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Selig Enterprises abandons plans for downtown Athens development

And yes, I'm more than a little [filtered word] that it is left up to the general citizenry to delve into the forces that enabled Selig to sail forward in the face of so much community opposition. A couple of open records requests to ACC TPW & Planning & a few phone calls to the GRC is all it took to reveal some pretty significant hopscotching in the process.... Anyone who wants to really know what goes on behind the scenes in ACC gov must rely on our weekly alternative entertainment rag--kudos to Flagpole for stepping up to the plate once in a while. ... In the meantime, I've got work to do in the real world--try not choke on those sour grapes.... Hasta La Vista....

posted @ Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 12:18

Selig Enterprises abandons plans for downtown Athens development

I believe in fighting fire with fire--there's not enough of it coming from the left these days and we're all the worse for it: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/06/right-stupidity-spr... @chockfullaquestions:

posted @ Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 12:08

Selig Enterprises abandons plans for downtown Athens development

I believe in fighting fire with fire--there's not enough of it coming from the left these days and we're all the worse for it: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/06/right-stupidity-spr... @chockfullaquestions:

posted @ Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 12:06

Selig Enterprises abandons plans for downtown Athens development

@Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass: ....and I wish there was a surly cretinous shut-in emoticon. I do my research--perhaps instead if hurling petty insults, you should do yours....

posted @ Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 11:25

Selig Enterprises abandons plans for downtown Athens development

Makes one wonder if GDOT actually did their job & put the kibosh on Selig's plan to reroute 2 lanes of state highway into a dog-leg down an alley and up a steep hill? (It's no coincidence that the broker for the property--who also happens to come from a family in the oil biz & understandably has no interest in promoting auto-free transportation options) got appointed by Paul Broun to the state Board of Transportation just a month before Selig's plans were finalized). Or perhaps it was the State Historic Preservation Office stepping in to protect a National Register Historic District and protected rail corridor? Or maybe it was the NEGA Regional Commission recognizing that Selig lied on their application in declaring that their project had no significant affect on official future transportation plans (while local GRC rep Nancy Denson kept her trap shut about the project's blatant violation of ACC's Future Transportation Corridors map). Or maybe the Feds got wind of the project's obliteration of the intended connective corridors between THREE federally funded transportation projects (the Multimodal Center, the Rail-Trail, and the Park & Ride) and the region's largest employer (UGA). Or it could really just be the market weeding out what was a horribly crappy, widely loathed project from the beginning.

Whatever the case may be, let us not forget that it was the enabling tactics of Mayor Denson (who effectively killed the Blue Heron River District project by sitting on the feasibility study til ACC & EDF options on the property expired & held Selig's hand all along the way) and ACC Planning staff who suppressed public input opportunities, thwarted concerns from other departments & commissions (including Transportation & Public Works, Leisure Services, the Greenway Commission, & the Rail-Trail Committee), and withheld information from the Planning Commission and the Mayor & Commission who gave the project it's final go ahead.

Much blame also rests on Manager Alan Reddish & ACC attorney Bill Berryman whose tap-dancing explanations to poo-poo away the corridor issues were worthy of a DWTS championship. And let us not forget the nod-and-smile politics of so many of our commissioners who are ever eager to go along to get along rather than appear impolite at any moment to risk getting on Nancy's bad side & offend the delicate sensibilities of "the business community." Commissioners Bailey, Nesmith, & Maxwell are the only ones who saw through the charade and tried to buy time to let the stink rise to the surface, but Kelly Girtz's final hour bike lane "compromise" provided enough of a sugar-coated smokescreen to obscure the many very real problems.

The fact of the matter is, other than the abandoned corridors that allowed for the massive footprints of Selig's two ginormous kiddie-condo coated parking decks, Selig's project complied w/ ACC codes-- another one just like it (or worse) could be on its heels if the powers-that-be do not act immediately to actually heed adopted plans & policies, implement new regulations dictating reduced density, a greenway overly zone guiding appropriately scaled and buffered development along these alt-transport corridors to encourage their use, reduced parking maximums, and historic & natural landmark protections. Everyone out there who hated Selig's plan should barrage the M&C now and continually with pleas to prevent a similar fiasco from ever happening again. And show them you really mean it by showing your faces every first Tuesday wielding pitchforks at the podium 'til they follow through!

