Residents who live near Rockmart Highway and Pollack Street attended a Rome City Commission meeting to voice concerns about property requested to be rezoned to industrial use from community commercial and residential.
About 40 residents protested the potential rezoning of 2101 Rockmart Highway.
Property owner Chris Mauer had selected two sites that he wished to move his business to; one in the Gateway Industrial Park at Parrish Drive, the other on Rockmart Highway, officials said.
Mauer makes soap and other cleaning substances. City Manager John Bennett said although Mauer does not operate like a plant since he mixes chemicals, the property must be zoned for heavy industrial use.
Bennett told commissioners it was always Mauer's intention to favor the Gateway site and withdraw his second application if that was approved.
The application was approved and Mauer withdrew the second application to loud applause from Rockmart Highway residents. The withdrawal was unanimously approved.
The next item on the agenda did not draw as many residents but prompted a great deal more discussion.
Three South Rome residents spoke against a zoning amendment that would allow Curtis Meat Packing Company to rezone its property to light industrial use from high-density traditional residential use.
A representative of the owner said the business had been zoned for heavy industrial use from its inception in 1950 until 2001.
I'm not asking for rezoning. I'm asking to correct a zoning error," said Curtis representative Jimmy Kelly.
Residents of the area cited concerns about increased noise and traffic.
The commission refused to rezone the properties by 5-3 votes, with Commissioners Wright Bagby, Bill Fricks and Jamie Doss voting against a motion to deny the rezoning. Bagby said the 2001 changing of the warehouses zoning to residential was "an obvious error."
Voting to keep the zoning the same were Commissioners Kim Canada, Duane Reid, Norman Skidmore, Bill Collins and Buzz Wachsteter.
The existing buildings can continue to operate under a grandfather clause but it cannot expand or change its use.
In other business:
Rome joined the Georgia Municipal Association in appealing a Public Service Commission ruling that orders Georgia Power Co. to cut in half the amount of franchise fees it bills to customers in unincorporated areas by 2009.
"We believe this is an injustice," said Bagby.
The collected franchise fees go to city governments for use of the public rights-of-way. Counties are barred by state law from assessing the charge.
The PSC ruling came in response to a challenge filed last year by Cobb County and the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.
The counties claimed the levy is unfair because customers in the unincorporated areas get no benefit from the fees, while city residents' payments go toward their government services.
Bennett said Rome receives around $2 million in franchise fees from Georgia Power each year.
Bennett said the study was to start in August but has been moved up in response to the city losing one of its largest customers with Mohawk Industries closing their dye plant.
The grants will be used to renovate three Broad Street properties.
Moondance LLC, which plans a $584,100 renovation to the building, is developing 228 Broad St. A $232,000 loan application is being submitted for the building, with developers reportedly planning to open "Honeymoon Bakery" in its front.
Officials said 324 and 326 Broad St. potentially will be developed with a $250,000 loan and a total project cost of $624,000.
The owners said they plan two street level commercial
components and two apartments above, one of which they
intend to live in.
Joan Brady, owner of Salon 103 in the Hawthorn Suites Building, is one of the developers.