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Tyrone approves gun shop by unanimous vote

The vote at the May 3 meeting of the Tyrone Town Council over zoning changes that included guns shops as a conditional use of C-2 (Highway Commercial) zoning came with unanimous approval. The agenda topic was essentially a reconsideration of the previous zoning district change from PUD (Planned Unit Development) to C-2 and the inclusion of guns shops as a conditional use in C-2.

The meeting Thursday night last more than three hours and drew more than 180 people, many of whom are residents of the nearby Southampton subdivision. Twenty people spoke in favor of the zoning changes and 24 spoke in opposition 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. The location is approximately 218 feet east of the Southampton subdivision and 400 feet from the nearest residence.

The approval came with a number of conditions. Among those was the requirement to construct a four-foot concrete wall that will extend approximately 65 feet and will be situated between the gun shop and Partner’s Pizza. The condition was one of those stated on numerous occasions by residents as a concern due to the potential for the accidental discharge of a firearm in the parking lot.

Comments both pro and con echoed those made at the previous council meeting and two planning commission meetings where the rezoning and conditional use topics had been discussed and, at the council meeting, approved on a 3-2 vote.

Among those opposed, an overwhelming majority 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 near the subdivision on the south side of the shopping center.

Mayor Eric Dial prior to the vote said, “We believe our hands are tied. We didn’t choose this location. We’re trying to alleviate any problems with (the gun shop) being there.”

Though Dial did not elaborate further, his comment was clear enough. If the council had decided to remove gun shops from the C-2 zoning category it would potentially open the door for property owner Phil Seay to litigate the town’s decision. That is what occurred several years ago 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.

The reconsideration of the rezoning and conditional use items came after a number of Southampton subdivision residents filed suit against the town on May 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.

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 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. 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 planning commission meeting last week when that body reconsidered and voted to recommend the matter for approval by the council. Town attorney Dennis Davenport at the planning commission meeting said the town’s position is that a gun shop is a retail business. Davenport 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.

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.



tunnelmotor99's picture

Because I need to stock up on guns so I can drive my golf cart...


Looks like Tyrone will be getting the grocery money I normally spend in PTC. I hope the pizza is good 8)

Congratulations on a wise business decision and not allowing misconceptions get in the way. Education will be key for those opposed to the shop. Most recreational shooters/collectors are upstanding citizens with an income far above average.

See you soon...

NUK_1's picture

I'm surprised people are objecting to a gun range being built next to it. The shopping center is dying rather quickly, but I guess people in Tyrone prefer to go to PTC to shop in the first place.

Liferfrom65's picture

I went to the meeting last night and found it to be very interesting. The people of South Hampton were very organized in their opposition to the location of the gun shop/range for three reasons that I could see.

First, after a lengthy explanation by the owner and by the range designer of how the air filtration system will work (the air going out will be cleaner than the air coming in) and how spent lead will be cleaned out, the opponents still argued that lead contamination of the community was a huge possibility. One nice lady, who said she was a nurse, referenceded a study of the effects of lead paint on children and listed all the illnesses it can cause. I don't think you can buy lead based paint anymore and I feel confident in saying there won't be any lead based paint used in the shop or range. Many residents were also concerned shooters would not wash their hands after shooting, then go to the Publix ancontaminatete the produce by touching it. What about thpeoplele the go to Autrey's and forget to wash their hands? They could go to the same Publix on the way home couldn't they? What about the people who go to thbathroomom without washing their hands? My point is, there are many other ways to contaminate fresh produce that don't seem to concern these people.

Second was location. I can see their concerns there but it was shown that there just aren't any other suitable locations in town. When asked about finding another location Mr. Morris was concerned about the $60,000 he had already invested in this location and who would front the next 60K for another one. The South Hampton residents said he should eat it and write it off on his taxes. Mr. Morris also raised the issue of land prices because the owners of the properties knew he was in a tight spot and were raising their prices.

The third concern of the residents was home values. One speaker used the opinion of a real estate agent (those were her exact words) to show how home values in the subdivision would drop when the gun shop opened. Another speaker quoted her brother who is an avid shooter/hunter, Harley rider and NRA member saying he would never live near an indoor shooting range. Apparently opinion and personal feelings are strong arguments to use these days.

The probems of neglegent discharges and stolen guns were also brought up without any real data to back up the claims. One speaker had police reports of four guns bieng stolen from the AR Bunker but the owner's daughter reported all all four had been recovered.

