by ANDY SEVILLA
Gun shops in the middle of the downtown Kyle area? That’s unheard of! Well, maybe not for long.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) gave its blessing last week to move forward with an amendment to Kyle’s Zoning Ordinance and allow gun stores to set up shop in the Central Business District-2 (CBD-2).
John Sanford, who owns a downtown building located at 109 West Center Street, requested the zoning ordinance amendment. He told Planning Director Sofia Nelson, in a letter, that Hal Skaggs has approached Sanford about leasing the property if a gun shop is allowed to go in.
Sanford said in his letter that gun shops must meet some Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) requirements, as well as insurance requirements for safety, security and alarms.
On Sept. 25 the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) voted 5-2 to allow for the amendment to move forward.
Nelson said a gun shop “appears to meet the criteria in the code,” and that allowing that use in the CBD-2 does not appear that it would produce any more harm to property owners in the district than any other allowable use business would.
“Staff has reviewed the use of a gun shop for consistency with the intent of the CBD-2 district and has determined that the use will not create any more offensive noise, vibration, dust, heat, smoke, odor, glare, or other objectionable influences than the minimum amount normally resulting from listed uses permitted,” city staff wrote in their recommendation to council.
Staff also wrote that incoming businesses must adhere to all signage requirements for the district and location of the business. Furthermore, any exterior alterations would require a conditional use permit.
As it stands, gun shops are only allowed in Retail Services (RS), Warehouse (W), and Construction Manufacturing (CM) zoning districts. The CBD-2 mainly addresses development in the original town and central area of the city, allowing for a mix of uses including office, restricted commercial, restricted multi-family residential and residential uses.
Nelson said that Skaggs had two options in his efforts to get a gun shop moved into downtown. She said he could have requested the zoning ordinance be amended to allow gun shops in the CBD-2, which is what Sanford is seeking; or he could have petitioned to rezone his property to RS, W, or CM, though she cautioned the latter would have been “very difficult” because it could be considered spot zoning and because the development standards associated with RS, W, and CM “is inappropriate” in the middle of downtown. Those development standards are more “highway type commercial, not necessarily appropriate for a downtown area.”
Nelson said she was not aware of any gun shops in the city, and if any did exist they would have had to been opened before she joined the city or before the present code was adopted.
“There is a pawn shop – pawn shops sometime sell guns – but exclusively a gun shop, (there isn’t one in Kyle) that I’m aware of,” Nelson said.
Cash Box pawn shop on Burleson Street, just one block west of Sanford’s property, sells firearms.
Nelson said that the pawn shop is allowed to sell guns because that’s a minor component to their retail business, or because it could have been in place before the present ordinance was written.
Kyle council members took that matter up on Tuesday night. The council passed the zoning amendment on the first reading to allow gun shops.
According to city staff, the conditions and limitations on uses in the CBD-2 are:
• The use be conducted wholly within an enclosed building.
• Required yards and outdoor areas not be used for display, sale vehicles, equipment, containers or waste material, save and except for screened dumpster collection areas.
• The use is not objectionable because of odor, excessive light, smoke, dust, noise, vibration or similar nuisance, and that, excluding that caused by customer and employee vehicles, such odors, smoke, dust, noise or vibration be generally contained within the property.
• Signs (advertising) must be in compliance with all applicable ordinances.
• The conditions and limitations and permitted uses applicable to the district governing the proposed use of the property shall apply within the CBD-2.
• Uses as determined by the P&Z and the council which are closely related and similar to those listed and that are not likely to create any more offensive noise, vibration, dust, heat, smoke, odor, glare, or other objectionable influences that the minimum amount normally resulting from listed uses permitted.