The Rome City Commission is poised Monday to follow a recommendation by the Alcohol Control Commission to put a vote on the “brunch bill” on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.
If approved, restaurants with pouring permits would be able to serve alcoholic drinks as early as 11 a.m. on Sundays. The current start-time is 12:30 p.m. The vote would not affect package sales.
This would be the second reading of the ordinance amendment at the 6:30 meeting at City Hall, 601 Broad St.
Included on Monday’s agenda is a “Sunday Brunch Bill Referendum Resolution” that would call for a special election allowing voters to decide. The resolution calls for the city to bear the cost of the special election by amending its budget. The Floyd Court Election Superintendent is requested to provide an estimate of the costs of such a referendum “at his earliest convenience.”
The Georgia General Assembly passed a law in 2018 that allows communities to decide for themselves if they’ll allow alcohol to be served with brunch.
Rome commissioners were preparing for a vote last year but discovered they’d have to pay for a separate election. The board opted to defer action until this year, when city elections are already scheduled.
Items that will get a first reading at Monday’s meeting include a School Zone Speed Detection Camera Ordinance, a rezoning request to allow for high-density traditional residential at 7 Sycamore St., and a small wireless facilities and antennas ordinance.
The idea of installing cameras in front of Rome High School and eventually in other school zones to catch speeders and generate instant tickets gained support from commissioners during a caucus last month.
RedSpeed USA had given a presentation on their automated enforcement system that is already being installed in two dozen other cities based on rules of use adopted by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The Georgia General Assembly approved the cameras in 2018.
Greg Parks with RedSpeed first went before the city’s public safety committee, which recommended the installation. A nine-hour test in front of Rome High turned up 274 motorists traveling at least 11 mph over the speed limit of 45 mph.
That’s the minimum speed a motorist could receive a school-zone camera ticket under the state law. Citations would go to the owner of the vehicle.
The system would be at no cost to taxpayers. RedSpeed would get 35% of the revenue from the $75 fines and Rome would get 65%, which must be used for public safety purposes.
Parks said it would take about 90 days to get the GDOT permit and install the cameras. There would be signage and flashing lights where the technology is in use and a 30-day warning period where violators would just get a notice in the mail.
During Monday’s caucus at 5 p.m., commissioners are expected to get a presentation on the Hotel Unified Land Development Code requiring all new hotels to obtain a special-use permit.
Rome Floyd Planning Director Artagus Newell mentioned during a Planning Commission meeting Sept. 5 that he expected to bring a proposed ordinance amendment to the October Planning Commission meeting. The proposal would require a developer to go through the planning process and a City Commission hearing to get a building permit.
Some planning commissioners expressed concerns that removing the right to build in certain zones would infringe on existing property rights. Lisa Smith, executive director if Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism will present the case in favor of the change at the caucus.
Both the 5 p.m. caucus and the 6:30 meeting are open to the public.