County to consider shooting range ordinance

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL Public hearings on ordinances regulating indoor and outdoor shooting ranges, and small-scale agribusiness operations, will be held Tuesday before the Coweta County Board of Commissioners. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the county commission chambers on Perry Street.
The commissioners will be considering quite a few items of business, including a unanimous recommendation by the courthouse citizens advisory committee to remove the three remaining magnolia trees on the grounds of the 1904 Coweta County Courthouse, an amendment to the county's purchasing procedures, and a request to purchase a new computer aided dispatch system for Coweta 911. Other public hearings will be held as well. They include a hearing on an amendment to the regulations for the Cedar Creek district to allow up to 60 percent impervious surface on conditional uses (but not residential uses), a hearing on several state-mandated changes to the county's soil erosion and sedimentation control ordinances, and a liquor license for the Brickhouse Tavern, 3150 Highway 34 East. Several months ago, the county commissioners asked the planning department to draw up ordinances regulating shooting ranges, and small-scale commercial farms. CDM Investment Partners had asked the county to create zoning regulations for shooting ranges, so that the company could have guidance in choosing the right location for a proposed range. Scott Tyson had asked the county to allow a small commercial organic farm operation, on less than the 20 acres the county requires for commercial farming. The planning department is recommending that shooting ranges be a conditional use in areas zoned industrial and light industrial. Conditional uses require a conditional use permit, granted by the county commission. Public hearings on conditional use permit applications are held before the Coweta Board of Zoning Appeals. The proposed ordinance includes several requirements for operations, best management practices, instructor certification, first aid kits, insurance, and the like, but no proposed minimum lot size or specified buffers. Ranges must meet all standards of "The NRA Range Source Book" published by the National Rifle Association. The ordinance states the requirements listed are only the minimum that may be applied to an application. Neighborhood Agribusiness would also be a conditional use, in residential and agricultural areas. A property must be at least five acres, and all agribusiness buildings must be set back a minimum of 100 feet from any property line and 200 feet from any off-site dwelling. No large-animal slaughter would be allowed. Unless otherwise noted in conditions, several development standards, including paved driveways and parking lots, building design criteria and landscaping requirements, would be waived for agribusinesses.

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