Facing lawsuit, Tyrone says yes again to shopping center shooting range

Some Tyrone residents don't want a gun range near residential areas, and they filed a lawsuit to stop it. Tyrone began its defense of the zoning with a Planning Commission decision April 26.

The meeting of the Tyrone Planning Commission was essentially a replay of the recent Town Council meeting where zoning changes that included guns shops as a conditional use of C-2 (Highway Commercial) zoning was approved.

Commissioners Thursday night after a re-consideration of the zoning district change from PUD (Planned Unit Development) to C-2 and the inclusion of guns shops as a conditional use in C-2 voted unanimously to recommend the changes to the Town Council for the May 3 meeting.

The meeting drew approximately 150 people, with a large majority of those being opposed to the gun shop and indoor gun range proposed for the south side of the Publix shopping center on the west side of Ga. Highway 74 and approximately 218 feet east of the Southampton subdivision and 400 feet from the nearest residence.

Approximately a half-dozen people spoke in favor of the rezoning during the public comments portion of the meeting, but they were far overshadowed by the nearly two dozen speaking in opposition.

As at the previous meeting on the subject, the overwhelming majority of those opposed said they were gun advocates or gun owners. And nearly all said they supported the idea of having a local gun shop. The problem, they said, was with the intended location on a vacant piece of property on the south side of the shopping center.

Some in their comments said having the gun shop would hurt the business at the shopping center while others said that, if it opened, they would no longer shop in the town.

Police Chief/Town Manger Brandon Perkins made a brief presentation noting that of 19 indoor gun ranges within metro Atlanta all but one, regardless of zoning, are within 1,000 feet of residential properties.

Several residents took issue with Perkins’ data, with one resident referring to an indoor range in Marietta located in a neighborhood consisting of “cracker box” houses likely valued at $50,000.

The re-consideration of the rezoning and conditional use items came after a number of Southampton subdivision residents filed suit against the town on April 2 stating that, “approving the allowance of a gun shop as a conditional use in a C-2 (Commercial Highway) zoning district and also the allowance of a shooting range as an accessory use to a gun shop on the subject property and seek(s) a declaratory judgment to declare these rezoning decisions to be a manifest abuse of rezoning power and therefore illegal and void.”

The four counts specified in the suit include violations of the state zoning procedures law, violations of the town’s zoning ordinance, a conflict of interest and potential violation of ethical requirements on the part of a member of the Tyrone Planning Commission and a manifest abuse of zoning power.

The plaintiffs are also appealing the rezoning decision to amend the town’s zoning map that changed the PUD district to a C-2 and seeks to have the rezoning decision void because it was conducted in violation of state law.

The PUD district has not existed as an official zoning district since 1995. The town recently completed an update of the zoning ordinance, part of which involved a decrease in the number of zoning classifications that exist throughout the town, according to town records. The rezoning from PUD to C-2 was intended to serve as a next step in the process by transitioning all properties zoned PUD to C-2, town records said.

The properties situated on the east and west sides of Hwy. 74 were largely developed under the old PUD classification.

Indoor gun ranges were previously allowed in the C-3 zoning district, the town’s most intense commercial zoning category. The amendment of the zoning ordinance in October 2011 eliminated the C-3 district. The new C-2 district contains the uses previously allowed in C-3.

Plaintiffs in the suit include Southampton subdivision residents Leila Richardson, Wayne Mason, Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, Larry Bennet, Donna Ballard, Natalie Milner, Michelle Williams and Thomas Redd and Southampton Plaza shopping center business owner LaGuana Albarracin.

The town apparently addressed the suit by re-advertising and posting signage for the Planning Commission and Town Council public hearings. Pertaining to another aspect of the suit, Planning Commissioner Chris Wigginton, whose company did work for proposed gun shop project, did not attend the commission meeting. Town attorney Dennis Davenport said the town’s position is that a gun shop is a retail business. Davenport at the meeting also noted that he would be responding to the citizens’ law suit on May 4.

