By Malynda Fulton
HAHIRA — Hahira City Council members approved a new clothing ordinance during the regular session Thursday evening.
A proposed ordinance to prohibit citizens from wearing pants that are below the waist and reveal skin or undergarments has been the topic of much debate for the past two months.
Several citizens have spoken out against the ordinance, expressing concerns that range from the fear of racial profiling to visitors, who may be unaware of the ordinance, being penalized. In previous meetings, Councilman Ralph Clendenin has also expressed his opposition of the ordinance, claiming to have spoken with several parents of young girls who say the ordinance would prevent their daughters from wearing hip-hugger jeans.
Hahira Police Chief Terry Davis presented a film recording discovered by Sgt. Shannon Kingston which gave an example of how loose clothing could affect public safety. The recording displayed someone removing more than 50 concealed weapons from loose-fitting jeans.
Several community members also attended in support of the ordinance. Two women agreed that if parents refuse to make their children dress properly, then the city should. One added that pants that are worn below the waist and reveal underwear are a representation of men who have been in prison and were raped. Citizens in favor of the ordinance affirmed their desire for Hahira to be portrayed in the highest regard.
Before the council voted, Mayor Pro Tem Rose Adams spoke out for the first time since the ordinance was introduced, expressing her belief that clothing restrictions should not be imposed on anyone. Ultimately, council members voted 2-2 and the tie was broken by Mayor Wayne Bullard in favor of the ordinance.
Council members also heard the third and final reading of the public hearing to restrict exotic animals. City Attorney Rob Plumb presented the council with a final draft of the ordinance, which restricts ownership of exotic animals such as skunks, bears, wildcats, constricting snakes, etc., in Hahira. The ordinance includes a grandfather clause for current exotic animal owners in the city limits, which states that the owners have 30 days to register all animals. The ordinance was approved 3-1.
Before the meeting’s end, council members set a date for the annual city council retreat. This year, the retreat is to be held the first weekend in April at the Camilla Conference Center. Members will discussed SPLOST fund allocations, water and sewer fees and other priorities.
Other items discussed include:
l Application to sell beer and wine at Bigfoot; approved.
l University of Georgia salary study; approved.