Community reacts to proposed ordinance to move 'head shops' from Abilene residential areas

Head shop neighbors speak out about problems

ABILENE, Texas - Lane Garrett has to clean up his yard everyday. He lives across the street from two head shops on South 14th Street, and he says the yard is constantly littered with packaging from synthetic drugs.

"It's not meant for that kind of thing," said Garrett. "It's a residential area. It's a place for kids, there's a grocery store and there are houses."

Monday, Abilene's Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the City Council pass a rezoning ordinance for the shops.

If it passes, they would have four months to relocate to heavy commercial or industrialized areas.

The businesses would not be allowed to set up shop within a certain distance from churches, schools, parks, hospitals or other head shops.

Currently, the majority of these shops are located in residential areas. Marie Claxon lives just blocks from two shops on S. 14th and she said moving them would make her feel safer.

"I don't want harm to come to people or children that live in this area," said Claxon. "I don't want people to get hurt. If people go there and all that you don't know what people are gonna do once they use that stuff."

Criminologist Lydia Long said the rezoning could help cut down on dangerous foot traffic.

"It's definitely a good first step. It makes the businesses aware that this is not a popular product and evidently they're very aware of it since they're not speaking up and defending themselves," said Long.

The owner of "The Smoke Shop," on S. 14th would not give a comment about the proposed ordinance Thursday.

A City Council meeting to discuss the proposed ordinance will be held June 13.

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