At a recent hearing, the Hardin County Planning Commission heard a request to change a property in downtown Glendale’s zone from B2 to C1. The request was submitted by the owner of a gun shop that had leased space in a building on Main Street but found out that retail sales of merchandise are not allowed under the B2 zone.

Many are not aware but as was explained to the commission at the hearing, the B2 (Tourist and Convenience Commercial Zone) zoning was created several years ago with Glendale in mind. There were a series of meetings held in and around Glendale to get a sense for what the community supported and the B2 zone was created accordingly to preserve the aesthetic of Glendale’s designation as a “rural village.”

A B2 zone allows for a narrow set of businesses such as antique and gift shops, restaurants, bed and breakfast, etc. whereas the C1 (Convenience Commercial Zone) allows for approximately 24 additional categories of business with several more under a conditional use including retail sales of merchandise, appliance repair, convenience store/filling station and so on. None of which would fit in with the surrounding community.

A suggestion was made at the hearing to submit to Fiscal Court an amendment to the current B2 zoning that would permit retail sales of merchandise as a conditional use. Meaning any retail merchandise establishments that wanted to setup shop in downtown Glendale would need to apply for a conditional use permit, a public hearing would have to be held and the conditional use would have to be approved by the board.

This would give residents of Glendale or concerned citizens the opportunity to express their support or opposition to any new retail businesses on a case-by-case basis.

Most residents who spoke at this public hearing voiced their support of this new business applying for the zone change as most of them seemed to have known the owner and his family (who still live in Glendale) most of their lives. They spoke about Second Amendment rights and a man’s right to own his own business and make a living.

It is easy to see how many of them could have looked at this as just another case of the system trying to hold someone back. However, the board knew they were not there to vote on Second Amendment rights, a person’s right to operate a business or even whether a gun shop was permitted in Downtown Glendale, they were there to vote on a zoning change that could alter the look and feel of Hardin County’s crown jewel of rural villages from that point forward.

What would happen if the gun store closed or outgrew that location and someone who is not from Glendale wanted to open a vape shop, convenience store, appliance repair or coin laundry? No one in the town nor the commission would have a say because it would already be preapproved under new zoning. And if the smallest parcel in the most densely packed section of the town is approved for C1, how does the board reject any of the other B2 parcels that want to change to C1 as well?

Larry Jaggers is to be commended for doing the right thing for Glendale and voting to reject the zoning change. Unfortunately, the other members voted to approve it.

They could have given the community both what it wanted and what it needed, which was for their local friend to be able to open his business and the opportunity to have a say in what kind of future commercial endeavors are permitted in town. As a result of their shortsightedness, the town only gets the former.

Dan Linker is a resident of East Main Street in Glendale and incoming president of the Glendale Lions Club. He can be reached at dlinker@usa.net.

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