Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 11, 2014

Hahira to draft firearm ordinance

Votes down annexation request

HAHIRA — Hahira City Council voted Thursday to draft a firearm ordinance barring firearms at council meetings, after conferring with Valdosta and Lowndes County as to their firearm policies.

Georgia law requires a trained officer or individual to perform firearm screenings; there is also a metal detector in the Hahira courthouse the officer or individual could use.

Comparatively, Valdosta City Council does not use a metal detector; Lowndes County uses a metal detector for people entering the judicial side of the county complex but not the administrative side where Lowndes County Commission meetings are held.

• After being tabled last month, council heard from Matt Martin, planning and zoning administrator, and from Hahira citizens about an annexation request into the city for 58 acres on the northeast edge of Ga. 122.

Along with the annexation request was a rezoning request to change the land from E-A (Agriculture) to R-10 (Residential).

Martin reported that the Lowndes Planning Commission advised no annexation.

Laurence Nelson, who made the requests along with Fred Wetherington, affirmed that they’d be agreeable to a rezoning change to R-15 (the difference: R-10 sets minimum lot size at 10,000 square feet; R-15 sets it to 15,000 square feet).

Eight Hahira residents spoke against the request, with a common complaint being a lack of information provided as to why the requesters wanted the land annexed and rezoned and subsequent plans for the property.

Another complaint was the possible effects to the sewer and water systems if the property owners decided to develop it.

All three present members of the City Council — Ralph Clendenin, Kenneth Davis and Mason Barfield – voiced levels of disagreement with the request, with Clendenin requesting more studies on the sewer system, Davis voicing support for eventual annexation and growth if “done in the right way” and Barfield voicing disappointment with Wetherington’s absence at the meeting.

“I’ve got to hear from that person ... that person who will eventually be deciding what would be done with that property,” said Barfield.

The council voted unanimously against the rezoning and annexation request to the applause of many attendees.

The council also:

– Heard a proposal from Tim Coombs to create guidelines for a Historic Preservation Advisory Board, with the council deciding to table the proposal until next month.

– Voted to remove five trees from the front of the Hahira Library due to their impeding lines of sight at nearby intersections.

– Approved Downtown Development Coordinator Brandi Dame to attend Georgia’s Downtown Conference.

– Adopted new state fire code regulations.

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