For a second time in the last month, the Bullets & Beans gun shop will have to wait a bit longer to find out whether it can sell coffee.
The Hamilton Town Council Monday night pushed back a vote until Nov. 19 to determine if Kevin Jones, the shop’s owner, will be allowed to sell coffee as part of a 6-month trial period. According to Town Attorney Maureen Gilmore, Jones did not provide the town with certain pieces of information about his plan for coffee sales in time for the council to take the vote. Gilmore said that while Jones emailed the town the information by the Oct. 9 deadline, it was late at night when he did so. “It really didn’t leave us enough time to go through it,” she said.
For the time being, the town will hold a meeting with Jones on Oct. 22 to finalize a list of conditions that will play into the potential trial period. Gilmore said that Jones’ attorney, Caleb Kershner, was understanding of the delay. “I think they’re comfortable with that,” she said.
Jones said that he remains optimistic about the situation and will continue to follow the rules and “jump through every hoop.”
This is now the second time since early September that the Town Council has postponed a vote on the matter.
On Sept. 10, the council determined that there wasn’t enough information to vote. On Sept. 25, the council held a public meeting with Jones and Kershner to further discuss their plans. The council at that point scheduled this week’s vote on a 6-month trial period, which would give the town time to evaluate the coffee sales before taking another vote in the spring to decide if Jones would be allowed to permanently sell coffee.
Jones opened Bullets & Beans in the former Farmer’s & Merchants Bank building in summer 2016 to sell guns and provide firearm safety and self-defense classes—something that concerned some Hamilton Elementary School parents because the shop sits within 1,000 feet of the school.
Although Jones opened with the intent to also sell coffee, he has been prohibited from doing so because of a provision in the town’s zoning ordinance that restricts food sales in buildings adjacent to residences in that district.
Jones in August 2017 submitted a special use permit application seeking the Town Council’s approval to sell coffee.
After several public input meetings, it became clear that some residents were concerned that allowing the shop to sell coffee would bring more traffic to the town and create safety issues along Colonial Highway.