The Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved a rezoning request for Freedom Firearms Tuesday night. David Grace photo.
KINGSPORT — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a controversial rezoning during its regular meeting Tuesday night, paving the way for a gun shop to open for business across the street from Andrew Jackson Elementary School.
Freedom Firearms, located at 771 W. Stone Drive, requested a zoning change for its property — from the current B-1 designation to B-3. Firearm sales cannot take place in a B-1 zone but can in a B-3 zone.
Kingsport’s planning department and the Kingsport Regional Planning Commission recommended the change in zoning, but when the matter came before the BMA two weeks ago, elected leaders hesitated on granting approval.
Mayor Dennis Phillips said at the time that the concern was over a gun shop locating so close to an elementary school and that the BMA needed “a little soak time” on the issue.
During a work session Monday afternoon, several aldermen said the public’s response to the issue has been overwhelmingly in support of the gun shop. Alderman Tom Segelhorst said the response has been 15 to 1 in favor; Alderman Tom Parham said all of the people who contacted him supported the rezoning.
Former Board of Education member Pat Turner and Kathleen Beine, a local volunteer and health advocate, spoke against the rezoning on Monday and again Tuesday night.
For more on this story read Wednesday's print edition of the Times-News or the expanded e-edition.