A number of residents at each of the public hearings on the issue said that gun shops and gun ranges would be better suited in areas zoned for industrial purposes.

Though not stated by anyone at the meeting, there is another facet of the issue that is of note. It pertains to possible litigation by property owner Phil Seay and industrial-zoned property.

If the council next week were to decide to remove gun shops from the C-2 zoning category it would potentially open the door for Seay to litigate the town’s decision. That is what occurred when Seay wanted to put the Publix shopping center along Hwy. 74. The town turned him down and he successfully sued the city. Seay noted that fact at a recent council meeting.

As for industrial-zoned property as a site for gun shops, such properties do exist inside the town limits. One of those properties is situated between the Southampton subdivision and Hwy. 74 between Carriage Oaks Drive and Peggy Lane.

The Town Council will hold a public hearing on the rezoning and conditional use of gun shops in the C-2 zoning district on May 3.

lion
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Guns and Tyrone

Most of us live in the 21st Century--not the 18th century of the gun lovers.

We do not need more guns, gun ranges, or gun stores in Fayette County or anywhere. Even if guns, etc. are legal, they do not make for a more civilized or livable community.

Robert W. Morgan
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18th Century may be coming back next month, lion

You may want to reconsider your definition of civilized after Romney is elected by a razor-thin margin and the Dems start up with suppression of military votes, hanging chads, battalions of lawyers, etc. - again. Pretty easy step from all that to someone deciding that the election was racist and Romney is going to take all their stuff away and the solution is rioting and looting. We saw a preview in LA and while the big cities will be worse, I can see a situation locally where some thugs think breaking into my house will enrich them or avenge Obama's defeat. My guns will be put to good use in that event and yes they will - when combined with my neighbor's guns (7 out of 12 houses have guns at last count) will make our neighborhood more civilized and livable.

And the gun range is a real good idea. With the surge in gun sales recently, better that all these new gun owners get trained and practice their aim.

Quallacherokee
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RWM

Then there's the OTHER scenario, the one which the Founding Fathers knew was the reason the People needed the 2nd Amendment , Obama gets re-elected,
Agenda 21, NDAA, China say's Pay Up NOW....

and then there's always (lol)
12/21/12
We already know Senoia is full of Zombies

Quallacherokee
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Lion

Let me explain what We don't need, We don't need people telling us what we need, Ya see, gun ownership, is a Personal CHOICE, Operating a Gun Store is a Personal Choice, Operating a Gun range is yup you guessed it a Personal Choice.
Ya see Lion here's the rub, folks such as yourself seem to be delusional in your worth, or stature, You don't get to decide what I need, You don't get to Choose for me.
It's really simple, if you don't like guns, Fine, and ya know what, I'll never state you must have one, you see how Personal Choice works? YOU get to decide for YOU and I get to decide for me, Wow what a concept, Adults being allowed to Choose,
I'll tell you what We really don't need in Fayette County or even in the USA,
people who believe THEY can make the choice for their neighbors

S. Lindsey
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So what Rights do you want removed Lion...

...just the 2nd Amendment or all of the ones you disagree with.

winstonknows
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Imagine that

Sounds like the gun club is not going to build despite having every legal right to do so... I drove through the neighborhood doing all the complaining and Obama signs everywhere. Coincidence??? Crushing small business at its finest.

winstonknows
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Imagine that

Sounds like the gun club is not going to build despite having every legal right to do so... I drove through the neighborhood doing all the complaining and Obama signs everywhere. Coincidence??? Crushing small business at its finest.

winstonknows
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I must laugh at some of the

I must laugh at some of the argument is have seen here...

"I will never shop at Publix again" - highly unlikely. If anything the range will increase Publix traffic. I normally go the the Kroger in PTC but Publix will now be MUCH more convenient. My PTC grocery money is now heading to Tyrone.

