City to look at its alcohol ordinance

COVINGTON -- The City Council will take another look at its alcohol ordinance following an application for a liquor license by someone who had a DUI conviction 18 years ago.

Planning Director Randy Vinson recently told the council that there is a statute of limitations of five years on such convictions for employees of establishments that serve alcohol, but there is none for owners/license applicants. Therefore, under the current ordinance, the applicant would not be eligible for a license.

The council agreed the ordinance should be revisited.

"I think he's probably learned his lesson after 18 years," said Mayor Kim Carter, who asked for information on what other cities allow before the council makes a decision.

In other news, the council agreed to abandon a portion of Lee Street between Conyers and Reynolds streets to accommodate a 60-unit affordable senior housing complex in Harristown that is expected to be under construction by June.

Affordable Equity Partners Inc. is developing the facility, which represents a $9 million private investment.

Jim Alexander, attorney for Affordable Equity Partners, said there are no residences along that portion of the street. He said signs could be placed notifying the public of the upcoming closure.

"It's for a worthy cause that I'm sure is going to benefit not only Harristown but the city of Covington," Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams said.

Finally, the City Council agreed not to take over maintenance of the ramps at Interstate 20 exit 90 west.

Connie Waller, executive director of Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful, wrote a letter to the council in March asking the city to take over the work that is currently the responsibility of the Georgia Department of Transportation but is not being done.

"We can't just continue to pick up where GDOT leaves off," Carter said. "At some point, we can't continue when the state has a shortfall ... I agree it's ugly. But we don't want to get our mow crew killed either, trying to make something pretty."

City Manager Steve Horton said there's "every type of bottle known to man" thrown out at the exit, but it's hazardous for road crews to get out there.

Horton said the city is already maintaining a portion of the exit area.

"I don't have a lot of desire to do more than we're doing out there," he said.