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Clarksville will allow gunsmith to operate

SoVaNow.com / March 27, 2013
Clarksville Town Council reversed an earlier decision and awarded a special use permit to Gregg Garrett at Tuesday night's town council meeting. The permit allows Garrett to operate as a gunsmith (one who repairs guns) out of his home.

Mike Sizemore, who previously voted against issuing the special use permit, called for the reconsideration. He explained how after the meeting he spoke with Garrett to learn why he needed to operate out of his home and not from a downtown storefront. Sizemore was told that Garrett, at this time, could not afford the rent.

"I then realized that here we are asking our young people to come back to this area, start a business and raise a family, but also saying not your business. We can't have it both ways. I am comfortable that [Garrett], a former Marine Corps marksmanship instructor, with two young children, has the knowledge and the desire to operate in a safe manner, and that is why I ask the Council to reconsider its earlier decision," Sizemore said.

As an aside, Sizemore pointed out that only five of Clarksville's nearly 1,300 residents expressed any opposition to Garrett's business.

The vote was 3-2 with Sizemore, and Council members Chris Clarke and Glenn Jurczyk voting to award the permit, and Council members Carolyn Hite and Bill Nunn again voting against its issuance.

Nunn, renewing his objection to the permit said, "At this time in our society we do not need a gun shop in a neighborhood."

Garrett, in response to questions, assured Council that he had a gun safe in which to store the guns and parts. He also again agreed to comply with the restrictions placed on his operation by the town's planning commission, including:

No signage promoting the proposed business;

Parking of no more than two non-residential, business-related vehicles on the property at any one time;

No inventory for perusal or sale at the site;

Allowing periodic inspection by the Clarksville Police department

• Obtaining appropriate licensing from the Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms office in Virginia. (ATF recently issued a license to Garrett, which satisfies this condition.)

Council also approved a rezoning request for the tan two-story building on Virginia Avenue across from the Food Lion store. The owners of Clarksville Video have purchased the building. They plan to move their store from the Clarksville Crossings Shopping Center into the ground floor of the new building. The upper floor will house apartments.

In other business Council member Chris Clarke offered three resolutions honoring Bluestone High School. The first was to the band and its Director Ricky Allgood for achieving the distinction of being named an "All Virginia Band." The other two were to the boys' and girls' junior varsity basketball teams for their winning records during their respective seasons.

Police Chief Ricky Wilkinson said, in light of the recent death of Master Trooper Janus, he was looking into new and improved body armor for his men. This necessary equipment needs to be replaced every 5 to 6 years, Wilkinson explained, and most of his officers’ armor was at least 5 years old.

Hite asked what it would cost to replace the armor. Wilkinson responded, "around $3,000." The good news, according to Wilkinson is that the Department of Justice has grant money available to pay for this equipment and he is looking into how he can obtain those funds.

Glenn Jurczyk said the work to restore Robbins Park was ahead of schedule and on budget. He expected to have the job completed by April 24. However, he was dealing with a new expense for an item not previously requested by the Clarksville Ruritan Club. The Ruritan Club wants to place a plaque at the entrance of the park honoring Paula Olsen, a member of the club who was their liaison to the Relay for Life teams, and who died of cancer. Jurczyk said the plaque could cost around $900.

Before updating council, he discussed a rumor he said which was circulating to the effect that "Council would no longer allow golf carts on the field in Robbins Park." This was a concern for members of the Clarksville Relay for Life team who hold their annual relay walk at the park. Cancer sufferers and survivors, who are unable to walk in the relay, in the past were driven around on golf carts. If carts are banned, they will be denied the opportunity to participate in the main Relay for Life event.

Mayor Kevin Allgood and all of Council assured Jurczyk that no such ban was discussed or contemplated. Golf carts will still be allowed on the field.

Finally, Richard Elliott, the Town’s Operations Director said the work on the curbs and gutters along Market Street was 90 percent complete. They were waiting for the weather to improve before repairing the asphalt on the roads. He expects the project to be completed by the first or second week of April, weather permitting.

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Comments

Good job Clarksville, smart move.

Comments

Good Job Town of Clarksville! I'm sure not one gun related accident will occur at the business...

Comments

A good move for Clarksville, could be like neighbor Halifax and run all businesses away.

Comments

I'm glad some members "came to their senses" on this matter. I'll be traveling to Clarksville from a neighboring county to give this guy some business, and while I'm there, I'll probably shop in some other places as well. Good gunsmiths are hard to find, especially in Southside Va, so only a paranoid idiot would oppose the idea.

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