Pike County residents express approval, caution at gun maker’s hearing

By RICARDO MORALES For the Pocono Record September 18, 2013
A conditional use hearing for Kahr Firearms Group, a New York gun manufacturer planning to build its new headquarters in Pike County’s 620-acre business park, drew more than 50 people Monday night, many in support of the proposed 40,000-square-foot facility. Tammy Gillette, a resident of Blooming Grove Township, held a poster that read, “Welcome Kahr.” “Seeing this industry move in really excites me as a parent,” said Gillette, adding that her two daughters in college may someday choose to live locally if companies like Kahr Firearms sufficiently improve the Pike County economy. Ralph Lenzi, another Blooming Grove resident, said the new facility will benefit the area by making the entire business park, which has been empty for years, taxable. “(The building) shouldn’t disturb anybody,” Lenzi added, though he said the hearing was “very limited.” At the hearing, questions regarding specific construction plans, including the size of parking lots, use of dynamite or concern with water runoff, were deferred until a land development hearing, which will take place at a later date. Saeilo Enterprises Inc., parent company of Kahr Firearms Group, outlined benefits the facilities would bring to the township. Over the course of four years, the initial headquarters and eventual research and retail facilities should bring about 80 new jobs to the area, said James Borer, corporate counsel.

Davis Chant, a real estate broker who testified on behalf of the company, said not only will the building increase the tax base, but the employees who move into the area as a result of the plans will purchase homes nearby and contribute taxes as well. Joan Dingee had concerns that were mostly related to the construction plans. “I have lots of questions,” said Dingee of Blooming Grove. “Main question: Are they going to be a good neighbor, or will this be a nightmare?” Chantelle Andrews of Dingman Township was optimistic. “I think it will benefit this entire county greatly,” she said. “Can you imagine the spillover effect?” The facility will likely provide work for other local businesses, particularly in concrete and other construction, she added. “As a longtime taxpayer, I’m thrilled.” Saeilo Enterprises purchased the entire Pike County business park for $2 million earlier this year. Beyond the 40,000-square-foot facility, the conditional use plans allow for a 20,000-square-foot addition. The company is moving its headquarters to Pike County in order to escape an unfriendly gun climate in New York.