will be divided up into an public range, and a separate range for private members and law enforcement.

Plans also call for the sale of new and used firearms at Minnesota Shooting Academy.

The planning commission on July 8 approved the variances needed, and a special use permit for the Commercial Amusement and Recreational Establishment, Stillwater City Planner Abbi Wittman said.

The proposal was approved with the following conditions:

  1. No greater than 14 firing lanes are permitted. Five of the firing lanes shall be made available for rental to community service personnel and community education activities.
  2. Minnesota Shooting Academy must have at least one adult employee or adult supervisory volunteer in the premises during all hours of operation.
  3. Sound proofing specifications must be submitted with the building permit application.
  4. Minnesota Shooting Academy must install appropriate and sufficient soundproofing to be in compliance with city code for sound levels outside of the establishment.
  5. A total of 26 parking spaces must be created onsite.
  6. A grading plan must be reviewed by the CityEngineering Department and a Brown’s Creek Watershed District permit must be obtained prior to the installation of the additional parking spaces.
  7. Upon the sale to Minnesota Shooting Academy, and prior to the release of necessary building permits, a 15 foot trail easement shall be dedicated to the city of Stillwater along the eastern property boundary for future trail connection between Curve Crest Boulevard and Highway 36.
  8. All changes to the approved plans will need to be reviewed and approved by the Community Development Director. Any major changes will need to go to the Planning Commission for review and approval.

“Training will be a large part of the day to day operations, Mark Kamas of Minnesota Shooting Academy wrote in a letter to the Planning Commission. “With over 1 million firearms sold in 2014, we would like to ensure the citizens that live in and around the twin cities as well as western Wisconsin have the best possible training available to them.”

Guardian Tactical Solutions will lead all of Minnesota Shooting Academy’s training classes. Classes will range from introductory to firearms, basic firearms course and higher level conceal and carry courses.

Currently, Minnesota Shooting Academy has 10 NRA certified instructors, Kamas wrote.

Minnesota Shooting Academy has “assured city staff the building materials would not allow audible noises to be heard from adjacent businesses,” according to city documents. “The applicant will be including additional sound proofing measures so the decibel level would be reduced to less than that of a passing vehicle to the while standing in the parking lot.”

The Stillwater Planning Commission will take up discussion and a possible vote on the proposal during a meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8 at City Hall.

Stillwater Gun Range Proposal

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