2022 Local Ordinances

Ordinances / Resolutions of Note

  1. Approve TSPLOST 2023 Project List
  2. Appoint Public Safety Oversight Board
  3. Approve American Rescue Plan Framework
  4. Raise Commissioner Salaries
  5. Adopt Inclusionary Zoning Policy
  6. Adopt Complete Streets Policy
  7. Approve FY 2023 Budget
  8. Celebrate Pride Month and Juneteenth
  9. Approve 1010 Oglethorpe Avenue
  10. Begin Prince Avenue Road Diet Pilot
  11. Decriminalize Cannabis
  12. Approve the 100% Clean Energy Plan
  13. Create Homelessness Plan

Approve TSPLOST 2023 Project List

The commission approved the TSPLOST 2023 project list, setting up a referendum for May 24, 2022. If voters approve the referendum, sales taxes will stay at 8% for another five years, providing the funding for the approved projects.

Voting yes on approving the project list: Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, Houle, Wright, Edwards, Myers, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Myers

Passed on February 1, 2022

Appoint Public Safety Oversight Board

The commission appointed the first cohort of Athens residents to the Public Safety Oversight Board on Feburary 1, 2022. You can read more about that vote here.

Voting yes on appointing the oversight board: Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers, Hamby
Voting no: Wright
Abstaining: Thornton
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Link

Passed on February 1, 2022

Approve American Rescue Plan Framework

The commission approved a general framework for how to spend $57 million given to Athens as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan after many months of meetings and debates. Read more about this framework and commission vote here.

Voting yes on ARP framework: Parker, Link, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers
Voting no: Davenport, Wright, Thornton, Hamby
Abstaining: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Parker

Passed on March 1, 2022

Raise Commissioner Salaries

The commission voted to raise commissioner salaries from $19,100 (or $20,300 after certification) to $28,693 a year, which is the average salary for commissioners in comparable Georgia counties. Learn more about this issue here.

Voting yes on raising salaries: Parker, Link, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers
Voting no: Davenport, Wright, Thornton, Hamby
Abstaining: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Myers

Passed on March 1, 2022

Adopt Inclusionary Zoning Policy

The commission adopted an inclusionary zoning policy in an effort to encourage developers to include some affordable units in each new apartment complex they build. You can read more about this policy here.

Voting yes to adopt inclusionary zoning: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: none
Abstaining: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Houle

Passed on April 5, 2022

Adopt Complete Streets Policy

Athens has had a complete streets policy for a long time, meaning that the local government strives to build roads to accommodate the needs of all users, including pedestrians and cyclists. However, the old policy had no teeth and really didn’t mean much. The new policy will have a much greater impact on transportation planning in Athens. It also specifically mentions equity and the need for “affordable, convenient, fair and accessible modes of transportation for all people, including vulnerable populations.”

Voting yes to adopt the complete streets policy: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: none
Abstaining: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Thornton

Passed on June 7, 2022

Approve FY 2023 Budget

The FY 2023 budget reduces property tax rates by 0.6 mils, provides for living wages at the ACC Library, funds three new positions in the Housing and Community Development Department and gives extra money to the Sheriff’s Office for overtime but doesn’t equalize the pay of Sheriff’s Deputies with ACCPD officers as Sheriff John Q Williams asked for. Commissioner Allison Wright voted no because she wanted to further increase the property tax rate millage reduction to 0.75 mils.

Voting yes to approve the budget: Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: Wright
Abstaining: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Denson

Passed on June 7, 2022

Celebrate Pride Month and Juneteenth

The commission adopted resolutions to celebrate Athens Pride Month, Juneteenth and to raise a progress pride flag above City Hall for the first ever Pride march in downtown Athens on June 12, 2022. Commissioner Ovita Thornton voted no on both resolutions, worrying that a Confederate group might want to fly a flag as well (although the commission would not have to approve it) and that this gesture was mere symbolism. She was the only commissioner who voted no on either resolution.

Voting yes to celebrate Pride month: Davenport, Parker, Link, Wright, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers, Hamby
Voting no: Thornton
Abstaining: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Wright

Passed on June 7, 2022

Approve 1010 Oglethorpe Avenue

The commission approved a dense “cottage court” development on Oglethorpe Avenue next to the Knottingham neighborhood over the objections of nearby residents. These residents did not want the development because they worried it would increase traffic, raise their property values and cause parking problems. However, a traffic study showed it would increase traffic on Oglethorpe Avenue by only 1% and the ACC Tax Commissioner said that it would not raise their property values. The development also included some affordable units.

Voting yes to allow 1010 Oglethorpe Avenue: Parker, Link, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers,
Voting no: Davenport, Wright, Thornton, Hamby
Abstaining: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Denson

Passed on June 7, 2022

Begin Prince Avenue Road Diet Pilot

Commissioners voted to approve a 60-day pilot project to improve safety along Prince Avenue. The project involves removing one of the four travel lanes along the corridor from Milledge Avenue to Pulaski Street. The resulting three-lane road (with a center turn lane) will slow down traffic, improving safety for all users and providing space to include protected bike lanes. If the pilot is deemed successful, the commission will vote to approve the project on a permanent basis.

Voting yes to three-lane Prince Avenue: Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: none
Abstaining: none
Absent: Wright

Proposal made by: Myers

Passed on August 2, 2022

Decriminalize Cannabis

The commission voted 8-1 to decriminalize misdemeanor cannabis possession in Athens. Local police will now have the option to charge violators a $35 fine instead of using the harsher state law. However, state police will still make cannabis arrests. Thornton dissented, saying that she felt cannabis was a gateway to more dangerous drugs.

Voting yes to decriminalize cannabis: Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers, Hamby
Voting no: Thornton
Abstaining: none
Absent: Wright

Proposal made by: Edwards

Passed on August 2, 2022

Approve the 100% Clean Energy Plan

The commission approved a plan to reach 100% clean and renewable electricity for the local government by 2035 and 100% clean energy by 2050. The plan has a strong focus on equity and on relieving the burden of high energy prices that many Athenians face, particularly those with low incomes.

Voting yes to approve the clean energy plan: Davenport, Parker, Link, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers, Thornton, Hamby
Voting no: none
Abstaining: none
Absent: Wright

Proposal made by: Myers

Passed on August 2, 2022

Create Homelessness Plan

The commission voted to approve the creation of a long-term plan to address the problem of homelessness in an 8-1 vote. This plan will help coordinate the actions of multiple agencies and nonprofits in Athens as they continue their efforts to fight homelessness. It will also help the local government secure federal and state grants.

Commissioner Ovita Thornton opposed the creation of the plan because she thought it was unnecessary and a waste of funding (the plan would cost about $133,000). She would prefer “hard-core action” instead which she did not specify.

Voting yes to create a plan to address homelessness: Davenport, Link, Wright, Denson, Houle, Edwards, Myers, Hamby
Voting no: Thornton
Abstaining: none
Absent: none

Proposal made by: Myers

Passed on September 6, 2022