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Proposed alcohol open-consumption ordinance voted down

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City of Rome

The Rome City Commission rejected a proposed ordinance creating an open-consumption alcohol district Monday night, following impassioned pleas from residents and property owners on both sides Monday night.

In the end, the vote was one to seven against.

Voting against the district were Commissioners Bill Collins, Evie McNiece, Milton Slack, Bill Irmscher, Craig McDaniel, Jamie Doss and Sundai Stevenson.

Commissioner Sue Hamler Lee was out with a broken foot but sent a statement indicating her opposition.

The ordinance would have allowed visitors to walk around with a cup of alcohol until 11 p.m. in the area between Broad Street and West Third Street on the other side of the Oostanaula River. Bridgepoint Plaza and the Town Green were part of the proposed district.

The Downtown Development Authority backed the move — using strict-ly regulated to-go cups purchased from local restaurants — and sent its chairman, Steven McDowell, to speak in favor.

Nearly a dozen citizens spoke against the proposed ordinance during a lengthy period set aside for comments before the vote.

Police department officials had previously weighed in against the dis-trict with concerns that it would require a greater police presence.

“It’s not conducive for Rome, Georgia, and certainly not for our man-power,” Assistant Police Chief Debbie Burnett said in an earlier discussion Monday.

The downtown open-consumption district was among several potential changes the Alcohol Control Commission was charged with studying this year to make the city more business-friendly.

The ACC took public input for several months before sending the pro-posed ordinance to the elected board for action.

Still on its list for consideration are the elimination of the 50/50 food-to-drink sales ratio for establishments that serve liquor and a change to the fee structure for pouring and package licenses.

The ACC meets next at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 in City Hall, 601 Broad St.