East Rome re­zon­ings clear first hur­dle

City com­mis­sion­ers will have the fi­nal say on two of­fice-to-home con­ver­sions and a car re­pair shop.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Diane Wag­ner DWag­ner@RN-T.com

Two va­cant houses con­verted to of­fices in East Rome will be back on the mar­ket as homes, if the City Com­mis­sion fol­lows the rec­om­men­da­tion of its plan­ning re­view board.

The Rome-Floyd Plan­ning Com­mis­sion unan­i­mously backed on Thurs­day real es­tate agent Jonathan Har­ris’ ap­pli­ca­tions for re­zon­ings at 332 E. Sev­enth St. — next to Long John Sil­ver’s on Turner McCall Boule­vard — and 1109 E. Se­cond Ave. fronting Dean Av­enue.

“I’ve been try­ing to lease it as an of­fice but there’s lim­ited park­ing,” Har­ris said about the Sev­enth Street site. “I’ve had lit­er­ally hun­dreds of calls from peo­ple want­ing res­i­den­tial, so we want to get it back to its orig­i­nal use.”

As­so­ciate Plan­ner Brice Wood said he fielded nu­mer­ous calls from peo­ple in the Old East Rome neigh­bor­hood con­cerned about the pend­ing re­zon­ings. But they all sup­ported the change once they found out what Har­ris has in mind.

The prop­er­ties are cur­rently zoned for com­mu­nity com­mer­cial use and Har­ris is seek­ing neigh­bor- hood-of­fice- com­mer­cial zon­ing. Plan­ning Di­rec­tor Arta­gus Newell said the des­ig­na­tion would al­low flex­i­bil­ity.

“It could be used as an of­fice or a sin­gle-fam­ily home,” Newell said. “It’s a nice tran­si­tion be­tween ... com­mer­cial prop­er­ties and Old East Rome.”

Plan­ning Com­mis­sion mem­ber Lo­gan Boss said he re­calls the strug­gle to pro­tect the neigh­bor­hood from com­mer­cial en­croach­ment and ap­proves of the con­ver­sions. County Com­mis­sioner Wright Bagby, a for­mer mayor of Rome, also weighed in with a mem­ory of his grand­mother’s house be­fore it, and oth­ers, were con­demned to widen Turner McCall.

“I know the East Rome area is glad to see these com­mer­cial prop­er­ties be­ing turned back into res­i­den­tial. It should have been NOC to be­gin with,” he said.

A bit farther down Dean Av­enue, next to the Pick O Deli restau­rant, a tire shop also got back­ing to ex­pand into au­to­mo­tive re­pair.

“When you have a suc­cess­ful busi­ness, peo­ple start ask­ing, ‘Can you do this? Can you do that?’” said Howard Gray, rep­re­sent­ing

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the prop­erty owner.

The plan­ning com­mis­sion unan­i­mously rec­om­mended a re­zon­ing to heavy com­mer­cial from com­mu­nity com­mer­cial use — but not be­fore a dis­cus­sion about stor­ing the cars away from the road.

“That’s a cor­ri­dor coming into Rome. We work hard to get those cleaned up,” said mem­ber Tom Ben­nett.

Newell said the Uni­fied Land De­vel­op­ment Code has some re­stric­tions in place and Gray is work­ing with Build­ing Of­fi­cial Howard Gibson on the mat­ter.

The Rome City Com­mis­sion will make the fi­nal de­ci­sion on all three re­zon­ings fol­low­ing pub­lic hear­ings at its Nov. 26 meet­ing.

Arta­gus Newell

Lo­gan Boss

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