Bottom line, if you are going to argue against something, get some hard data and listen to the facts being presented by the other side. Six months after the range has been in bussiness nobody will notice any difference in the area.

Just watching's picture

Your comments are right on the mark and I am so pleased to see someone post the voice of reason. Thank you

People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.

NUK_1's picture

Nice recap of the meeting and pretty objective about what was said! Have u considered being a reporter for The Citizen? :)

I moved to Tyrone from the area formerly represented by the hideous troll in your profile pic. I had hoped that the people of Tyrone would be less... stupid. But all this angst over the gun shop/range has me wondering.

There is NO valid argument for preventing this business from opening at the proposed location. Lifer did a great job of addressing several of these bizarre concerns. I'll add that I happen to know and work with a part-time employee of the AR Bunker's existing location. He's former military, retired law enforcement, and a great guy. Those who are concerned about an increase in crime should know that they'll be much safer with such people around. I also know many current LEOs who will be in the shop frequently, so let's put the "it will increase crime" nonsense to rest.

If we're lucky, the opening of this store will cause some of the morons who live nearby to move. Now that's change I can believe in!

Oh, in the interest of full disclosure, the owner of the AR Bunker recently target crowned a rifle for me. It now shoots sub-MOA at 200 yards. Great people, great business! Welcome to Tyrone!

S. Lindsey's picture

With history and precedent clearly on the side of the Landowner and the Zoning Laws clearly established the "Lawsuit" was and is a non-starter".

Each Municipality needs revenue right now. Businesses, especially very popular ones, bring in much needed tax revenues that the very people who are complaining about the business will use the services that it's tax base provides.

All the hysteria over guns and safety is just that hysteria. Currently the AR Bunker and Autry's gets a lot of my business. That's taxes paid to Newnan. Once this is built Tyrone will.

The AR Bunker helped turn my Tactical CAR-15 into a nail driver and customized my Kimber Gold Combat II .45. These guys know what they are doing... It will be great to see them a little closer.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

Opponents of the Gun Shop hearing May 3 were wasting their efforts. The real issue was a cover your butt effort by Tyrone’s Attorney and Council to avoid illegal notification procedures in the previous rezoning.

Council had already rezoned the property but were caught with their pants down when residents sued. Count one of the suit proved Tyrone had not followed GA Zoning Procedures Law by not publishing notice at least 15 days prior to the hearing. The ad did not contain a statement about the zoning purpose that a firing range would be included.

Count two points out that Tyrone was grossly negligent in violating its own Zoning Ordinance by not posting a sign on the property that gave the purpose of the hearing, the zoning application number and the current and proposed zoning – this violation is intentional because these laws are clearly stated in the Ordinance and recorded complaints are numerous, going back to the mid-1990’s. The most recent complaints on notifications being in 2007, 2008, 2011 – In 2007 a lawsuit was filed over these notification issues which were quoted verbatim to the 2012 lawsuit. In the past, lawsuits were funded by one person and the town would hire expensive outside lawyers to drag the case out to force the plaintiff to run out of money to pay lawyers. This gross negligence allows for punitive damages.

Other violations included failure of the Planning Commission to investigate any adverse effects of the zoning proposal and for the zoning administrator to write a report of any effects for presentation to the Council and public. This has never been done in the past. The main one for citizens is any harm or loss of value to the property owners.

Count three deals with an ethical violation of a Planning Commission’s conflict of interest i.e. voting for the zoning while profiting from its approval.

The huge overflow crowd that opposed the zoning were duped into thinking that if they presented legitimate concern the Council might deny the zoning. Many concerns were given. Derrick Jackson reminded Council that the first three words of the constitution were, “we the people” , obviously referring to the huge opposition in attendance and the oath elected officials take to uphold the constitution.

But what the opposition failed to realize was that Council had already made up their mind to unanimously approve the zoning. The hearing was to avoid lawsuits by correcting their previous failures listed above.

S. Lindsey’s statement that history, precedent and zoning laws makes the lawsuit a non-starter is not factually true. Tyrone has a history of taking away land uses in violation of their own zoning laws and devaluing property of the majority. Their 2004 Amendment forced more than 30 businesses to leave Tyrone and violated property rights. If nothing else the citizens’ lawsuit is a starter that forced the government to follow their own notification laws and legal investigation by the yes appointees of the Planning Commission on proposed zoning.

S. Lindsey's picture

A similar case has already been adjudicated against Tyrone and for the land owner. The Zoning has already occurred you failed at that time to sue to change it and now only after you object to what is going in do you wish to change laws already in place.

