At the Sept. 17 Jourdanton City Council meeting, members voted 3-1 to adopt the ordinance and recommendation that was denied by the planning and zoning committee for a special use permit for a residence occupation for repairs and online sales of firearms, in a SF-A Single-Family Residential Zone, to Robert L. Orr at 645 Deer Trail Dr. and legally described as Block 3, Lot 8, Jourdanton, Atascosa County, Texas. Voting against was council member Chester Gonzales.
The council is comprised of Mayor Robert “Doc” Williams, Mayor Pro-tem Raul Morales, Johnetta “Johnnie” Goetzel, Karen Pesek, Jack R. Harrison and Chester Gonzales. Not in attendance was Goetzel.
The agenda item read, “Public hearing, discussion and action to adopt an ordinance on a recommendation of denial from the Planning and Zoning Commission regarding an application for a special use permit for a residence occupation for gun shows and online sales of firearms in a SF-A Suburban Single-Family Residential Zone to Robert L. Orr at 645 Deer Trail Dr. and legally described as Block 3, Lot 8, Jourdanton, Atascosa County, Texas.”
Code enforcement-administrative assistant Veronica Magaña explained Orr was applying for a special use permit to have a business at his residence. She said it is currently zoned as an SF-A Suburban Single-Family Residential Zone, which in the ordinance is allowed to have a business there with the special use permit.
“Planning and Zoning denied this,” said Magaña. “The way Mr. Orr explained it to me and Mr. Schulz, I don’t see any issues with him running a business out of it, mostly because he is not going to have any inventory. It is just going to be online sales and gun show sales, and he will explain more when he comes up here. I would recommend this.”
The floor was then opened up to a public hearing, with Orr speaking first.
Orr said there had been some confusion on this matter. He said his primary sales would be on the Internet, not selling them out of his front door.
The gun shows will be in San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, etc., wherever he spends the weekend.
“It is not for automatic weapons. It is not that type of license,” said Orr.
He added he had spoken to several people in the city, including law enforcement officers who saw no problem with it. Orr does not anticipate traffic being a problem. He does not see himself selling more than five guns a week, if that.
“Primary sales will be on the Internet and the primary customer will be someone who is not from around here,” said Orr. “I will be going places to find products to sell on the internet.”
“I’m confused. You’re not going to have inventory at the house? I’m confused with the statement you just made, that you’ll be going to shows…” said council member Pesek.
“I may have some inventory at the house, but it’s not going to be for open door sales,” Orr said. “It is going to be for internet sales.”
He explained that he does not anticipate a problem with traffic.
“If I sold five- over and above the gun shows, if five people, if one of y’all came and said, ‘Hey, I want you to order me a gun’ and I said, ‘Fine, okay I’ll do it.’ That’s one that might come to my house and pick a gun. If I get five a week, just like that, that would be one additional car a week, but I don’t foresee that happening. But if a friend of mine comes to me and says they want to buy a gun, yes, I will sell it to them. I’ve talked to the police department and the Sheriff’s department.”
Council member Harrison pointed out that the agenda item said gun shows and online sales.
“This may be confusing. It is to me. You’re not going to have gun shows at your house?” Harrison asked.
“Absolutely not,” responded Orr.
“According to this ordinance you could, I guess, the way it reads,” Harrison said.
Orr said that yes, he guessed that was possible. Then he said it was not possible, because he would not allow it.
More discussion ensued, with Harrison asking if the gun show part had to be included. Orr said no, it did not.
Council member Gonzales said since primary sales will be on the internet, he asked for clarification on what taxes would be. If they are in-state they pay tax. If they are out-of-state, they don’t.
Pesek said she appreciated Orr applying for this ordinance, as she was aware of others in the neighborhood who sold cosmetics, Scentsy products, etc. out of their home.
Resident Bill Dornak said, “He intends to operate a firearms business. Again, we get back to a business in that subdivision. If you grant this, it could possibly open the door to more small businesses. And that is a residential district and that’s what it says on the deeds. So, I think it’s clear and cut, right there.”
Earlier in the meeting, Bill Dornak and Peggy Dornak had both spoken during Citizen’s Comments. Mr. Dornak had said it clearly states on his deeds, no business. Peggy Dornak said she did not get much information from the planning and zoning committee. She thought everyone in the subdivision should have received a letter, not just those that lived a certain footage from the residence. She was concerned about increased traffic from a business.
Patricia J. Elizabeth Tymrak-Daughtrey brought up that when she was elected to council for the very first time and there was a recount on the election, “I still won. Mr. Bob Orr nearly hit me,” said Tymrak-Daughtrey.
Mayor Williams said that is not what they were discussing, and asked her not to bring up anything like that.
“He is less than a stellar character,” said Tymrak- Daughtrey.
