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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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Following a public hearing, Oregon City Council on Monday approved a zoning change for Al Tawil, who plans to build a gun shop and firing range at 1463 and 1469 Towers Drive.

The zoning change is from M-2 General Industrial to C-2 General Commercial.

The Project Review Committee thought C-2 was appropriate zoning for the parcels, according to James Gilmore, building and zoning commissioner. He said an abandoned car wash is currently on the property. The M-2 zoning was most likely from a different use before the car wash was built several years ago, he added.

The Planning Commission recommended approval of the zoning change.

Councilman Tim Zale, a former police officer, asked Tawil if he was going to sell ammunition and firearms from the gun shop. Tawil said it would be a gun store and firing range with 14 shooting lanes up to four feet wide. Seven lanes would be 50 feet long, and seven lanes would be 125 feet long.

“Regarding sound proofing, would one hear outside? I’m thinking of the residential neighbors living nearby,” said Zale.

“You’d probably hardly hear anything,” said Tawil. “You’d probably hear something. It’s not going to be loud or that you could hear through glass.”

The building would be made of concrete, with the possibility of materials being added for extra noise insulation, he said.

Councilwoman Sandy Bihn asked if there were any residents living near the site.

Tawil said there was one residence to the north.

Bihn asked if it was close.

City Administrator Mike Beazley said he drove by the site, and that the residence is “fairly close.”

“Obviously, a buffer would be required,” he said. Beazley added that the zoning needed to be changed to commercial.

“We didn’t think industrial zoning was sensible. It should be commercial. It was a fairly easy call. A separate question is its use and the noise. That has to go through some separate processes where they might even need to come to the city and look for a little change in our code that is consistent with state law.

“We’d have some opportunities to talk about noise, etcetera,” said Beazley. His son’s house in Sylvania is two miles from an outdoor range and “they hear it all the time.”

“But it’s outdoors,” said Beazley. “So those are some of the questions we asked when we talked about it. But in terms of the zoning, we think this is an appropriate zoning for the property. We are aware there is a resident right next to it and it’s something that we’ll have to consider as we get into the specifics of the architectural approval of the facility and how it will fit in for the neighbor.”

Bihn said “I would hope that we would be very mindful of the noise. It’s a change.”

She asked Tawil if he is required to obtain a special license for operations from state and federal authorities.

Tawil said he is required to get licenses from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Have you already obtained the licenses, or do you have to get the building before you obtain them?” Bihn asked Tawil.

“I have to have a physical address before I can apply for the licenses,” said Tawil.

“So you haven’t yet obtained the licenses to be able to do this?” asked Bihn.

“No,” said Tawil, who lives on Brown Road.

Mayor Mike Seferian, who sits on the Planning Commission, said the focus is on making sure the property is zoned correctly.

“Step one is moving it from Heavy Industrial to General Commercial, which in itself is an upgrade to the property. The property is entitled to perform any functions that C-2 would allow, which is less than what M-2 could allow. Whatever would go in under the C-2 - if it doesn’t meet the zoning qualifications, additional restraints or conditions could be placed on whatever is going to take place on that property,” he said.

Bihn asked Tawil who his customers would be.

“Law abiding citizens, people from Northwood and Oregon, gun owners,” said Tawil.

Councilman Terry Reeves asked Tawil if there is a “big calling for this type of business.”

“I hope so,” said Tawil. “With the money I’m going to invest, it better be.”

After the meeting, Gilmore said his office notified the residence north of the site about the zoning change request. He said a 20 foot buffer would be required at the site, as required when a commercial building abuts a residence. “So there will be a landscaping buffer there,” he said.

If the gun shop is built, it would be the only one in Oregon.

“We’ve never had a gun range before, so we would make sure that every [requirement] is met,” he said.

 

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