Note: An earlier published version of this story incorrectly identified the nature of the special request being sought from the township zoning hearing board. We apologize for any inconvenience that may have caused.
If you have been wishing a gun shop would open in the Saucon Valley, you’ll likely be happy to hear that one is proposed for the Society Hill shopping plaza on Friedensville Road in Lower Saucon Township.
According to paperwork included with the Lower Saucon Township Council meeting agenda for Sept. 5, 2018, the gun shop would be operated by Lloyd Tactical, which is owned by licensed firearms dealer Brian Lloyd of Upper Saucon Township.
A letter dated June 20, 2018, describes the proposed business as one that would employ two people per day and average seven customers per day.
It would be located on the second floor of the plaza and would be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Per the letter, planned business transactions would include:
- New and used firearms sales, including sales of pistols, shotguns and rifles, from a standing stock of approximately 100 firearms
- Online gun sales
- Firearm ownership transfers
- Ammunition sales
- Sales of reloading supplies, gun cases, powder, primers and reloading equipment
- Sales of firearms accessories
- Sales of safety equipment
- Clothing sales
- Offerings of self-defense, hunter safety and NRA classes
The letter states that non-load-bearing walls within the unit might be removed to allow for the installation of display cases, and that an alarm system along with security cameras covering the store’s stock and exits would be installed.
The building is located in the township’s Urban Residential (UR) zone.
A gun shop is considered a permitted use for the property based on a 1990 letter which describes permitted retail sales as including things like hardware or shoes “or uses that are equivalent to such uses and are no more intrusive to the neighborhood.”
Other businessses currently operating in the shopping center building include a bagel shop, a dry cleaner and a glass repair business.
The building is owned by R.M.S. Family Limited Partnership of Orwigsburg, Pa., which is being represented in seeking a special request to clarify the permitted/prohibited uses for the property by attorney Erich J. Schock of Fitzpatrick, Lentz & Bubba, P.C., of Center Valley.
The special request is for an interpretation of the 1990 letter and a September 1990 zoning hearing board decision that established the limited list of permitted uses and a list of prohibited uses, and also “to confirm that a single restaurant is permitted on site based on the pre-existing non-conforming bagel shop existing prior to the 1990 decision,” according to an Aug. 29, 2018 memo from township zoning officer Jim Young to township manager Leslie Huhn.
In accordance with township regulations, because a special exception request regarding existing zoning has been made, the township has notified dozens of nearby homeowners, including many who live in the large Society Hill development adjacent to the plaza.
Township council meets at 7 p.m. at Lower Saucon Town Hall, 3700 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bethlehem, Pa. Regular council meetings are open to the public.