That is why it is a non-starter... The developer and landowner will simply sue Tyrone AGAIN and win AGAIN.. the only change is the cost will go back on you the residents of Tyrone to pay the legal tab incurred.

Because the Tyrone counsel, probably led by those like you, attempted to deny the developer an opportunity to build on land set as a conservation parcel but then went and changed the zoning any way, the Tyrone Counsel actually violated it's own zoning restrictions that was set back in 1996.. It was ruled unconstitutional and the ruling against Tyrone has now forced them to allow the development. Mostly the ruling was affirmed. So viola you now have a Shopping Center on land once zoned as a conservation parcel.

Your only option now is to use "public detriment" as an argument.. which is again a non-starter as no data exist that show an Armory is a detriment to the public interest.

Like I said you can wish it away.. but it is not happening.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

In the gun shop lawsuit the Statutory State Law and Tyrone Law takes precedent because they are legislative and clearly enumerated regarding procedure to rezone. Case law only comes in for similar cases. This case is not similar to Tyrone v. Tyrone LLC.

I’m very familiar with the Tyrone LLC Case as it is now an issue in a legal malpractice case against one of the lawyers in the LLC case. Tyrone LLC had a constitutional issue. The current homeowner’s case is a procedural due process case; having to do with statutory laws regarding notification of the rezoning that Tyrone did not follow. Therefore, Tyrone LLC is not applicable and statutory law takes precedent.

S. Lindsey, I’m not going to try to educate you on all the law, because you obviously don’t understand it and will only make some uneducated response as you normally do and did here.

My original point was that Tyrone realized that they never follow their notification laws and came back to correct their advertising by placing wording on their signs exactly as the homeowners suit said they must do. Tyrone hopes that these corrections will cause the case to be dismissed, but we shall see.

Tyrone’s answer to the case was not on record as of last Friday and Tyrone Attorney Davenport does not have an outstanding legal mind as his work is an issue in the legal malpractice case mentioned above. S. Lindsey you were wrong about case law taking precedent. Stop trying to confuse the public about law you know nothing about.

S. Lindsey's picture

If so how?

If as you think that case law does not set precedent then why is there a shopping center on the very property you so object to having a gun shop?

Seems like my reality beats your "education" doesn't?

TC you can surmise my understanding or the lack thereof all you want. You simply cannot un-ring a bell. The Shopping center exist. That's a reality you have to wake up to.

You can go and sue the Town Counsel, the owners of the Armory, the land owners et al... but... you have one big glaring issue..


So let's say you prevail that Tyrone failed to follow legal procedures for notifications etc...

What do you expect to happen.. Tear down the Shopping Center? Really? Do you really believe a Judge is going to rule that even if Tyrone failed to properly notify that they will have to start over and tear it all down?

TC not going to happen.

You are not even going to be able to keep out the Armory with your suit. So what exactly is the point? If that point is to make the Counsel start following it's own rules and regulations well you can do that without a suit. Simply challenge them at election time and vote them out.
The problem with our Society is the litigious nature we have. We want change and instead of working inside the system to get it done we sue.

The Armory is coming... Enjoy. Hope to see you there.

BTW-got 15 years experience with the Law so go ahead and feel superior you are still going to lose and simply cost the citizens more money.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

I am not suing over the gun shop. I don’t care if it goes in or not. My original point was ---- let me repeat, my original point was: THAT THE TYRONE COUNCIL DID NOT FOLLOW THE GEORGIA ZONING PROCEDURES ACT AND TYRONE NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE LAWS. Please read my original blog.

You are the one who got into statutory vs. case precedents. Your “reality” is your inability to comprehend. If the government doesn’t follow the law of zoning procedure, the zoning is void. That’s what the homeowners’ lawsuit was saying. That’s why Tyrone had to go back and rezone the property a 2nd time and follow the law, which they did by correcting the news and sign notifications.

Tyrone hopes that the zoning is now legal. But, when you don’t legally notify the public as in the 1st zoning, the public doesn’t know what the hell is going on.

The gun shop zoning will probably stand. Maybe it will and may be it will not, depending on the homeowners’ next move, if any. I’m neutral. The lawsuit has unexpectedly performed a great service to the citizens as a whole. It has forced Tyrone to follow notification laws after decades of refusing to do so. That’s my point and that’s the issue I was trying to get across.

In the future I will make you a case study in intelligence quotients. I.Q. to you.

