Tyrone gun range zoning: Council priorities are not residents’
Is Tyrone Town Council listening to its constituents?
On March 1, 2012, Tyrone Town Council approved by a 3-2 vote to place a gun shop and shooting range in the Southampton Shopping Center within 400 feet of Southampton Subdivision (largest subdivision in Tyrone).
There was significant opposition largely on the grounds that putting the gun shop and shooting range in the Southampton Shopping Center was too close to a residential area. The issue was location, location, location!
There are a number of questions that need to be asked: Who at Town Hall gave the gun store owner only four locations to put his business?
He stated one piece of property was too small, one was near a school and another residential area ... why chose the one near Southampton? This choice is not fully explained ... the public needs to know where are these locations, and are there steps that the town could have taken to accommodate a better fit?
Could the shooting range and gun store have been placed in a heavy mechanical or industrial zoning district? Who is in charge of business development and planning for the town? What safeguards are there for transparency and community input? If the town council members can claim that they didn’t have enough information on this, 1) Why don’t they? 2) Why didn’t they abstain from the vote? 3) Or bring it back for reconsideration after there was more discovery? 4) What were the legal ramifications of waiting?
A bigger question is; why doesn’t Tyrone have a plan to help existing local businesses expand and attract new businesses in the right location within our town? Tyrone could take lessons from Peachtree City.
The Citizen had an article in the March 3-4, 2012 weekend edition titled “Economic Development Pact OK’d.” Peachtree City contracts with “experts” at Fayette County Development Authority (FCDA). Tyrone has no plan!
Here’s Peachtree City’s plan: Peachtree City will invest $75,000 a year for the next two years and FCDA will hire an employee to work on those goals, be the city’s main point of contact for business inquiries and the promotion of Peachtree City as a location for new business and industrial companies.
This is an example worth following. Having a plan in place, we can attract new businesses that fit within the existing ideals of the community and ensure they get placed in the right locations in our town. This way we avoid what happened on March 1, 2012.
Tyrone has the money to invest; we are sitting on a 13-month reserve ($3.5 million). Why not invest $75,000 a year for the next two years and get some expertise in planning the future of Tyrone?
Tyrone is second behind Peachtree City in the amount of taxes we pay in the county. What do we get in the Town of Tyrone for our tax dollars?
It appears we are paying too much in taxes to garner such a large reserve. The town should either invest our tax dollars back into the town or refund it back to the people.
There was a major outcry from the residents in Tyrone to not put the gun shop and shooting range in the Publix Shopping Plaza. Our mayor, Eric Dial, broke the tie and voted to place the shop in a location against the will of the people.
Dial is quoted saying, “It’s not an ideal location. And we don’t always have sovereign power over where everything is located. Sometimes it comes down to free enterprise and property rights.”
It comes down to planning and priorities, Mr. Mayor ... what’s next? A gentlemen’s club next to the pizzeria?
The people of Tyrone have a right to know and understand how this decision was made. It appears that the Town Council made this possible for the gun shop and shooting range to go in the shopping plaza by changing the zoning to accommodate this special request.
There must be a better process, so major mistakes like this will not happen again.
[Ms. Coston lost to Ryan Housley for the Post 2 seat on the council last fall.]