Sporting goods store approved

Published 9:54 pm Monday, November 14, 2016

A special use permit approval made during last week’s board of supervisors meeting will bring a sporting goods store to Prince Edward County. The decision followed a lack of public participation in three public hearings during the board’s Nov. 8 meeting.

The zoning ordinance hearing on the sporting goods store was the last of the three hearings and introduced a permit submitted by BRW Enterprises LLC to open a retail store at 152 Patrick Henry Highway. The owner of the 3.9-acre property, Jason Badeaux, and two partners, are seeking to sell sporting goods, firearms and ammunition.

Because the property is zoned A1-Agricultural Conservation, it requires a special use permit for the existing building on the property to provide retail sales.

C.R. "Bob" Timmons

C.R. “Bob” Timmons

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Laast week’s public hearing followed an initial public hearing Oct. 25, also at which no one spoke.

The Prince Edward County Planning Commission recommended the permit pass as long as the owner receives licensure through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the store doesn’t expand larger than 800 square feet.

If the store does ever take up more space, the owners will be required to return to the board for an additional special use permit.

In a letter to the board, the owners said they believe the store will provide a “valuable service to the area.”

The store, upon completion, will be open Monday-Saturday, noon-7 p.m.

“What happens if a year, two years from now, this changes to something else?” Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr. asked.

County Director of Planning and Community Development Rob Fowler said “retail” concerns the sale of any goods and services, indicating a change in sale would not affect the permit.

Because the store will be next to an existing restaurant, Badeaux’s Cajun Kitchen, some supervisors raised questions about the sale of ammunition taking place next door to the sale of alcohol. Though the two businesses are being kept entirely separate, the same people own them. Badeaux said the hours are meant to separate the purchase of weapons and the purchase of alcohol.

Sheriff Wesley Reed said he has security concerns about the proposed store.

The owners said they would be installing an alarm system and cameras, as well as bars on the windows, to ensure the building is secure against potential break-ins or robberies.

“I understand the concern, but it’s not uncommon,” Board Vice Chair and Locket District Supervisor Robert Jones said.

Lehigh District Supervisor Jerry Townsend said the owners would “just need to be very careful.”

Board members approved the permit unanimously, with Townsend abstaining.

During the same meeting, members approved another special permit and two amendments to the zoning ordinance. Fowler introduced and explained all the measures; there was no public comment regarding any of them.

The unanimously approved permit allows Barry and Gwendolyn Martin to operate a bed and breakfast out of a detached structure at their home on Pisgah Church Road. The Martins said the business would be a “real low impact,” and they only expect occasional guests.

The board also unanimously approved amending the zoning ordinance in two places. The vote added the process for special use permits for “Retail Sales Establishments” in Zone A1, Agricultural Conservation and in Zone A2, Agricultural Residential Districts, in order to increase retail establishment opportunities.

It also eliminated language regarding “Manufactured Home Subdivisions,” from A1 and A2 zones, as well as the definition of the phrase from Article VI, 6-200.3.

Fowler said this was done because there are “no development standards right now to address it. We felt trying to create development standards would be almost impossible for something that may never come up.”