S. Lindsey's picture

where the Sun doesn't shine...

You see like most Psydo-Intellectuals you failed to make yourself clear.

Where in your little missive, when you joined this conversational debate,
do you state that you are not opposed to the Gun Shop?

You did say this:
[quote=TyroneConfidential]Opponents of the Gun Shop hearing May 3 were wasting their efforts.[/quote]

Now one might infer that you sympathized with those very people.

You also said this:
[quote=TyroneConfidential]The huge overflow crowd that opposed the zoning were duped into thinking that if they presented legitimate concern the Council might deny the zoning. Many concerns were given. Derrick Jackson reminded Council that the first three words of the constitution were, “we the people” , obviously referring to the huge opposition in attendance and the oath elected officials take to uphold the constitution.
But what the opposition failed to realize was that Council had already made up their mind to unanimously approve the zoning. The hearing was to avoid lawsuits by correcting their previous failures listed above.[/quote]

Again it is clear where you stand.. Now if you were not so enamored with yourself and your huge brain case (overcompensating I am sure) you might realize you left off out where you said that but I digress.

Where in these quotes do you state you do not OPPOSE the Gun shop?

Just wondering.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

IS IN YOUR BRAIN S.L. There is no such word as psydo in the dictionary.

LOL!! "psydo" may have been spelled wrong but the point was pretty clear. I find it very disappointing a healthy debate has turned in to name calling although I must admit a pretty funny read with my morning coffee.

Congratulations Tyrone on a good business decision. I certainly hope some of your fine citizens will eventually understand... It would be interesting if someone does a case study flowing the opening of the gun store to settle the impact debate once and for all. Obviously tax revenue will increase and my hunch is pizza/grocery sales will rise as well.

S. Lindsey's picture

I know you are but what am I?

Feel better now? Want to see if I will hit you first and all that?

That is the best argument you have? Mr. Pseudo-Intellectual? Grow a pair will ya!

BTW-How is that lawsuit going? What is it's purpose? What is your vision of the Judicial results?

Or do you even have one?

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

Shooter's picture

Thank you Tyrone... Again. For voting this in... Again. This is great! We will get a gun shop with a new indoor shooting range, with all new equipment. Hopefully, I'll get to rub elbows with some of the police officers. Maybe they can show me a thing or two. Just think how this will improve the relationship between the citizens and the police department. Awesome! The other two ranges even close enough to drive to are old and nasty looking, must not be maintained very well. They will pale in comparison to this new, state of the art range. Plus, I can pick up my groceries right next door... after washing my hands, of course. I'll have to quit shopping in PTC and give Tyrone my business. This is great! And a few of the home owners say they wont shop there anymore. BONUS! Oh, by the way, our car's battery and wheel weights are made of lead. Better not drive in the Southampton subdivision. They all pass out when they get close to lead.

Tyronian's picture

Congratulations Tyrone, on this new business entering our fine city. I’m sure you will be pleased with those fine folks. Your council meeting went well. We were all very impressed with your diligence on the research and the hard data you’ve supplied to the people. You really did a wonderful job presenting the material, as well. Very brief and to the point. Now, I can’t say that it was heard by all, but nevertheless, it was very professional! It seems your opposition was having a hard time understanding (or retaining) the facts, not to mention proper city meeting protocol. It was actually a little embarrassing seeing some of our citizens from Tyrone on the news, acting out with amateurish phrases with no supporting data. I don’t believe they supported their case very well. Perhaps a more intellectual response would have served them better? A professor I had, always said, “Irrational behavior leads to loss of audience, then eventually solitude.” I guess you can paraphrase that with, “You can get more flies with honey.”

On the business side, I can’t imagine any city that wouldn’t welcome and appreciate a new business in today’s economy. Our current legislature doesn’t exactly make it easy on the new entrepreneur. There are many examples here, in Tyrone. The old fire station on the corner of Palmetto and Senoia. That poor building traded hands several times in a five year span. It’s also a real shame for those beautiful new buildings on Palmetto road to be abandoned. It’s a reminder of how unstable our economy is, and how unforgiving the effects can be. I applaud any person with the guts to start a new business right now. Good for you!


Veritas's picture

I Love it, another establishment in which to drool over firearms and to exercise my 2nd amendment rights to increase my armory. The ATF just approved my form so my dreams of procuring a Thompson m1a1 are closer to becoming reality . I do not hear an out cry of property declining property values in Senoia. I await with baited breath the opening of the range in Tyrone.

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