LaGrange Holds First Reading and Public Hearing for Proposed Rezoning
Mayor Jim Thornton presented Sgt. Gary Atkins, of the LaGrange Fire Department, with a 25-year service award during the City Council meeting on Tuesday evening. Fire Chief John Brant advised that Atkins is always smiling and no one has a better attitude at the department. Atkins said he is always smiling because he gets to work his dream job of being a firefighter.
The City of LaGrange took the first steps to enact a new redistricting map necessitated by population changes in the 2020 Census.
The decennial census resulted in a determination that District 1 has about 4,000 more residents that District 2, so the districts needed to be readjusted to level out the populations. Based on the 2020 census, District 1 had 17,414 residents and District 2 had 13,444 residents.
In order to fill the unexpired council seat of the late LeGree McCamey, and to comply with the “one person, one vote” rule that voting districts have roughly equal population, the city needs redraw its districts.
Mayor Jim Thornton and council members Willie Edmondson and Nathan Gaskin, along with the City Attorney Jeff Todd and City Manager Meg Kelsey worked with the State of Georgia non-partisan legislative reapportionment office to modify the district maps to comply with the law with minimal changes.
The majority of the area added to District 2 would come from the easternmost area of LaGrange around the mall, but a second smaller portion would come from the Hillside community and around the area near the hospital.
A public hearing was required to enact the legislation via home rule, but only one person commented on the issue. Kevin Littlefield, Chair of the Troup County Democratic Party, noted that redistricting typically leaves “no one happy,” but under the circumstances the new map is the best that could be done.
The new map was presented to the both the Troup County Democratic and Republican Party, as well as the Troup County NAACP. Council Members advised that they received no complaints about the proposed map during the earlier work session.
The new map will allow for McCamey’s District 2 seat to be filled during a special election this fall.
The map is expected to be approved after a second reading on May 10.
In other business, the council approved an amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to lower the parking ratio requirements for large industrial and agricultural developments.
The UDO was modified so that developments with less than 500,000 square feet of floor area will only need one parking space per 1,500 square feet and those with more than 500,000 square feet will only need a half a space per 1,000 square feet.
Previously, the ordinance required two parking spaces per 1,000 square feet.
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