I also get hungry when I finish shooting... Time to try out the pizza place. BTW every time i drive by i see a ton of Tyrone's finest, i will feel totally safe with all of these horrible gun owners that will now be bringing business to Tyrone

BTW thugs typically don't go to gun ranges. Kennesaw has one of the lowest home invasion stats in the nation. Why, everyone has a gun in the house, its the law.

Safety? Someone is going to carry a gun regardless of the range, now would you rather have someone that is proficient and safety conscience or someone that has rarely if ever fired their gun.

It all boils down to the negative connotation the word "gun" brings to some. It is not a pawnshop and you will find some of the wealthiest people in Fayette county visiting. Shooting can be expensive. I was recently at a tournament and the average income exceeded $180k. Google Blalock Lakes in Newnan or Foxhall in Douglasville.

At the end of the day there is nothing illegal about a shooting range and angry folks should have considered undeveloped property before buying. I am very sorry your are upset, personally I am like a kid counting the days before Christmas

FCsports
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I like how this gun range is

I like how this gun range is not wanted by the citizens in Tyrone. It is not being built for them or their use. It is being built for the rest of the county to use, who by the way don't want it in their back yard....they just want it close enough to use. So when the whole area goes to s***, with pawn shops, etc... (which they also don't want!), then the rest of the county can distinguish themselves from Tyrone and call it the "Black area", and then they can say "That's what happens!" Tyrone commissioners appear corrupt, and the rest of the county should step in to stop it.

Dragon
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Great Plan Chairman Shenkle

Three cheers for Tyrone Planning Commission. They followed their own law (This time) and ignored those pesky citizens. What would they know about what’s best for their town anyway? Rusty Morris, a Sharpsburg resident, has a better plan.

Just think of all of those PTC sport shooters who will stop off on their way home and make some impulse purchases. Everybody knows that’s what sells high end guns; Impulse.

Just because you wannabe’s know every gun range within an hour of you doesn’t mean the REAL high end purchasers do. Don’t worry about the other fine citizens of Union City, Fairburn and assorted apartment complexes along 74. Although they take up as much room as anybody else in the parking lot/showroom they are not the target demographic so just muscle your way on through. They won’t mind. They probably can’t afford the guns anyway. And if you don’t buy your gun there you can’t use the range. Right? I mean you can’t just come in there with a Saturday night special from the’ We Buy Gold’ Pawn Shop and start popping caps!

I’m sure there are a LOT of people who are absolutely fed up with Autreys Armory. I mean come on, who will want to shop there once they get a taste of Fairburn/Tyrone? Just imagine.

Obviously our elected officials on the PLANNING COMMISSION know what they are doing. That’s their job after all. It is the new law that they voted through unanimously in spite of those pesky citizens.

Did you know, before Southampton was a multimillion dollar family oriented subdivision, one board member was using the nearby woods as a firing range? So if that led didn’t affect anybody then what has changed in 30 years? Another board member is the ONLY one who knows the real facts from the misinformation. These folks are omnipotent in their understanding of the laws and needs of Tyrone. I for one will 100% vote for them again…no wait I’ll be moving to PTC but it has nothing to do with the quality of Tyrone’s leaders. I’m sure those ignorant, misinformed and reactionary Southampton residents will eventually understand. We certainly wouldn’t want a Planning Commission made up of ignorant, misinformed and reactionary Citizens now would we?

Liferfrom65
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Dragon
Dragon wrote:

Just because you wannabe’s know every gun range within an hour of you doesn’t mean the REAL high end purchasers do. Don’t worry about the other fine citizens of Union City, Fairburn and assorted apartment complexes along 74. Although they take up as much room as anybody else in the parking lot/showroom they are not the target demographic so just muscle your way on through. They won’t mind. They probably can’t afford the guns anyway. And if you don’t buy your gun there you can’t use the range. Right? I mean you can’t just come in there with a Saturday night special from the’ We Buy Gold’ Pawn Shop and start popping caps!

