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Clarksville Council rejects request for gunsmith business

SoVaNow.com / February 27, 2013
On a 3-2 vote, Clarksville Town Council denied a permit for Greg Garrett to operate a gunsmith and firearm transfer business at his home at 102 Mansion Drive in Clarksville.

Council members Connie Torres, who also serves on the town planning commission, and Glenn Jurczyk, interim town zoning inspector, voted in favor of issuing a special use permit, which would have allowed Garrett to move forward with his business plan. Members Mike Sizemore, Bill Nunn and Carolyn Hite voted against the permit. Council member Chris Clarke was absent from the meeting.

Both Hite and Nunn said they had reservations about allowing any ATF-licensed entity to operate in a residential area. Nunn added that, with the current focus on guns and gun issues, he did not want a gun shop in a residential neighborhood, especially when there are many commercial buildings available in the area.

Jurczyk argued there is a major difference between a gun shop and a gunsmith, the line of work that Garrett is seeking. A gun shop carries an inventory of weapons and gun-related paraphernalia. A gunsmith works on guns, restoring or repairing them. The gunsmith does not sell guns or carry an inventory of weapons.

Jurczyk also said Clarksville’s zoning laws do not prohibit such a business. In fact, there once was a gunsmith business on Buffalo Road — it was in operation around 1996.

Previously the Clarksville Planning Commission recommended, by a 5-1 vote, approval of Garrett’s permit request. However, the planning commission placed several restrictions on Garrett’s request, including:

• No signage promoting the proposed business will be permitted on the property or in any other location;

• Only two non-residential, business-related vehicles will be allowed on the property at any one time;

• Garrett will not keep any inventory of guns for perusal or sale at the site;

• Garrett agrees to submit to periodic inspection by the Clarksville Police Department to ensure compliance with the restrictions; and

• Before Garrett can open his gunsmith and firearm transfer business, he must obtain appropriate licensing from the Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms office in Virginia. [ATF recently issued a license to Garrett, which satisfies this condition].

Jurczyk said the one planning commission member who opposed the request did so because he believed the request constituted “spot zoning.” Jurczyk distinguished between Garrett’s request and spot zoning where a particular site is reclassified. He said Garrett’s zoning designation would continue to be residential, but he and only he could operate a specific business — the gunsmith shop — from that residential site.

His comments did nothing to dissuade Council members who voted against issuing the permit. Council member Mike Sizemore told Garret, “I am not personally opposed to what you want to do, but I received a number of calls from people living in the area and I must vote as requested by my constituents.”

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That's right..............run away another tax paying business. Just plain stupid...........


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