Melissa Link

Commissioner Melissa Link

Melissa Link represents District 2 on the ACC Commission, including Boulevard, Cobbham, Magnolia Street near the ACC Library and First through Fourth Streets in east Athens.

Link’s website
Link’s Facebook

ACC Commissioner, District 3 (2015-2022)
Managing Editor of Ethics & the Environment, UGA Department of Philosophy
Athens Cultural Affairs Commission (2011-2014)
Board of Directors, Georgia Climate Change Coalition
Advertorial Editor, Athens Banner-Herald (2000-02)
Writer, Calendar Editor, Flagpole magazine (1997-2000)
Boulevard Neighborhood Association (steering committee, Preservation/Environment chair)

East Carolina University, BA in Writing and Art History

Primary Ballots: Melissa Link almost exclusively takes Democratic primary ballots.
Donations: Donated to Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary of 2016.

Official member of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee.

Inferred Party: Democrat

Signature Policies

Historic Preservation: Link was instrumental in bringing historic protection to the west end of downtown in 2020.

Downtown Design Guidelines: During Nancy Denson’s tenure as mayor from 2010-2018, the Athens skyline saw significant change, especially downtown. Link urged the adoption of design guidelines to help shape the look and feel of Athens’ new buildings. Later, she helped develop guidelines for the west downtown historic district and for the north downtown redevelopment project.

Affordable Housing: As a citizen advocate and as commissioner, Link has pushed strongly for an inclusionary zoning policy to require that each new development include some affordable units. This policy was implemented in 2022. However, she has made other decisions that have frustrated affordable housing advocates, such as rejecting accessory dwelling units and denying an upzone at 125 Baxter Street that would have allowed for more multifamily housing.

Environmental Advocacy: Link has been a consistent advocate for renewable energy, such as the solar array at the Cedar Creek Water Treatment plant, and for banning plastic bags and styrofoam.

Interviews and Media

APN interviewed Link and her 2024 opponent on April 10:

Voting Record

Fund the Athens Homeless Coalition / Salvation Army: NO
Raise the Stormwater Fee: YES
Approve the Leisure Services Master Plan: YES
Regulate Short-Term Rentals: YES
Block Townhomes in Green Acres: YES
Approve Low-Barrier Homeless Shelter: YES
Overturn Restrictions on Public Comment: YES
Fund Athens Achieves: NO
Approve FY 2025 Budget: YES

(More information about 2024 votes.)

Restart the Eviction Prevention Program: YES
Recognize the Firefighter’s Union: YES
Approve the FY 2024 Budget: YES, NO
Ban Indoor Vaping: YES
Start Delinquency Prevention Initiative: YES
Place Public Safety Monitor in Auditor’s Office: YES
Accept Affordable Housing Investment Strategy: YES
Accept Plan to Reduce and Prevent Homelessness: YES
Reject Pet Registration: NO
Close First Step Encampment and Extend Hotel Voucher Program: NO

(More information about 2023 votes.)

Approve TSPLOST 2023 Project List: YES
Appoint Public Safety Oversight Board: YES
Approve American Rescue Plan Framework: YES
Raise Commissioner Salaries: YES
Adopt Inclusionary Zoning Policy: YES
Adopt Complete Streets Policy: YES
Approve FY 2023 Budget: YES
Celebrate Pride Month and Juneteenth: YES
Approve 1010 Oglethorpe Avenue: YES
Begin Prince Avenue Road Diet Pilot: YES
Decriminalize Cannabis: YES
Approve the 100% Clean Energy Plan: YES
Create Homelessness Plan: YES
Authorize Eminent Domain for Firefly Trail: YES
Change Planning Department Work Plan: YES
Recognize Firefighters’ Union: YES
Allow Accessory Dwelling Units: NO
Keep Three Lanes on Prince Avenue: YES

(More information about 2022 votes.)

