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Local Arlington County Gun Store Wins Zoning Appeal

ARLnow.com readers learned on Tuesday of this past week that "(a) group of Lyon Park and Ashton Heights residents is trying to challenge the legality of Nova Armory’s Certificate of Occupancy." The appeal would be heard the following evening, Wednesday, May 11, before Arlington County's Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). The BZA public notice for the May 11, 2016 hearing is here.

Here's a portion of ARLnow.com's reporting, which provides context:

"Nova Armory, a firearms retailer, opened in March in Lyon Park amid local controversy. The store’s owner, Dennis Pratte, is now suing dozens of residents and lawmakers, accusing them of trying to interfere with his business. (link in the original; links to an April 25 report in ARLnow.com)

"Five local residents launched their own legal offensive when they filed an appeal to Arlington’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), challenging the county’s decision to issue Nova Armory a Certificate of Occupancy, which is required for businesses with a physical location in Arlington.

"Arlington County has previously said that there is nothing it can do legally to prevent a gun store from opening, as long as it follows zoning rules and files all the proper paperwork."

In addition to the ARLnow story about the suit against "residents and legislators" linked to above, the Washington Post's Patricia Sullivan reported the story here. A copy of the lawsuit is available at Scribd here.

So, how did the BZA hearing go? The Daily Caller's Kerry Picket has some of the details here:

"Chalk up another victory up for NOVA Armory. The suburban Virginia firearms store beat back an appeal late Wednesday night that asked the Arlington County Zoning Board to revoke its small business occupancy permit.

"The five-member board voted unanimously to uphold issuing the occupancy certificate to NOVA Armory, though board members stressed that their decision was based on zoning rules rather than the Second Amendment.

"Local Second Amendment activists wearing “Guns Save Lives” stickers packed the Arlington hearing room and sat through three hours of residents’ requests for zoning permits relating to various property issues. In the final hour, numerous Arlington residents and representatives of local organizations spoke on behalf of NOVA Armory.

"Three women — Bernadette Brennan, Julia Young and Emily Hughes — appealed the permit and tried to get the occupancy certificate repealed, claiming that “the application for the certificate of Occupancy contains false and misleading information and therefore the permit was issued in error.”

Picket's entire article is worth reading since it is fact-rich.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League has two photos posted on  their photo album webpage. In one, the VCDL president addresses the BZA board. The other shows that virtually every hand -- at 10:20 PM -- is raised in support of NOVA Armory.

The War on Guns blog has an exclusive report -- by William T. -- on the BZA hearing here.

Just wondering: since Arlington County had already told residents "there is nothing it can do legally to prevent a gun store from opening, as long as it follows zoning rules and files all the proper paperwork," will the BZA appeal be raised during the trial before the City of Richmond's Circuit Court?

Growls readers wishing to comment on the Second Amendment or the rights of gun store owners are urged to write to members of the Arlington County Board. Just click-on the link below:

  • Call the County Board office at (703) 228-3130

And tell them ACTA sent you.

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