Medical office planned for former car lot, city signs off on ELOST bonds

May 21, 2019

Rome City Commissioners unanimously approved a rezoning Monday that clears the way for a medical office at 1100 Martha Berry Blvd., across from the Cottis Inn.

“That’s going to be a plus for that area,” Commissioner Jamie Doss said.

The tract is currently vacant but used to house a car lot. Dr. Stephen LaPointe, a foot and ankle specialist, said he’s owned the parcel for about 20 years. He plans to build an office and move his practice there.

There was no opposition to the zoning change to Neighborhood Office Commercial from Heavy Commercial.

Likewise, no one contested the board’s amendments to the Unified Land Development Code to incorporate changes adopted earlier to the city’s sexually oriented business regulations.

The operations are limited to Light Industrial and Heavy Industrial zones. They also must be at least 750 feet away from any church, daycare, school or residential zone, and at least 300 feet from any establishment licensed to sell alcohol.

Commissioners also recognized Armuchee High School students Trace McClanahan and Rider Marr with citizenship awards, signed by Mayor Bill Collins and Police Chief Denise Downer-McKinney.

The teens saw a man trying to carjack a vehicle driven by an elderly woman on April 7 and stepped in to stop and hold him until police arrived.

Assistant Police Chief Debbie Burnett said some people react by pulling out their phones to video the crime for social media, “but that day, Trace and Ryder said ‘Not in our town.’” The crowd in the packed council chambers gave the two a standing ovation.

Commissioners also approved a resolution by the Rome Building Authority to issue up to $23.3 million in bonds to jump-start construction of Rome City Schools College and Career Academy and other projects.

The bonds are backed by proceeds from the education local option sales tax that went into effect April 1. Superintendent Lou Byars said they’re projected to net more than $30 million over the five-year collection period.

“We’re trying to get the check to us by the end of June,” he said.

Byars, Mayor Bill Collins and City Manager Sammy Rich make up the Building Authority. City Attorney Andy Davis said the closing date on the bond sale would be set following a hearing next month.

A fire alarm went off just after the board’s meeting started at 6:30 p.m. but the board continued its meeting while Rich went to check on the situation. He announced later that the alarm was set off by an accumulation of drywall dust from ongoing renovations at City Hall.

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