The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission on Wednesday grudgingly approved a special permit to allow alcohol sales from the same building where a gun store is proposed at 134th and O streets.
Derek Broman, who owns Deguns.net at 31st and O streets in Lincoln, bought and is remodeling the former Parker Hannifin manufacturing building, which sits on the northeast corner of the intersection.
He plans to move his retail store there and has discussed the potential of having an indoor shooting range.
Broman also wants to have a restaurant and bar on the site, which is why he is seeking a special permit to sell both onsale and offsale alcohol.
Neighbors have been concerned because Broman has been allowing outdoor shooting on the property, which is legal in the county. Broman said nearly all the shooting taking place is by professional shooters who are on a team he sponsors.
The neighbors, including an in-home daycare, have expressed concerns about pairing alcohol and shooting, saying they sometimes don't feel safe outside on their properties now and feel alcohol would exacerbate the situation.
"We just want to be safe in our own house and in our own neighborhood," said Mark Jacobsen, whose wife runs a preschool out of their home.
Planning commissioners added some conditions to the special permit, including one that would prohibit an outdoor shooting range on the part of the property that's included in the permit, unless it is set up in accordance with state and other regulations. In that case, it would need a separate approval from the commission.
The Parker Hannifin property is actually two separate lots, and the area that will be governed by the special permit does not include the area where most of the shooting is taking place now.
Members of the Planning Commission were told by city legal staff that they do not have the right to regulate activities outside of the area covered by the special permit.
The six commissioners at Wednesday's meeting all voted to approve the special permit, although all expressed reservations.
However, they acknowledged they were doing what they could to regulate potential future uses.
"Regardless of how we feel about the ongoing shooting, the ongoing shooting is out of our control," Commissioner Michael Cornelius said.
Broman still must be approved for a liquor license by the state Liquor Control Commission.