The City Council held its first hearing in connection with a proposed charter amendment to change the city’s seven ward boundaries Monday night.
Although the census was taken in 2010, the city waited until after its 2011 election cycle was over before starting the process to avoid voter confusion in the 2011 and 2012 elections, City Clerk Susan Hiott said.
While Ward 1 will see little change in its voting age population — from 5,047 to 5,589 — Ward 7 will increase from 4,700 to 5,593.
Ward 7 Councilman Ron Fennell spoke about it during the meeting.
“I’m going to lose more than 5,000 residents,” he said. “Ward 7 will lose 40 percent of its voting population.”
The growth spurt came from annexation, Hiott said before the meeting.
“We annexed out that way,” Hiott said. “That was our growth area.”
The city’s total population changed from 41,894 to 51,602.
“Smyrna grew 25 percent from 2000 to 2010,” City Administrator Eric Taylor said during the regular meeting.
City Attorney Scott Cochran said at the pre-agenda meeting if there are changes based on public comment, the City Council can hold more than two hearings.
There were no speakers at the regular meeting either for or against the redistricting plan.
The next hearing and vote will be Dec. 17.
Also on Dec. 17 may be a pet grooming, boarding and breeding zoning ordinance for Light Industrial designated areas, which may be just for grooming when all is said and done.
Councilman Wade Lnenicka said he objected to the other activities because of the potential noise problems.
A noise ordinance amendment was put on hold until the Dec. 17 meeting.
It will create a mixed-use category to augment the current law’s residential, commercial and industrial zones and use a sliding scale of locations and times to regulate decibel level.
The mixed-use zone includes Village Green, which contains late-night eating and drinking establishments.
Lnenicka suggested the zone be further divided into a category regulating the noise level between 4 a.m. closing times and 7 a.m.
However, City Attorney Scott Cochran said it will be better to postpone action on the amendment rather than try to retool the language.
Councilman Charles Welch said any further adjustments can be made after the basic amendment is enacted, with which Cochran and Councilwoman Teri Anulewicz agreed.
“Let’s not let ‘perfect’ get in the way of ‘good,’” she said.
Mayor Max Bacon said the first line of defense for noise complaints will be the police department, plus some common sense on the part of residents moving into the award-winning downtown area.
“If someone buys residential property in the eye of a hurricane, if the wind starts blowing, don’t be surprised,” he said.
Fennel, who brought the measure forward, said his intent is to have a “defensible” ordinance for when noise complaints wind up in court.
In the meeting, the City Council voted 6-0 to table the amendment to Dec. 17.
Councilwoman Melleny Pritchett was out sick.