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Covington council members pass several ordinances

COVINGTON, Ga. – A number of ordinances were passed at the Feb. 19 city of Covington meeting with little deliberation amongst council members.

Among the ordinances passed were the impact fee ordinance – which is set to begin at the 50 percent mark across the board. This, for now, ends a months-long process of getting impact fees established in the city of Covington.

The impact fee ordinance will now charge potential developers a fee that will help offset the cost of capital improvements. It will also allow the city to keep better track of its growth levels and to ensure that public safety departments can keep up with the new developments, too. 

The vote to establish impact fees at the 50 percent mark passed 4-1, with councilwoman Kim Johnson opposing. Mayor pro-tem Susie Keck was absent from the meeting, and thus did not vote.

Three other ordinances were also passed during the meeting, including the city’s definition of density matters, the city’s animal control policy and the city’s electrical policies.

The final reading for all three passed unanimously.

One other item pertaining to ordinances that was not on the agenda was an amendment to the recently-passed open container ordinance.

Julie Freeman, owner of the @Local Coffee House and Study Lounge came before the board during the citizen comments section to explain why the open container ordinance is actually harming her business.

Freeman compared a regular coffee cup to the city approved cup and stated that the city approved cup could not hold beverages that are hotter than 160 degrees.

The local business owner said that not only are the city approved cups unsafe for warm alcoholic beverages, but they are costing her business money as well.

“We are asking for something, whether it’s at our cost, your cost, whatnot, so that we can serve alcohol,” Freeman said. “Because now that we’ve gone through all the steps, if someone wants anything remotely warm, we can’t serve. We’re hindered.”

Freeman’s suggestion was to allow businesses to place a city-approved sticker on a cup so it can accommodate hot drinks.

The council agreed, and voted to include Freeman’s request as an amendment to the open container ordinance. After minimal discussion, the first reading passed 5-0.

A number of other business was conducted in the meeting and moved as follows:

  • Minutes for the Feb. 5 council meeting (Approved 5-0).
  • An annexation of land from Newton County to the city of Covington that will allow an RV park to expand (Approved 5-0).
  • A vote to initiate a text amendment regarding special events in the city (Approved 5-0).
  • A vote to initiate a text amendment regarding use provisions regarding land uses and outdated code (Approved 5-0).
  • A designation of judge Melanie Bell as associate municipal judge (Approved 5-0).
  • A revision of the final plat in Ashford Park subdivision for lots 178, 179, 180 and 181 to clean up lot lines (Approved 5-0).
  • Discussion of the Floyd and East St. bulb out concept (Approved 5-0).
  • An ex post facto approval of Old Atlanta Highway. emergency water main repair work (Approved 5-0).
  • A bid awardance for a street sweeper from Giben model global M4 in the amount of $315,543 (Approved 5-0).
  • A contract agreement with Keck + Wood to begin the preliminary phase of the Turner Lake Road widening project in the amount of $724,433.56 (Approved 5-0).
  • A bid awardance to A&S paving in the amount of $316,000 for the removal and replacement of the northern culvert on Brookwood Circle (Approved 5-0).
  • Discussion of the revocable license agreement 1 (Approved 5-0).
  • An intergovernmental agreement with the city of Oxford regarding a de-annexation of seven parcels (Approved 5-0).
  • The nomination of 2024-25 Georgia Municipality Association District 5 offices – to which no one from Covington was nominated (Approved 5-0).