Officials ask BZA to deny new gun shop

June 21, 2018

Fort Wayne planning officials are recommending the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals deny a request today for a gun-sales business in the White Swan shopping center at Lima and Cremer roads.

The officials, members of the Department of Planning Services, also recommend denial of a controversial gas station and convenience store complex across from the Posterity Heights multifamily residential development during the 6 p.m. meeting.

The board also will hear an appeal of a ruling by the department’s zoning administrator, Kimberly S. Bowman, regarding 1407 S. Calhoun St., which had been the site of Rabbits strip club. Bowman ruled the nonconforming use designation had been allowed to expire and therefore the site was not eligible to reopen as an adult cabaret. 

In its application involving White Swan shopping center, Gun Pro Corp. asks for a use variance for firearms sales in a limited commercial zone. The city’s zoning law does not allow such sales in that zone, although they are allowed in the general commercial zone.

The application says the store will encompass 240 square feet. The location is at the end of the front row of White Swan’s stores in a block containing at two other businesses.

“The applicant has indicated that this space would be used to conduct occasional by-appointment firearm transfer paperwork,” according to a report prepared by the staff. Hours would be Monday through Saturday. Signage is already in place. 

The website for the business says it sells firearms, parts, accessories and other items through mail order and uses a “vendor drop,” where items ordered through the website can be delivered, to keep prices down. 

The state corporations bureau’s listing of businesses says the incorporators are Andrew M. Carrier and Nathan E. Geimer, both of Fort Wayne. Phone calls to the business telephone number listed on the website connected a fax machine.

“Staff has some concerns about the precedent approving a more intense commercial use in a zone that permits only limited commercial,” the report says. “The Board may also wish to ask the applicant if a rezoning of the property would be more appropriate.”

Also on the agenda is a gas station proposal for 2225 McKinnie Ave., which was deferred from the board’s April meeting. The proposal  has been opposed by neighbors who believe the use is undesirable and unneeded.

The applicant, Community 1st Inc., Fort Wayne, wants to build a gas station with a grocery,  drive-thru and dine-in restaurant, car wash and a space described as for “community service.” The land is zoned single-family residential.

The public hearings on the cases, and others, will be in Room 35 of Citizens Square. Final votes will be taken following the hearing.