posted @ Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 06:28

Mayor Nancy Denson's new initiative seeks to promote volunteerism in Athens

Speak of the devil... This excellent article just popped up in my feed. It eloquently summarizes the need for policy change to improve the lives of those "less fortunate" & touches upon much of what is flawed about ACC's current approach to economic development. In summary: "The trickle-down argument for gentrification ignores the fact that the "very fortunate" invariably seek to bend municipal priorities and local land uses towards their own needs, usually to the detriment of their less powerful neighbors.... But there are many policies which, even in the short term, would produce a more democratic and egalitarian city: more and better public housing, rent control and regulation, community control of neighborhood space, expanding social welfare, strengthening progressive labor unions, and empowering social movements that embody the political ambitions of the urban working classes and poor.... The opposite of gentrification isn't urban decay; it's the democratization of urban space."
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/10/gentrification-not-...

posted @ Monday, October 14, 2013 - 14:36

Mayor Nancy Denson's new initiative seeks to promote volunteerism in Athens

@melmarino: Sorry to report I'm unable to attend tonight's event due to a regularly scheduled meeting of one of the several boards I sit on for organizations that advocate for policy initiatives to make our community a better place for all. If not for the "activist" voices in our democracy, the powers-that-be would have no impetus to implement policies that positively impact the powerless and would cater solely to the whims of the well-to-do and corporate overlords who have their ears. People on the streets can work their fingers to the bone to help those in need, but without real systemic change, the problems will always remain. Activism and action are symbiotic organisms...

posted @ Monday, October 14, 2013 - 14:10

Mayor Nancy Denson's new initiative seeks to promote volunteerism in Athens

The mayor's shout-out to Occupy in this is the most ridiculously hilarious pile o' panderous poo she may have ever uttered.... Maybe instead of simply issuing a "call to service," the mayor could instead implement some actual policies to improve the lives of the less fortunate: Better bus service? (instead she cut it); Better benefits for retirees? (cut those too); Incentives to help start local biz? (instead she created a Economic Development Dept focused on attracting corporations, put it under the Manager's care, & gave him a $40k raise); Initiatives to control skyrocketing housing costs? (Instead she leads the fight to keep a Land Trust home out of her 'hood, snuggles with out-of-town developers, welcomes luxury high-rises, and thwarts efforts to protect in-town neighborhoods to the inevitable displacement of our poorest residents who will soon be forced to decaying ghettos of abandoned kiddie condos on the outskirts of town far away from jobs & services & far away from the disapproving eyes of the mayor & her ilk...)

posted @ Monday, October 14, 2013 - 12:29

Georgia near bottom in new health ranking

In the meantime, Guvner Shady Deal & asshat GA reps like Paul Broun's & pals are doing everything in their power to block implementation of The Affordable Care Act. The depths of evil to which these Rethuglicans continually plunge is astounding. It's comforting to know that most of them identify as Christian (though they seem to have overlooked all that stuff Jesus said about healing the sick & feeding the hungry)--this means they must believe in the existence of Hell and are certain to spend all eternity burning in its searing flames. The fact that these monsters keep getting elected is a testament to the pervasiveness of ignorance in this state--an ignorance that is so often magnificently exhibited in the cretinous comments in this very forum....

posted @ Monday, September 23, 2013 - 07:48

Public passes on hearing for new Athens voting precincts

Maybe no one showed up because no one knew these hearings were happening. I'm a diligent follower of all local issues & this is the first I've heard of changed precincts & public input.... Now that I look at it, it's pretty shady as many polling places are not centralized within the district. For example, District 3A'ss polling place is at the far bottom corner of a long, skinny district which makes it quite a haul for voters in concentrated populations off Newton Bridge Road. It also eliminates a particularly high-turnout polling place at the center of a highly populated urban area that saw a great deal of walk-up voters.... Check it out: http://www.athensclarkecounty.com/documentcenter/view/15205

posted @ Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 10:34

Public passes on hearing for new Athens voting precincts

Maybe no one showed up because no one knew these hearings were happening. I'm a diligent follower of all local issues & this is the first I've heard of changed precincts & public input.... Now that I look at it, it's pretty shady as many polling places are not centralized within the district. For example, District 3A'ss polling place is at the far bottom corner of a long, skinny district which makes it quite a haul for voters in concentrated populations off Newton Bridge Road. It also elminates a particularly high-turnout polling place at the center of a highly populated urban area that saw a great deal of walk-up voters.... Check it out: http://www.athensclarkecounty.com/documentcenter/view/15205

posted @ Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 10:34

New development on Epps Bridge draws store owner away from longtime Athens location

