Neighbors attend city commission meeting to opposed Pleasant Valley Preserve development

Over 70 people attended the Rome City Commission meeting Monday to oppose the proposed 1,018-home Pleasant Valley Preserve subdivision.

The Rome City Commission unanimously voted to annex and rezone a portion of land for a proposed 1,018-home subdivision in Silver Creek.

The overall proposal, Pleasant Valley Preserve, would cover 264 undeveloped acres off Pleasant Valley Road — roughly bounded by Hampton Boulevard, Tom Bing Road and Boyd Valley Road. The plans sparked concerted opposition from residents in the area.

However, most of the assembled properties were already zoned for the development. The portion the city annexed Monday was 70 acres at 572 and 431 Pleasant Valley Road.

Some 70-plus people attended the meeting, overflowing the seating area in the commission chambers during the hearing.

Denton West, the VP of development and acquisition for JTG Holdings, briefly outlined the proposed development before a number of people rose to speak in opposition. The development would be built in phases, West said, which could take up to 10 years to build out.

Numerous speakers brought up concerns ranging from significant traffic increases to the potential for school overcrowding. Overall, they felt the proper infrastructure wasn’t in place to support the development.

“Before the annexation is passed, we citizens would like to know what the plans are for these roads,” said Hampton Preserve resident Chris Barbieri.

However, commissioners felt that there wasn’t much recourse for residents who opposed the plan.

Rome-Floyd Senior Planner Brice Wood, answering a question from City Commissioner Mark Cochran, stated that there are no minimum lot sizes for the current zoning of the land, agricultural residential.

“At the end of the day, the only difference in annexing this in or not annexing this in is whether or not it’s in the city ... regardless of what we do,” Cochran said.

After unanimously voting to annex the 70 acres, the commission then heard a recommendation to rezone the property to suburban residential, which has stricter development standards.

Countering the rezoning request was Doug Haney, an attorney who said he’s representing two bordering neighborhoods, Hampton Preserve and Hampton East.

Since plans haven’t been submitted, Haney said, no one is sure what will happen with that property. He argued that the residents in each neighborhood have signed agreements through their homeowners associations, as well as pay annual dues, to maintain the property in the area to create a “peaceful atmosphere.”

He asked commissioners to respect the atmosphere of the neighborhood and to restrict JTG to the agreements the neighborhoods have already put in place.

The rezoning passed 5-2, with the caveat that the developer follow stipulations agreed upon with the neighborhoods, alongside the implementation of recommendation of a traffic study conducted by the developer.

Open container

After essentially no complaints concerning during a trial period for open container alcohol downtown that expires on Oct. 31, commissioners voted to make the open container ordinance permanent.

Wendy Davis, Rome city commissioner

Wendy Davis

City Commissioner Wendy Davis motioned to make the ordinance a permanent, seconded by Commissioner Mark Cochran. The measure passed 5-2, Commissioners Sundai Stevenson and Bojo voted against.

There were two options on the table: extending the trial period through Dec. 31 or making it permanent.

“Over the last three months we’ve basically done all the due diligence we could possibly do. ... We’re happy to report that over the trial period we’ve had no incidents whatsoever,” Quick said.

The Point

Commissioners unanimously approved the rezoning for a development that they hope will spur additional growth in a corridor of the city that’s long sparked complaints about seedy hotels and drug activity.

“The Point” as proposed by 33 Holdings would cover nine parcels from the point of Martha Berry Boulevard and North Fifth Avenue down to West 11th Street. Developers sought Urban Mixed Use zoning to build a complex of housing, offices and retail shops.

The Point

33 Holdings is proposing building 210 multi-family apartments and condos alongside a small amount of retail space and a parking deck on 3.8 acres at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Martha Berry Boulevard.

Corey Oldknow, the chief acquisitions officer for 33 Holdings, described the proposed 200-apartment development as a “modern live work play community” that could “change the dynamics of the city.”

The project area is in a Tax Allocation District as well as a designated federal opportunity zone, essentially meaning developers will get tax incentives to build there.

Stacey Brown, the founder of Chicken Salad Chick, was among those who spoke in favor of the project. She told commissioners she invested a great deal in her restaurant on Martha Berry Boulevard and wanted to help make that area grow. The drugs, prostitution and other activities in the corridor have affected the business in many ways, she said. This project is one that will help revive the area.

“Help us add to the desirability of our community,” Brown said.

Commissioners, including Bill Collins and Quick, spoke highly of the development plans. Mayor Craig McDaniel, who brokered portions of the deal, recused himself for that portion of the meeting.

Doss, Jamie (Rome city commissioner)

Jamie Doss

“We’re going to take one of the worst areas of our city and turn it into one of the best areas of our city,” Doss said.

Other business

Commissioners also approved an ordinance that requires new commercial construction have Knox Boxes — a system that allows firefighters electronic access to the property in case of an after-hours emergency. The ordinance isn’t retroactive and current businesses can decide whether to install a Knox Box.

Rome-Floyd Fire Marshal Mary Catherine Chewning told commissioners the measure will save lives, money and businesses.

As to a change of the citywide curfew for minors to 10 p.m. from 11 p.m., commissioners chose to continue to table that ordinance. The proposed change has been tabled since Sept. 13. The Public Safety Committee will take up the proposal at its next meeting.

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