July 23, 2019–7:40 a.m.
Residents of Summerville Park packed City Hall Monday night to show their opposition to plans for an 81-room hotel on Martha Berry Boulevard near their neighborhood.
Eric McDowell with the Summerville Park Neighborhood Association spoke on behalf of the group.
“The neighbors of Summerville Park are here this evening to implore you to work with us and city administrators to prevent the construction of this hotel within our quiet community,” he said. “Potential must exist. Please help us find them. Please work with them to make them happen. Please help us to save Summerville Park.”
Many on the commission have expressed sympathy for the position of the residents.
However, legally, there may be little that can be done since the property is already zoned Community Commercial and a hotel is one of the permitted uses, according to the Unified Land Development Code.
Rome City Manager Sammy Rich said the applicant came before the board of adjustments, seeking relief on a sidewalk and that was turned down.
As a result, there was a lot of speculation that the property would not be able to be developed based on the size.
However, it was since learned that the property has increased the footprint.
“So theoretically, this hotel can be built on the property they have acquired based on the current zoning,” Rich said. “However, the reality is until those plans are developed and reviewed, we don’t know what that is going to look like.”
One possible solution going forward would be to have an outside group of investors buy the property and use it for another purpose.