WARSAW — A home-based firearm sale and repair store will not be coming to the residential area on Saint Mary’s Drive, Warsaw, after failing to receive approval from the Warsaw Board of Zoning Appeals.
Trevor Long, owner of Silver Lake Arms Depot, attended the meeting on Tuesday, April 24. Long has a home-based business located in Silver Lake that provides firearm services and sales.
Long requested a use variance allowing for the sale and repair of firearms in a home located at 1311 Saint Mary’s Drive, Warsaw. The home is in an R-1 zoning district. City Planner Jeremy Skinner explained R-1 zoning districts are the most restrictive zoning districts because their purpose is entirely residential.
“If you think of a zoning ordinance as a pyramid, the most restrictive is an R-1, the least restrictive is industrial. So typically, zoning ordinances are based on that premise,” said Skinner.
Skinner explained home occupations involving the sale of goods in that type of district have historically been frowned upon by the board. Skinner was unable to locate a single approved use variance for an R-1 district that involved sales at a premise.
In the past, there have been exceptions made for home-based businesses which involve repair services or offices, however, those exceptions did not allow sales from the home.
Skinner recommended that the board did not approve the use variance.
Long explained the home-based business would focus mainly on firearm care. His family has recently moved from Silver Lake and purchased a home in Warsaw. He stated he wanted to bring his business to the town he now resides.
“It’s a service oriented business,” Long explained. He stated he has sold only two firearms at his business in Silver Lake.
Long explained that due to the type of license he has, he is required to sell firearms, though that is not necessarily his business’s focus. If he were to only provide firearm service, without sales, he would have to pursue a lower license.
An individual who lives near the location of the potential firearm business, expressed his disapproval during the meeting.
“We don’t approve of a gun shop going in behind my house,” said Val Metzger. Metzger explained a gun shop does not belong in a neighborhood with children.
“We’re not gonna take issue with the fact that it’s firearms necessarily, even though that does come into play…We’re focused on that it’s starting a retail business in an R-1,” stated BZA Vice President Rick Keevan.
Several individuals from the neighborhood wrote letters expressing their disapproval of the potential use variance exception.
Jeremy Mullins, who owns rental properties in the neighborhood, wrote a letter of concern to the board. He mentioned issues with a gun shop located in a residential area and the proximity of the shop to several nearby schools.
“This is a residential neighborhood of families with children. Both of our homes are filled with children. I think it is absolutely ridiculous to even consider this petition. If he wants to have a firearm store and repair shop he needs to rent one of our towns’ fine storefronts and do that. A home in a residential neighborhood is no place for a gun store,” stated Mullins in his letter.
The board of appeals voted unanimously to not allow the use variance.
- The board unanimously approved a variance from Development Standards at 101 Argonne Road.
- The board unanimously approved a request for Special Exception at 212 N. Columbia.
- The board unanimously approved a use variance and a variance from development standards at 318 N. Detroit St.