I’m sure there are a LOT of people who are absolutely fed up with Autreys Armory. I mean come on, who will want to shop there once they get a taste of Fairburn/Tyrone? Just imagine.

Dragon, I wish I were smart enough to understand everything you wrote but I'm not. What I can tell you is no you don't have to buy a gun to use the range. You can bring the ones you've owned for years or even rent one there. All you really need to bring, or buy there, is ammo.

I'm not fed up with Autrey's but with high gas prices it would be nice to have a place close by. More money to spend on ammo.

What exactly is it I "wanabe"? I do want to be able to defend myself and my family from the attacks of human preditors. What's wrong with that?

See you at the city counsel meeting tonight.

Just watching
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You are wrong

It is wanted by many in Tyrone

Liferfrom65
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Bring it to PTC

I don't want it in Tyrone either. Bring it to Peachtree City so i can drive to it on my golf cart. Gut out the crime infested Target store and put it there, that's as close to my back yard as you can get. BTW, who are all these citizens in Tyrone who don't want it? I only see about six so far.

Dragon
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Bring it

You Sir are the target demographic. You can get there on your golf cart. Matter of fact there are houses in Southampton available. Great view of the shooting range is an excellent selling point.

It's hard for me to understand why the Planning Commission in PTC did not allow the range there since you are the target demographic. Maybe you could get a hundred or so of you neighbors to sign a petition requesting one.

I think the PTC Planning Commission could learn a few things from their counterparts in Tyrone about what is best for your town.

Liferfrom65
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Dragon
Dragon wrote:

You Sir are the target demographic. You can get there on your golf cart. Matter of fact there are houses in Southampton available. Great view of the shooting range is an excellent selling point.

I'm happy with where I live now, just wish there was a range close by. If I wanted a view of a range I would have buit next to commercial property like you did.

WakeUp
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"Black Area"?

Interesting. Someone was bound to put race into the equation. FCSports, you are indicating pawn shops will follow a gun store? Then pawn shops will make it a "black area". Quit baiting! This is not a racial issue.

Just watching
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It was just a matter of time
WakeUp wrote:

Interesting. Someone was bound to put race into the equation. FCSports, you are indicating pawn shops will follow a gun store? Then pawn shops will make it a "black area". Quit baiting! This is not a racial issue.

Agreed, It was just a matter of time before someone, probably not from Tyrone, to make this a racial issue. it isn't!
I live and work in Tyrone and I am in favor of this shop and range. It is time new business was allowed in Tyrone. New business, new income and more employment. In the past, business had to jump through so many unnecessary hoops that they left.

mudcat
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Tyronese people not gettin; it yet

The 1987 suit against Seay/Wieland was what set the table for stuff like this. If you all had the spine back then to grant Mr. Seay a conditional zoning category, you could have written in a ban on gun shops, porn shops and whatever else you didn't like. Instead you fought the zoning, it led to lawsuit and a judge gave then General Commercial and Industrial zoning. Now anybody can do anything. Way to go, Norm. Thanks Barry. If a judge rezones your property - what the h**l are you guys doing. to justify your jobs?

More to the point, if you had given Seay/Wieland what they wanted, the influx of people into Southhampton would have been Peachtree City-type people looking for cheaper Wieland houses in the late 1980's. Instead you delayed the obvious decision that the judge handed down and instead got upscale black families who became the major southside market in the late 1990;s and early 2000's.

Liferfrom65
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The opposition

Not much of an opposition when this is all they brought.

"Note the young lady in the middle of the opposition side who is afraid that the percentage of people carrying firearms is going to increase in Publix so she will be afraid to bring her sister into the store. Also note the Holistic therapist who demonstrates how a bullet put into her subjects hand IMMEDIATELY disables him."

Shooter
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Shooting range

Nice article Ben. I bet there weren’t many people there "for" the range because it's pretty obvious the range will win. It is now C2. A gun range may be built. It will bring in revenue. Ya know?