“No, ma’am. You just lost your time. You’re not supposed to be talking derogatory about somebody. You are here to talk about this only. Does he deserve to have it or not. You don’t have to downgrade him or speak evil of him, and that’s what you are doing,” said Mayor Williams.
“In my opinion, he is untrustworthy,” Tymrak- Daughtrey said.
Mayor Williams pounded the gavel and said, “You are through talking ma’am. You had your chance. This is not to degrade anybody. You are here to speak to have the ordinance or not.” She interrupted and Mayor asked her to please sit down.
Tymrak-Daughtrey said that her civil rights had been denied by Doc Williams and he replied, “Thank you.”
Peggy Dornak thanked Orr for coming to the meeting to explain it, but she had a couple of questions. When Orr does gun shows, she asked how that worked. Also if he is a gunsmith, will people be coming in for him to repair guns? She lives across the street and said she was concerned about break-ins and robberies.
Orr said when he goes to a gun show, he will be transporting firearms back. He will have a small, personal inventory. Regarding inspections, ATF requires that anybody they give a license to, has safe storage.
More discussion ensued, with Orr explaining his hours on the license will be listed as 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Mrs. Dornak asked if the information would be public and Tymrak-Daughtrey responded the address and license are public.
Orr also added, “People that buy guns from a federal arms-licensee, somebody that has a dealer license, are not going to be someone that is wanted. They are not going to be a convict. You can’t buy a gun if you’ve had any problems- that even includes domestic violence.”
“So you’re going to be selling guns to people, though,” asked Mrs. Dornak.
“Yes, that’s what the license is for,” said Orr.
Mrs. Dornak asked if Orr would be checking their backgrounds. Orr said in some instances, yes, like in a gun show, and he has to run the application through the National Crime Information Center and they check the persons’s background and give a no or yes to the person purchasing the gun. So they are checked out before they are purchased.
Pesek asked if they are bought on the internet, who does the background check?
Orr answered, “It depends on where they live. If they live in Oklahoma, it is an agency in Oklahoma. If they live in Houston, it would be in Houston. If they live here, it would be me.”
Council member Gonzales asked Orr what he would consider the inventory to be. Orr said he is not a rich man.
“My hope is to be able to keep it in high-line guns, $4,000-$5,000 guns. I can’t handle 10 or 15 of them,” said Orr.
Gonzales asked if this was explained to the zoning committee. Orr said no, but he tried to.
Pesek asked if he would also be selling ammunition. Orr said the license allowed him to, but he did not plan to.
Cody Orr also spoke and explained that as far as a storefront or sign, he was not aware of any.
“Definitely, we haven’t discussed anything like that. As far as putting up a big sign in the middle of nowhere, we are not anticipating anything like that. To sell guns, to even have a gun you have to have a background check.”
Bob Orr does not have any misdemeanors, felonies or crimes. He has never committed a felony, is a former police officer and Navy veteran.
“He is not exactly just some guy off the street, starting a business at the house,” said Cody Orr. “As Mrs. Pesek said, there are also numerous businesses going on in that neighborhood. There is a list I made here- hair products, welding, food, clothing, furniture. As far as people coming through and possibly picking up something, they have to live there. Why would they want to deal with certain individuals that are criminals, or possibly criminals? Why would they want to make their neighborhood a dangerous place? Why would they want to increase traffic to where it is not a small town, country neighborhood? They have no intentions of doing that. They have lived in Jourdanton for almost 30 years.”
They are looking at a small, mainly e-commerce, online business and going about it the right way, through city council, said Cody Orr.
Harrison asked about signage and advertising and the answer was no. He also asked about deed restrictions. City Attorney Mr. Santee explained the city does not enforce private deed restrictions.
“There are deed restrictions. That is a private civil matter between the neighbors,” said Santee.
Orr said the only deed restriction that came up was when they bought the house 30 years ago. He said the house was supposed to be a certain number of feet from the road, but because the road bends it was closer than that. The attorneys cleared that up, and got the deed restriction taken off, and that was the only deed restriction that he was aware of, Orr said.
Council member Morales made a motion to adopt the ordinance and recommendation that was denied by the planning and zoning committee for a special use permit for a residence occupation for gun shows and online sales of firearms in a SF-A Single-Family Residential Zone, to Robert L. Orr at 645 Deer Trail Dr. and legally described as Block 3, Lot 8, Jourdanton, Atascosa County, Texas.
Pesek then asked if they could reword the item, since Orr would not be having gun shows. Harrison said he would like to see that struck out. Santee also recommended adding repairs.
Morales amended his motion by scratching out “gun shows” and adding in “repairs.”
So the permit for a residence occupation will be for repairs and online sales of firearms. The vote was 3-1, with Gonzales opposing the decision.