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Covington will vote on Sunday alcohol

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Residents in the city of Covington will have the chance to vote on whether alcohol should be sold on Sundays.

The City Council passed a resolution on Monday that will put a referendum before voters on Nov. 8 to decide whether to permit package sales of alcohol on Sundays within the city limits.

"We need to pass this resolution in order for the issue to go to the voters," said Mayor Kim Carter.

The resolution passed with a 4-1 vote. Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams was the only one to vote against the measure. Councilwoman Ocie Franklin was not present at Monday's meeting.

The ballot question will be fairly straightforward: "Shall the governing authority of the City of Covington be authorized to permit and regulate package sales by retailers of malt beverages, wine and distilled spirits on Sundays between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m." Voters will select "yes" or "no."

The Georgia Legislature passed a bill this session allowing cities and counties to hold referendums to sell alcohol in their jurisdictions on Sundays.

In other news, the City Council unanimously approved rezoning the property at 2131 Stone Mountain St. from Neighborhood Residential 2 to Town Center Mixed Use.

The property, which is owned by Robert R. Fowler III, was most recently used as a group home operated by Project Adventure, but has remained vacant since August when Project Adventure closed.

According to rezoning application documents, Fowler has made over the last 10 years approximately $250,000 in improvements and upgrades to the property. As a result of these improvements made for a group home, it has been difficult to find another residential tenant, and group homes are prohibited in NR-2 without a special use permit, said Charles Tuller, who represented Fowler in this application.

Senior Planner Scott Gaither told the council that the property is surrounded by property already zoned TCM or by condemned houses that either have been or will be demolished.

* Covington Transportation Manager Billy Skinner reported that paving over the unused Norfolk Southern rail lines within the city has begun. As a result, he requested the council approve creating a four-way stop at the Thompson Avenue and Mill Street intersection. He said drivers are already accustomed to stopping for the now-paved rail lines, but the intersection now appears to be a throughway for both directions. A four-way stop there would improve safety conditions. The council approved the request.

* Skinner also reported that the Georgia Department of Transportation is prepared to review a traffic study to determine whether a traffic light will be placed on U.S. Highway 278 in front of the shopping center where Ingles is now located and that was the former site of Walmart. Skinner said Ingles has agreed to fund the traffic signals and the engineering study, but the city will be required to cover the electric bills should the signal be constructed. The council unanimously approved paying the utilities in the event the signal is warranted.