Bobby Loggins will have to wait a little longer to build a pistol range at his Hodges business.
Greenwood County Council voted 5-2 against the motion to approve the zoning ordinance change the county’s planning commission proposed. Council members Melissa Spencer and Theo Lane voted for the ordinance.
Loggins applied in February for a change to the zoning ordinance that regulates gun ranges to allow him to build a pistol range behind his business, Guns and Ammo 123, to conduct pistol safety training and concealed weapons permit classes.
“This is only about safety,” Loggins told council Tuesday.
He said he wants to operate within the law on building the range.
Some residents from Hodges appeared before council and cited the March 24 Index-Journal story about Loggins’ proposal as the only way they were informed about the proposed gun range.
“I don’t think that this is the right thing to happen,” Fletcher Anderson, a nearby resident, said.
Anderson was concerned about the possibility of rifles or skeet shooting taking place near where his grandchildren play.
“That is the wrong place,” Anderson said.
Greenwood County Council Chairman Steve Brown clarified to Anderson that Loggins was not seeking to place a rifle or skeet range on the site of his business, only a pistol range with a high berm to prevent bullets from traveling beyond the range.
Brown said he would not be voting to approve the ordinance change as it was presented.
“I think it is incumbent upon this council to deny this ordinance,” Brown said.
If approved, the ordinance would have allowed businesses to apply for a variance to the ordinance governing gun ranges from the Board of Zoning Appeals. The gun range ordinance requires a pistol, rifle or skeet range to be at least 1 mile from a residential use property.
While Brown advocated for a denial of the ordinance, he did have a plan for how to accomplish what Loggins is intending to do.
Brown said he wants the county attorney to draft a standalone ordinance that would govern gun ranges and settle the issues that Loggins brought to the county’s attention.
“I know what you guys do and we need you in Greenwood,” Brown said. “We want to do it the right way.”
Lane, who represents the area where the range would be built, thanked Loggins for pushing this change.
“I appreciate that you brought this to us,” Lane said. “You have pushed this issue to the forefront.”
Lane said with the proper safeguards in place, pistol ranges should be allowed.
Council approved the allocation of $32,500 to be used for improvements to Legion Field and a new disc golf course. The proposal sought to use hospitality tax funds to pay for the project, but Brown said council might use other accounts — such as accommodations tax funds or the general fund — to pay for the improvements.
Council approved two rezoning requests on third reading. The body voted unanimously to rezone the site of the North Greenwood Industrial Park from rural development district to light industrial. The purpose of this rezoning was to get the property ready for potential industrial tenants, Greenwood County Economic Development Director James Bateman said at a previous council meeting.
Also approved was a rezoning of land on Morgan Road from rural development district to single family residential. This site will house a new fire station as part of the county’s fire master plan.