BZA March 22 2011 Swartwout

The Newbury Township Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing was called to order by Mr. Ray Fidel, Chairman, at 8:20 p.m. on March 22, 2011 with Board members, Mary Lee Brezina, Bill Skomrock,Sr., Tezeon Wong and Ken Blair (sitting for Glen Quigley) present.

All in attendance for this hearing were duly sworn and asked when testifying to state their name and confirm being sworn in. Ray Fidel read the applicants request:
Jodie K. Swartwout, agent for JADD Enterprises, Inc., requests a use variance to locate a business consisting of an indoor shooting range, retail sales/rental of firearms and equipment, firearm use and safety classes at their new business headquarters in space leased in the Newbury Business Park at 12375 Kinsman Rd. (vs. Art. IV, Sec. 4.01A non-permitted shooting range and gun sales)
Mr. Fidel asked the applicant to state her case. Ms. Swartwout said JADD would convert building G from a warehouse to a shooting range able to accommodate 10 shooters at one time; in compliance with all required firearms and environmental regulations. Noise would be controlled with side/overhead sound abatement panels. Drawings were presented to the board for shooting stalls – 25 yd hand gun range, bullet traps, target retrievers, safety baffles and HVAC equipment. Discussion centered on maximum armor plating capacity for 45, 308, 3006 caliber shot. Targets would be built by others. Windows will be changed to glass block. Security will include smoke alarms, corner surveillance, instructor monitored cameras, gun storage in a separate office building, safety officers on duty etc.

Mr. Fidel said he thought this should be handled as a Conditional Use issued the business as a Use Variance stays with the property. Ms. Endres said that this Use Variance hearing gives adjacent property owners the right of appeal.

Mr. Skomrock Sr. asked if a knox box for fire department entry would be installed – Ms. Swartwout said that was okay with her. Ammunition would be stored to meet EPA regulations.

Mr. Fidel recognized Sheriff Dan McClelland who said he was here to answer any safety questions. He said the noise control design was consistent with other locations. In his experience, after-hours ammo was separately secured. He offered to meet with the owners on any safety issues.

Ms. Swartwout said there would be no gun sales but gun rentals would be available for use on site. Sheriff Dan agreed with Mr. Skomrock Sr.’s fire suggestions and will coordinate with the Fire Dept. so there would be no interference with property protection. He said he believes this will be a quality indoor shooting range; this is a good central county location for both day and night activity and not in a residential area. He said he was not aware of any other indoor range in Geauga County. He agreed the bullet trap (with collected bullets for off-site pickup) was better

than tracing stray shots from outdoor facilities. Air quality per HVAC specs exceed police standards and meet Ohio EPA air requirements.

Ms. Swartwout said non-law enforcement outdoor shooting is permitted only on Saturdays. Dangers of back-yard shooting may be eliminated with an indoor range available. Jadd would have memberships and instructions available.
Mr. Yeacker asked if a shooting range fits in Newbury industrial uses. Ms. Endres replied that with the primary use as a shooting range the use may be allowed in the right way i.e. administrative relief via a Judgment Entry (JE) rather than a use variance. Mr. White, owner of Newbury Business Part asked about the cost and the time frame needed for a JE. Mr. Snively said that, with no opposition, a prior JE was fast-tracked in 38 days, less than 2 months estimated time. Ms. Endres said the county prosecutor would draft the JE for review/approval by both the trustees and the property owner. Mr. White asked if the terms of the JE would be transferrable on a future sale of that property; it could be so written.
Mr. Snively explained that for a unique situation, under the right circumstances, with both sides participating, this case should fit the prior examples of Judgment Entrys done in Newbury Twp.
Ms. Swartwout said she had no problem with the JE approach, believes there would be a positive outcome as this was a friendly hearing and there was no audience opposition. Jadd will need a firearms license that they will forward in a timely manner.
Mr. Fidel asked the board for additional comments or questions. There being no more questions, Mr. Fidel called for a motion stating that a yes vote would deny the variance.
Tezeon Wong moved to deny the application for the Use Variance, Ken Blair seconded the motion with the roll call vote as follows:
Mary Lee Brezina yes
Tezeon Wong yes
Bill Skomrock, Sr. yes
Ray Fidel yes
Ken Blair yes

Mr. Fidel read to the Appellant and audience, “Within 30 days after service of the minutes granting your request, if someone wishes to challenge this decision through the court, he or she may. The challenge could reverse or negate our decision. Mr. Fidel informed the Appellant and the audience that the 30-day period commences with the Appellants’ signing receipt of the signed minutes. They will be mailed registered return receipt to the Appellant. All persons receiving notice of the hearing will receive copies of the minutes.
Mr. Snively explained the process of the court appeal with a negotiated mutually-agreed upon settlement.
Mr. Fidel adjourned the hearing at 9:18 p.m.
Board members resumed their meeting to establish the conclusions of fact:
Based on the following FINDING OF FACTS for the denied Use Variance:

1) There is no condition unique to this lot that is not found in the M-1 district.
2) The applicant did not create any unique condition.
3) The variance could adversely affect the adjoining property owners.
4) The variances could adversely affect public health, safety or general welfare.
5) The spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement would be observed and substantial justice done by granting the variance as law enforcement qualification now must be done out of county and the public has nowhere to practice shooting.
6) The requested action does not meet the use variance criteria as a shooting range is not a permitted listed use in the NZC.
7) There are other economically viable uses of this lot in the M-1 district. Such other criteria, which the Board believes relates to determining whether the zoning regulation is equitable; there were no objections by adjacent property owners in attendance.

Mr. Fidel adjourned the meeting at 9:35 p.m.
Marge Hrabak, Secretary