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Kingsport likely to OK rezoning for gun shop

November 16th, 2013 11:53 pm by Matthew Lane

Kingsport likely to OK rezoning for gun shop

Freedom Firearms, located at 771 W. Stone Drive, had sought a rezoning change for the building. David Grace photo.

KINGSPORT — A new gun store — located across the street from Andrew Jackson Elementary School — will likely receive a rezoning change from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen next week, thus marking final approval necessary before officially opening for business.

Freedom Firearms, located at 771 W. Stone Drive, had sought a rezoning change for the building, from its current B-1 designation to B-3, the reason being firearm sales cannot take place in a B-1 zone, but could in a B-3.

The store’s sign went up in July, but the owners learned of the zoning conflict after applying for a business license.

Kingsport’s planning department and the Kingsport Regional Planning Commission recommended the change in zoning, but when the matter went before the BMA two weeks ago, elected leaders hesitated on granting initial approval, particularly after two women — including former Board of Education member Pat Turner — spoke against the measure.

“I don’t have anything against gun shops and I don’t think it was necessarily about the gun shop. My thinking was ... when people stood up and started talking about the shootings in schools,” said Mayor Dennis Phillips. “I felt like we needed a little soak time, that it was not going to hurt anything, especially to explore a couple of things that was said.” 

The BMA decided to hold off on the measure for two weeks in order to receive feedback from the community about a gun shop opening so close to an elementary school. 

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