Approve Apartments Near Airport: YES
Give Public Land for a New Parking Deck: NO
Approve Apartments off Lexington Road: YES
Approve Taser Contract: YES
Approve Linnentown Resolution: YES
Extend the Firefly Trail on original route: YES
Fund Athens Eats Together: YES
Delay Project Reset: NO
Approve FY 2022 Budget: YES
Approve Official Homeless Camp: YES
Establish Local Anti-Discrimination Protections: YES
Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for ACC Gov Employees: YES
Install Downtown Public Restroom: YES
Fund Non-Police Crisis Response Team: YES
Change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day: YES
Approve AFDC to Run Eviction Prevention Program: YES
Establish a Law Enforcement Oversight Board: YES
Establish a Human Relations Commission: YES
Accept JAG Grant: YES
Approve New Commission Districts: YES

(More information about 2021 votes.)

Accept Agreement with the Classic Center: NO
Support the Pre-Arrest Diversion Program: YES
Start a Community Energy Fund: YES
Declare State of Emergency, Banning Public Gatherings: YES
Order Athenians to Shelter in Place: YES
Urge Leniency for Rent and Mortgage Payments: YES
Refuse to Pay Attorney Bryan Sells: NO
Move Confederate Monument, Close College Square: YES
Establish Goal of Reducing Police Funding: YES
Adopt the FY 2021 Budget: YES
Make Masks Mandatory: YES
Resolve that Black lives matter: YES
Delay BLM resolution: YES
Start “parklet” pilot program: NO
Ban rentable scooters: YES
Establish West Downtown Historic District: YES
(More information about 2020 votes)

Reconsider Designating SPLOST Projects: YES
Accept $250,000 Settlement with Taylor Saulters: YES
FY2020 Goals and Objectives: YES
Designate SPLOST Projects: YES
Expand ACCPD Vehicle Program: YES
Adopt the 100% Athens Resolution: YES
End cash bail for local ordinance violations: YES
Delay Bike Lanes on Hancock Ave: NO
Remove Mention of Classic Center Arena from SPLOST 2020: YES
Approve Final SPLOST 2020 List: NO
Pass Along State Legislative Requests: YES
Reorganize Animal Control: YES
Approve the Neighborhood Leaders program: YES
(More information about 2019 votes)

Fund Cedar Creek Solar Array: YES
Move Work Sessions to City Hall: YES
Redesign Chase Street Corridor: NO
Update County Anti-Discrimination Policy: YES
Reject Concept Maps for Athens in Motion: NO
Adopt the Athens in Motion plan: YES
Protected Bike Lanes for Barnett Shoals: YES
Delay the Designation SPLOST Projects: YES
(More information about 2018 votes)

Temporary Halt to Downtown Development: YES
Consultant Selection for Bike / Ped Master Plan: YES
TSPLOST project list and referendum: YES
Re-zoning Mitchell Street: NO
(More information about 2017 votes)

“Road Diet” for Chase Street: YES
Allow Sale of Growlers in Brewpubs: YES
Fare-Free Bus Rides for K-12 Students: YES
Downtown Anti-Discrimination Ordinance and Civil Rights Committee: abstain
(More information about 2016 votes)

Allow Backyard Chickens: YES
Remove Wetland Buffers: NO
Award Jail Phone Contract to Securus Tech: NO
Allow Food Trucks: YES
Keep Domestic Partnership Benefits: YES
(More information about 2015 votes)

Election Results

2024 Local Election

Melissa Link — 68.5%
Jason Jacobs — 31.5%

2023 Special Election

Melissa Link – 63.4%
Kirrena Gallagher – 36.6%

2018 Local Election

Melissa Link – 70.4%
Tony Eubanks – 29.2%

2014 Local Election Runoff

Melissa Link – 54.0%
Rachel Watkins – 46.0%

2014 Local Election

Melissa Link – 37.4%
Rachel Watkins – 33.1%
Herb Gilmore — 20.7%
Dustin Kirby — 8.7%