Milton planners say no to online gun business

Town council will have final say on issue
Milton's Planning & Zoning Commission has recommended town council deny a conditional use application by a Shipbuilder's Village resident to start an online gun business in his home. SOURCE FILE PHOTO
March 20, 2013

Milton planners say town council should deny a request to open an online gun business in a Shipbuilder's Village home.

Resident Paul Garchinsky went before the town's planning and zoning commission March 19 asking for a conditional use to sell historical and modern firearms over the internet from his home on Main Sail Lane.

Citing safety reasons and a covenant prohibiting businesses in Shipbuilder's Village, the commission voted unanimously to recommend the application be denied. Town council will have final say on the issue at an upcoming meeting.

“I'm sure this gentleman is a very nice person,” said Shipbuilder's neighbor Rosa Fernandez. “My main concern is having an arms dealer living in my backyard. It just sort of worries me. We have a lot of kids in the neighborhood, and I just don't feel real comfortable with it.”

Garchinsky has applied for a Federal Firearms License from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which will be approved if town grants him permission to sell firearms from his home. Four other people in the Milton ZIP code have federal licenses, but none are located within the town limits of Milton.

“I'll be listing historical and modern firearms on internet sites, being one of them,” Garchinsky said. “Basically, it's kind of like eBay for firearms. You put a listing up there, whether it be a physical listing of something I have in my possession or I'll kind of be the middle man.”

While Garchinsky does not need an federal license to sell ammunition, he said, his only interest is the buying and selling of firearms. If approved, he said, he would also install a security system as a safety precaution. He said no in-person business would be conducted from his home, and all deliveries would require his signature.

The commission received a written letter of support from Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes. However, commission Chairman Donald Mazzeo said he was not comfortable allowing such a business in a residential neighborhood. He said the request may have a different result if Garchinsky was trying to sell a product like wooden chairs.

“I might lend myself to thinking that's not so bad. It's not going to be a safety issue,” he said. “However, we're not talking about wooden chairs, we're talking about weapons. It's a moral dilemma in today's society. But we're not here to discuss that. We're only discussing basically whether your business request for conditional use is appropriate. I believe it not to be. It's not a safety issue per se, but it's certainly going to lend itself to become a safety issue.”

Another hang up for the commission was a restrictive covenant attached to the deeds of properties within Shipbuilder's Village that prohibits trade or business of any kind. Mazzeo said it wouldn't be proper for the town to ignore those guidelines.

“I don't feel comfortable taking your covenant and throwing it into the wind, which I don't know if we have the right to do,” he said. “We can't enforce them, but I don't see us going ahead and changing them to allow something when you're not allowed to do it.”

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