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Putnam County officials: outdoors store selling firearms in violation of county ordinance

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 12:50 AM EDT
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PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - An outdoor recreation store has been denied its request to continue selling firearms because of its location.

For roughly two weeks, Valley Outdoors, which sits along Mount Vernon Road in Putnam County, has had its doors open to sell outdoor recreation equipment, including firearms. However, the business sits within 300 feet of a daycare and several homes, which is in violation of a county ordinance.

The ordinance says any business that sells firearms cannot be located any closer than 300 feet from a church, school or residential building.

Owner of Valley Outdoors, Glenn Yeager, said a former county employee gave him permission to open the business where it currently sits and sell firearms. Officials with the Office of Planning and Infrastructure acknowledged the permission from the now former county employee, but said there was no written agreement.

“When you tell somebody ‘this is how something is’ I’m the guy that, ‘that’s how it is,’” said Yeager. “You can’t let somebody go and borrow a ton of money and then change the game.”

On Thursday night, the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) heard from several neighbors, along with Yeager, before coming to a decision.

“I, like everybody else, think there’s a place, have the gun shop. I also thought it was going to be hunting guns,” said Dolores Lowe, who lives in the neighborhood behind Valley Outdoors. “When I pulled up the website and the first thing that I see is an assault rifle--I have grandkids that come to my house every other week and I felt that it puts them in danger.”

Yeager pointed out during the meeting that he had spent over $150,000 on securing the building to try and ease the concerns of neighbors.

“I have gone to extraordinary lengths to protect my community, my family, I live there. I have two little girls, you really think I’m going to drag some element into there that’s going to jeopardize that,” said Yeager to members of the BZA.

Members of the BZA said since there was no written approval by the former county employee to Yeager, they denied his request to continue selling firearms in a 2-1 vote.

Valley Outdoors can continue selling outdoor recreational equipment. The denial was strictly in regards to firearms.

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