York County could be getting a new gunsmith.
On Feb. 10, the York County Planning Commission approved a special-use permit for a home-based firearms sales and gunsmithing business at 211 Henry Lee Lane near the Lafayette Gun Club and Crossroads Community Church.
Andrew J. Piske and Stephanie M. Piske own the 0.4 acre property located in a neighborhood zoned R20 medium-density single-family residential and the special-use permit would allow them to use the existing single-family home with the detached garage for their business.
“I am actually not the online retailer of the firearms,” Andrew Piske said at the planning commission meeting. “I am actually a representative of the ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] who is submitting the background checks to the state police and verifying their documentation.”
“Again, I am not buying or selling the firearms, I am just the middleman who completes the background checks,” he added.
Customers would be able to park directly on the property’s driveway and enter the business through the front door of the single-family house to a customer service area totaling 168 square feet. The home business also includes establishing 128 square feet of shop area in the detached garage which would not be accessible to customers.
Piske said his business is word-of-mouth and will primarily deal with gunsmithing, including restoring, cleaning and assembling guns by using hand tools. The $20-25 “add-on” service fee is for people who buy guns online through a retailer and have them stored at the facility for pickup, as well as undergoing a background check, he added.
Piske does not plan to advertise his business through an online website, hand out business cards with his address or have signage out front to let people know where his business is located.
He noted the condition of him receiving a license from the ATF is contingent on county approval for the home-based business.
Per the staff report, the applicant plans to service customers by appointment only Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. one customer at a time. Plans include expanding the driveway for more parking space.
“The applicant has stated that the use would not include the discharge of firearms or the sale of ammunition on the property, and conditions have been proposed prohibiting those activities,” according to the County of York Memorandum document Earl Anderson, York County senior planner sent to the county’s planning commission. “Additionally, the applicant has a gun safe in which to store customers’ firearms when they are not being worked on.”
In the recommendation portion of the documents, Anderson noted several properties have been approved for a special-use permit for a “home occupation including firearms repair and sales” including:
- Neal Johnson, Burts Road
- Rhines Consulting, Inc., Cherwell Court
- Robert Williams, Jr., Bolivar Drive
- Kevin Weeks, Old York-Hampton Highway
- Coastal Custom Guns, Mastin Avenue
“According to Zoning and Code Enforcement staff, there have been no complaints or enforcement actions related to any of these businesses,” Anderson added. “The Sheriff’s Office also has received no complaints regarding any of these businesses over the past five years.”
While during the planning commission meeting Anderson said — should the business be approved — Piske would be allowed to have signage up to three square feet, Piske later agreed to a revised application that would prohibit the use of signage for the home-based business should it be approved by the county.
Anderson added two-thirds of the county’s business licenses consist of more than 2,000 home businesses and 32 of those businesses are located in the Brandywine neighborhood.
He noted the planning commission had received 14 phone calls from residents in support, against, or general questions about the application as well as 11 written comments supporting, disagreeing, or wanting to ask questions about the business.
During the public hearing at the planning commission meeting, 10 people spoke in favor or against the special-use permit approval.
The five who were opposed cited issues such as more traffic in the neighborhood, changes in property values and safety among young families with kids and retirees.
The other five speakers supported, some noting the legality of gun ownership, that the home-based business won’t have much clientele since it’s custom work, and one offering to be a potential customer.
The entire agenda item discussion lasted more than an hour and a half.
The York County Board of Supervisors will vote on the application, which includes the revised motion of no signage permitted for the business, on April 20.
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