Planners to decide on gems and metal ordinance

COVINGTON - The Covington Planning Commission will decide whether to amend the city's new zoning ordinance to include dealers in precious metals and gems as an approved use.

An ordinance presented to the City Council on Jan. 5 would have regulated businesses of this type, but Planning and Zoning Director Shelley Stiebling advised the council not to approve it.

"I hesitate to recommend that you go through with this ordinance being that the use is not allowed in the city," Stiebling said.

Allowed uses were recently expanded when a new zoning ordinance was implemented in June.

"My department has been keeping track, and we have not found one use completely not allowed except this one," Stiebling said.

The Planning and Zoning Department had received inquiries from Steve Lloyd, who sought to open a wholesale business dealing in metals and gems. Such businesses typically purchase gold and other metals and then sell them to companies that melt them down and process them, Stiebling said.

Police Chief Stacey Cotton said state law regulates dealers of precious gems and metals, and it is good practice to have a local ordinance on the books, as well. He said the Police Department was asked to research the legal aspect, and he was not aware the use was not allowed in the city.

The City Council agreed to let the Planning Commission decide whether to add the use to the ordinance.

"We're not willing at this point to amend this ordinance after spending a year and a half to pass this," Mayor Kim Carter said.

The Planning Commission will take up the matter at its Feb. 10 meeting.

In other news, a traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Washington Street and Turner Lake Road. The signal will be paid for by the Georgia Department of Transportation, with the city to cover installation costs.

The light is expected to help with traffic backup that occurs at peak times on Turner Lake Road and will be important later this year when a roundabout is being constructed at Turner Lake Road and Clark Street, according to a memo sent by Public Services Director Bill Meecham to the mayor and council.

Finally, the city council reappointed for another year Ed Crudup as city attorney, David Strickland as Municipal Court judge and Dr. Henry Patton as city physician. They also appointed Jerry Capes as Municipal Court judge emeritus.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.