October 25, 2021–10:00 p.m.
The Rome City Commission has approved rezoning requests that are expected to change the face of Martha Berry Boulevard.
The Point, as the development is called, will be located in the triangle at the intersection of Martha Berry and North 5th Avenue.
Architect Bill Jones gave some details regarding the project.
“It consists of approximately 200 apartment units, 20,000 square feet of retail space, and an approximate 500 car parking facility,” he said. “We will have two streetscapes and then of course a very nice streetscape at the point there at North 5th Avenue and Martha Berry.”
A number of nearby business owners enthusiastically spoke in favor with one calling it a potential gateway to Downtown Rome.
Others, like Stacy Brown with Chicken Salad Chick, expressed excitement at the prospect of cleaning the area up.
“We have been affected in more ways than I care to mention by the illegal activities, drugs, and prostitution that is happening up the street,” she said. “This redevelopment is the perfect opportunity to revitalize an area, build residences close to downtown, and give more people reasons to choose Rome.”
No one spoke in opposition and the vote to approve was 8-0.
The commission also approved an annexation request for properties on Pleasant Valley Road.
The two parcels of just under 70 acres adjoin just around 200 more acres already in the city.
Developers are planning the construction of more than a thousand single-family residences on just over 264 acres at Pleasant Valley and Chulio Roads.
A number of residents of the area, like Whitney Ducaine, spoke against the annexation.
“The idea of dumping a 1,018 home development in the middle of an agricultural, rural developed area is completely absurd and asinine,” she said.
More than 500 residents signed a petition against the annexation citing concerns regarding increased traffic and the potential for overcrowding at East Central Elementary School.
Brian Ponder with the developer responded.
“Between development and the first house being built, we’re two-and-a-half to three years out,” he said. “So, there should be plenty of time for the school board. This is not a college, move-in-type ordeal where you move in all 1,000 homes at once. It is a seven to ten-year build-out.”
Some on the commission noted that the development could go forward with or without annexation.
However, annexation would give the city more oversight to make sure it is done right.
Following the annexation, the commission also approved a rezoning of the two parcels from Agricultural Residential to Suburban residential with certain stipulations with Commissioners Jamie Doss and Randy Quick voting “No.”