With modernized planning and zoning, consultants with Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative said the city of Rome could look just as friendly and community oriented as it truly is.

Speaking to a small crowd of people in Rome City Auditorium, consultant Brian Wright went over some of the ideas and concepts derived from a five-day session of meeting with locals.

Some of the words people most often used in discussions included walkable, mixed use, under-served communities, conservation, environmentally sensitive areas and public art.

Wright said many participants desired to see a variety of housing for different age groups and income levels across the city and county, such as tiny homes and rowhouses.

Preferences are beginning to change around the country, he said, and not everyone is looking for the typical suburban house.

Gateways, which Wright described as “the welcome mat” to the city, were another big topic among citizens. A few examples of gateways into Rome include Turner McCall Boulevard and Ga. 53.

“People wanted to emphasize and improve these gateways,” Wright said. “It’s people’s first impressions of your city.”

“Right now, zoning is a real challenge. Some of the places around the city and county that people have said they loved the most can’t be rebuilt based on current zoning.”

During his presentation, Wright went over a few ways Rome and Floyd County could rezone and build key areas, such as Turner McCall Boulevard, South Rome and Martha Berry Boulevard.

Going back to the gateway concept, Wright and consultants proposed a redesign of the area around the Turner McCall bridge to make it look more welcoming — with parking lots moved to the rear of buildings, and more streetscapes and sidewalks lining the roads.

In South Rome, they showed a redesign with a park and community garden at its center. They also included a variety of housing, including tiny homes, around this area.

Wright said they came up with a number of concepts after speaking to community members, but the Unified Land Development Code must be modernized to allow them.

Now that Planapalooza is wrapped up, the consultants will begin the rewrite. Sometime in the winter, they plan to present the draft in an open house forum to get local feedback.

They’ll then return in Spring 2022 for a final plan presentation.

People can still submit comments on the TPUDC website for the Rome-Floyd County code at UnifiedRfcCode.com/get-involved/.

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