LYNDEN - A couple living near Lynden High School has applied to start a special-order gun-building business in the home, and at least one neighbor is concerned about safety.
The city is planning to hold a public hearing about the home-based business Thursday, Oct. 11, after at least one person who lives near the Ridgeway Drive home requested the meeting.
The business, if approved, would be by appointment only and would take special orders for custom guns, which would then be assembled in the home and shipped out or picked up by the client.
The applicant, Jordan Nelson, 30, works full time as an operations technician at BP Cherry Point refinery and said the idea for the business grew out of a longtime hobby.
"Shooting is a family event," he said. "My wife and I will go to the gun range, and my wife enjoys it just as much as I do."
Because he already has a full-time job, Nelson said he wants to keep his customer base small and said he'll have only very limited parts and stock on hand.
Before the business can get started, Nelson and his wife, Kate, had to apply to Lynden for a home occupation license, which is required for anyone who makes and sells something from their home, said Lynden Planning Director Amy Harksell.
A neighbor has expressed concern about proximity to the high school, but Harksell said the home is more than 1,000 feet away from the school; gun sales can be restricted only within 500 feet. The neighbor also believed the business was violating municipal codes about retail sales in homes, but Harksell said retail sales are secondary to assembly in this case.
Though she understands the concerns from neighbors, Harksell said the planning department plans to approve the permit.
"I can't say you can make furniture, but you can't make guns," she said.
The Planning Commission could make the final approval after comments have been heard at the hearing. Any approval would come with conditions, including no outside advertising or signs at the house, off-street parking for customers and that the Nelsons have the necessary federal license.
The couple is in the process of getting a federal firearm license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and will then need to get a state firearm dealer license.
Nelson said that he'll be glad to answer people's questions and explain his proposed business at the public meeting.
"I want people to be able to raise their concerns," he said. "It's their right."
ATTEND THE HEARING
A public hearing over allowing the home business is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Lynden City Hall Annex, at the corner of Grover and 4th streets.