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County Commission to Act on Firearms Text Amendment

The County Commission will consider several proposed text amendment changes to the zoning ordinances for the unincorporated areas of Putnam County at its meeting tonight (September 30).

Before the County Commission approves a proposed change in a zoning ordinance, it first determines if the change will promote the health, safety, convenience, and general welfare of the public.

Current zoning ordinance does not allow the sale of firearms and the operation of a pawnshop within 300 feet of a residence. At its meeting, the County Commission will consider a change recommended by the Putnam County Planning Commission on September 21. At that meeting, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the 300-foot restriction be lifted for firearms sales but not for pawnshops. The unanimous vote followed hearing from Dolores Lowe who resides within 300 feet of Valley Outdoors, a seller of firearms. Lowe stated that potential home buyers would not want to locate near Valley Outdoors because it sells firearms and ammunition. She feels less safe now than she did before Valley Outdoors began selling firearms in June.

If two of the three Putnam County Commissioners vote to approve the recommended zoning change, every resident in the zoned unincorporated areas of Putnam County whose residence is within 300 feet of a C-1 zoned area could see a gun shop pop up next door.

Commission approval of the recommended zoning change will mean that at least two Commissioners believe that firearms sales within 300 feet of a residence promotes the safety and general welfare of everyone residing in the affected area.

At the September 21 Planning Commission meeting, the owner of Valley Outdoor, Glenn Yeager II, stated that the Planning Commission recommendation did not affect him because firearms sales were ongoing before issuance of the recommendation. Valley Outdoors is located at 3034 Mt. Vernon Road in Hurricane and has been selling firearms since the third week of June.

Current zoning law requires businesses which operate as a seller of firearms to obtain a Special Permit. Valley Outdoors has never obtained a Special Permit.
In July, Judge Phillip Stowers issued an order which allowed Valley Outdoors to continue firearms sales until he rules on the matter. Judge Stowers has yet to act upon a request by attorneys for County Commission, Planning Commission, and Board of Zoning Appeals which would require Valley Outdoors to cease firearms sales at 3034 Mt. Vernon Road.

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