Council approved converting two regular parking spaces in front of Jeweler on the Square, on the southwest side of the Marietta Square, into one handicapped spot. The conversion was requested by the jewelry store owner.
There are 145 parking spaces on the Square, six of which are reserved as handicapped spaces. Those six spaces are on all sides of the Square except the west side. Since one handicapped space equals two regular parking spaces, the change creates 144 parking spaces on the Square, of which seven will now be reserved for handicapped parking.
Council also approved shifting a handicapped space presently located in front of Councilman Philip Goldstein's now-razed Cuthbertson building on North Park Square to be in front of Shillings Restaurant.
Mayor Steve Tumlin made the request after noticing that Goldstein had the space blocked off for 22 days during the demolition of the building, accusing Goldstein of having a "Marie Antoinette 'Let them eat cake'" attitude regarding the handicapped. By blocking of the space, Goldstein's message was to "Roll around in your wheelchair. We don't care about you," Tumlin said.
Since Goldstein would likely close off the handicapped space in the future when he begins constructing a new building on the site, a date he has not announced, the space is better served in front of Shillings where it won't be closed off again, Tumlin said.
Council approved the parking space changes in a 6-0-1 vote with Goldstein abstaining.
Council also adopted its legislative agenda, which includes requesting the creation of a statewide program to monitor controlled prescription drugs. Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn said currently it's possible in Georgia to visit multiple doctors and obtain multiple prescriptions for such painkillers as OxyContin, which the abuser then uses or sells on the black market. A statewide database that tracks such drugs would curb abuse, he said.
Council members Johnny Sinclair and Philip Goldstein voted against that measure.
"It just makes me uncomfortable to have the government creating a database on what prescriptions people use," Sinclair said. "I don't want to be a part of a decision where the public gets comfortable with the government watching over them because then the next generation will be comfortable with that, and God knows what they'll ask to do next."
In a 5-2 vote with Goldstein and Annette Lewis opposing, Council approved a request from Patrick Lanzo to change the zoning of his 0.2-acre property located at the corner of South Marietta Parkway and Lockheed Avenue from commercial to residential. Lanzo wants to use the house on the property as a rental unit.
Goldstein said he opposed the change because, "I don't think going back to residential is in the best thing for the city," noting conflicts arise when residential and commercially zoned parcels are next to each other.
Responded Sinclair: "I agree. It may not be the best for the city, but it's not our property."