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“Small bar” ordinance voted down

Monday, Mar. 13, 2023–8:12 p.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

By a 5 to 3 vote, the Rome City Commission has denied an ordinance that would have established a small bar category for alcohol licenses.

A similar ordinance failed to pass by one vote in January.

The change recommended by the Rome Alcohol Control Commission seeks to eliminate the 50-50 food-to-drink ratio for liquor sales with some restrictions.

One change from the original recommendation was made prior to the vote with the maximum square footage being lowered from 1,800 to 1,000. That’s 1,400 when you count outdoor seating, down from 2,200 in the original recommendation. However, it made no difference in the final vote to deny.

The ‘yes’ votes were from Commissioners Mark Cochran, Craig McDaniel, and Bill Collins.

“For a long time, the alcohol ordinances that have been in place have really kind of handcuffed a lot of small businesses,” Collins said. “If you take a look around, the only ones enjoying the opportunity of selling alcoholic beverages are some of the franchise stores, some of the larger businesses.”

Jamie Doss was one of the “no” votes.

“I really think that instead of changing our ordinance, I’m in favor of looking at a case-by-case basis,” Doss said. “To completely eliminate the restaurant model is a tremendous change with unknown results.”

Commissioners Jim Bojo, Elana Beeman, Bonny Askew, and Randy Quick also voted against the ordinance.

Contract for reverse osmosis water treatment facility approved

The Rome City Commission has approved a $585,000 contract for phase one of the reverse osmosis water treatment project with Archer Western as the construction manager at risk.

Phase one will include the development of a guaranteed maximum price, which should be known in July or August.

Rome began the process of converting its raw water intake filtering facility for “reverse osmosis” treatment in 2016 following health advisories issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding PFAS.

The substances are widely used to make carpets and other items stain resistant and have been linked to numerous adverse health impacts and break down very slowly, so they persist in the environment for a long time.

The reverse osmosis facility was originally planned for the current water treatment site on Blossom Hill. However, it was determined that it would be less risky and expensive to locate the facility behind the Department of Family and Children Services building on Riverside Parkway.