Kevin Jones, of Advanced Airsoft Operations LLC, hopes to establish a security training program and a gun shop in the former Hamilton bank building, but he will have a bit of a wait until the town can work out a few issues.
Jones bought the building at 62 E. Colonial Highway from former Hamilton Town Councilman Brent Campbell in April.
The town previously granted a temporary occupancy permit to Campbell for office/retail use. That permit expires Sept. 30.
Under Jones’ plans, his Bullets and Beans will incorporate a retail gun shop, security training area and a small coffee shop. The first two uses are permitted under current zoning, but the food use of a coffee shop is only permissible in the C-2 District through a special exception—which the Town Council would have to approve, Mayor Dave Simpson said.
Another problem is parking. The bank property is small, with no on-site parking. The town’s Zoning Ordinance permits the council to allocate one of its downtown parking spots to businesses without parking, but the council had not established a fee for that service. During its March 14 meeting, the council provisionally set a fee of $100 per spot, subject to a public hearing in April. Council members Dimitri Kesari, Mike Snyder and Matthew Clark and Vice Mayor Ken Wine backed that fee, with Councilman Craig Green dissenting on the basis that more information was needed. Simpson and Councilman John Unger were absent. The town then cancelled the public hearing until it could conduct more research.
“We need to get more information,” Simpson said this week, noting that with the town’s purchase of the adjacent former firehouse and its parking lot, the town will have access to significantly more parking—possibly up to 40 spaces.
Until the town can get more data on what it will cost to install the parking area, the fee decision is premature, Simpson said. “We’ll hold off until the new parking lot is built and divide the cost among the lots.”