Last week members of the Marshall County Board of Zoning Appeals granted a variance of development standard for Mary and John Watson Sr. at 8477 Chicago Street at Lake of the Woods.  The variance was to reduce the right-of-way setback from the required 30 feet to 10 feet for an existing gazebo.

County Plan Director Ty Adley told BZA members the violation was discovered when an adjacent property owner was seeking a variance.  It was noted that the gazebo doesn’t’ impact anyone’s view of the lake and the staff recommendation was to approve.

There were no comments during the public hearing and Mr. Watson said he purchased the gazebo second-hand.  He located it in his yard where it wasn’t impacted from the slope of the ground and near his well and septic.

The County Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously approved the variance request.

The BZA also heard the request of Jeremy Pennington to allow the selling of guns and ammunition with a federal firearms license at 16412 Redwood Road near Culver. 

Adley told members Pennington is currently applying for his federal license and after reviewing the application the staff gave a favorable recommendation.

County BZA members discussed the project with Pennington who initially said he would be selling ammunition and some guns at his home.  He was asked about a shooting range and found that if a customer wanted to try a gun before purchase or after and used the shooting range it would be considered a commercial range and would need an additional permit from the county. Pennington said the range would also need approval from the feds. 

During the public hearing, three neighbors spoke in favor of the business, noting they would rather support a small local business than travel to purchase ammunition and guns out of the county. The neighbors all said they believed Pennington would be a good business owner and neighbor.

Five citizens voiced concerns in opposition to the home business. Their concerns included additional traffic, the noise from a gun range, the safety of humans and livestock, property values, and the loss of peace in the neighborhood. Many of those who spoke against the request did say they liked Mr. Pennington and thought he would operate a good business.

Following the public hearing, Jeremy Pennington said he wouldn’t have a commercial shooting range, saying that it would require more review by the feds to add more restrictions plus he would need county approval.  He also said he really wouldn’t need hours of operation because he won’t be open to the public.  Pennington said he won’t have a sign or advertise the business he just wants to be able to purchase ammunition for himself and sell it to his friends and some police officers. He also commented that the Culver Police Chief was interested in purchasing ammunition from him, but it would all be done by appointment only. 

The County BZA approved the request clarifying no shooting range, hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. by appointment only, and no signage.  It passed with a 4 to 1 vote.