Whether or not to allow an internet sales-based business that sells high-tech gun locks to locate in Willow Creek took up about 45 minutes of a nearly 90-minute Sweetwater Regional Planning Commission/Board of Zoning Appeals meeting on Monday.

Planners met first as the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) to discuss a request by Dave Hellekson and New Viking Arms to open an internet sales office in an existing building in the heart of Willow Creek. Hellekson’s business would sell biometric fingerprint gunlocks online.

Hellekson said no manufacturing will take place if his business is allowed to move into the vacant space. The main activity would consist of product being shipped in and out of the location. Hellekson said just a few UPS, FedEx and Post Office trucks would be coming and going.

The question before the BZA was whether Hellekson’s internet business would be similar to the list of business operations that could be permitted under by a use-on-review approval, as outlined in Willow Creek’s Traditional Neighborhood District (TND) guidelines. Some of those allowances include: grocery stores, bakeries, drug stores, gift shops along with several more.

But the type of businesses listed as being allowed under use-on-review have one thing in common, people coming and going into the store, which is unlike an internet-based sales business.

“I don’t remember something like this coming before the (Planning) Commission before,” Mayor and Planning Commissioner Doyle Lowe said.

Lowe and the other Planning Commission member were not hostile to Hellekson’s request. Hellekson seemed at least open to perhaps having a product display area in the building to create a little foot traffic to make his business more similar to the permitted use on review businesses that could be allowed. He also said if business is good, he might eventually move his shipping and receiving to a different location.

But planners do face a quandary. If they allow this use and even if only a few trucks come and go each day, what if another business requests to move into Willow Creek and they have many trucks coming and going each day in a residential area?

Lowe suggested that the planners consider giving Hellekson’s business a six-month try, but in the end, the planners agreed to table the question until the May meeting. A workshop will be held at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall on May 20 before the regular meeting at 5 p.m.

If you live in Willow Creek, you might want to attend those meetings as at the regular meeting that Monday, Willow Creek Developer Jeff Darragh will discuss his plan to construct multi-family units in Willow Creek.

During the Planning Commission portion of Monday’s long meeting, planners voted to recommend the City Commission rezone John C. Langley II and Jerry Paterson’s parcels from C-3 (commercial) to R-1 (residential).

Planners agreed to add lighting requirements to the city’s Municipal Code that would allow Planning and Codes Enforcement Officer Chuck Whited to cite people into City Court if their lighting is a nuisance to neighbors.

Planners also voted to recommend the City Commission abandon two unused right-of-ways between Patton and West Street.

Planners finally approved some changes to the Planning Commission bylaws.

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