After allowing open containers of alcohol during special events for many years, Smyrna passed an ordinance Monday night allowing the practice to take place year-round.
City officials cited a trend of other cities passing similar ordinances, and said the measure had the support of Smyrna Chief of Police David Lee. Language in the ordinance says neighboring cities have seen “few negative impacts” with their own measures.
“This amendment to the City Code of Ordinances would allow individuals to move easily between restaurants and enjoy the communal areas created around commercial centers without the violation of state or municipal law,” reads the ordinance.
Beverages would need to be purchased from restaurants in the Market Village, such as Zucca, Atkins Park and The Corner Taqueria, and could only be carried in the “restaurant district” stretching from Atlanta Road to City Hall, and bordered on the north and south by the restaurants themselves.
Drinks must be in paper or plastic cups, are restricted to one per person and can be no more than 16 ounces in size. The measure passed 6-0 with no debate. Former councilman Doug Stoner has resigned to run for Georgia’s Public Service Commission, leaving Ward 6 vacant for the time being and the council with just six members.
Familiar Housing Fight
Monday night’s council meeting also saw the latest episode in a familiar density debate. The council approved 5-1, with Susan Wilkinson opposed, a rezoning to allow 15 houses to be built at 3328 and 3366 Old Concord Road.
Right now there are just two homes on the 4.2-acre tract, located near Concord Road, meaning there will be a much higher density of 3.57 units per acre once developer Epic Homes LLC completes the new houses.
Requests for higher-density zoning have come before the city council frequently lately, and usually votes to allow it. The council also often gets an earful about the issue from neighbors, which happened again Monday night as local resident Kaye Klapper raised concerns about clear cutting and wildlife habitat.
“In the past 10 years development promoted by this council has allowed developers to change R-15 and R-20 zoning to RAD-Conditional zoning at an alarming rate,” Klapper said. “This change has resulted in clear cutting of each proposed development, destruction of trees and greenspace, and homes that are placed less than 10 feet apart.”
Klapper also predicted Smyrna would see environmental issues as a result, drawing analogy to the recent flooding in Houston that some said was exacerbated by overdevelopment. She received applause from the audience at the end of her comments.
Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon defended the city’s tree ordinance, which calls for any trees cut down to be replaced elsewhere, and said that trees are perishable in any case.
“Trees are like humans, they don’t live forever,” he said.
Smyrna Community Development Director Ken Suddreth also spoke about the tree ordinance. In the end the council voted unanimously to annex the property into the city, and 5-1 in favor of the rezoning.