Once again the ABH offers up a half-assed & slanted story in failing to mention that this Christian bookstore is surrounded by some of the most liberal progressive neighborhoods in possibly the entire South. It seems like the tone of the story is all "Athens sucks & businesses are better off in Oconee...." But the reality is Avid Bookstore is thriving just around the corner, while the Jeebus peddlers hafta head to the white-bread 'burbs to find a customer. I'm betting the real story is a more viable business is hungry for this location--perhaps another hip cafe or punky salon. If it weren't just across the street from the elementary school, it would be a great location for a neighborhood pub....

posted @ Monday, August 12, 2013 - 13:11

Galis: 'Build it and they will come' isn't real-world development strategy

Thnks to ACC Planning's failure to uphold code-mandated future transportation plans, every resident of the downtown area will continue to have to hoof it up those hills into campus. In accommodating Selig's every whim, ACC abandoned 2 future public right-of-ways that would've provided level direct access to North and East Campus for pedestrians, cyclists, buses, and cars--keeping them all away from those uphill chugs & zig-zags through downtown. The great irony is that on that intended bike/ped level public right-of-way will sit a private 6 story parking deck.

Each and every one of those students living in these new downtown area developments is provided with a parking spot right outside their doors--all the easier to add to the gridlock rather than choose to walk or bike those inclines. ACC sold out a future of sustainable transportation for the entire Athens community so a carpetbagging private corporation could achieve maximum profitability in squeezing in a few dozen more parking spaces and bedrooms for overprivileged suburban students who will only reside in our fair city for a few years a piece. These students and Selig's executives are the only ones who will truly benefit from this project, and few of thes are eligible to vote in ACC elections.

Those big ugly buildings that are about to start rising up on Oconee Hill & blocking the cityscape of our once-quaint burg should remind us all each and every day exactly who allowed this to happen. This will not bode well at the ballot box for many among our current leadership.

posted @ Friday, July 12, 2013 - 07:31

Athens-Clarke commission OKs permit for Selig development

Athens, your local government has failed you! ACC had clear code-mandated tools to make this a better project, and instead of enforcing them in the early Planning stages, input was ignored from knowledgable players on the Rail-trail committee, Greenway commission, and within Leisure Services to allow Selig's wildest dreams to come true, screwing over Athens sustainable transportation plans in the process. Commissioner Herod's failure to call a tail-trail meeting at any point throughout this 2-yr Planning process is obstructionist, at best. And commisdioner Girtz's final hour scurry to come up with better bike accommodations in a project which he was called upon for input early-on just highlights his spinelessness in negotiations.

An even slightly narrower interpretation of the rules on the books would've forced Selig to scale down their footprints just a bit, limiting their ability to include so, so many parking spaces and allowing for some pedestrian permeability through the vast expanse of the site--the project's 2 biggest problems when issues of scale, historic preservation, and general ugliness are thrown out the window. Nesmith, Bailey, & Maxwell's attempts to table this in the hopes of squeezing another goody or two out of the mess were valiant, but too little, too late.

ACC Planning & attorneys jumped through hoops to defend the legality of the failed process, the last thing they wanted was for this to sit for another 30 days to allow more dirt to rise to the surface. And no doubt the pressure was on from Selig, if enough Planning improprieties can be proven and this project had to be sent back for redesign, Selig could turn to legal action, a threat they'd made early on when rezoning entered the conversation. Considering Mike Morris's bullying tactics that verged on blackmail, I wouldn't put it past them. Unless opponents borrow from the enemy and embrace similar tactics, this project is a done deal and this time next year, when those big ugly buildings have obliterated the skyline, voters will have a very palpable reminder of who allowed this to happen.

posted @ Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 07:51

Vote looms for Selig project

More than a week after this controversy came to light & the ABH FINALLY gets a reporter on it! But as expected the story is notably one-sided in favor of Selig's plan & ACC's inexplicable compulsion to ram this project through not only in spite of myriad objections from dedicated citizens, but in spite of clear violations of code. Egregious miscarriages if procedure & policy have occurred within Planning to allow the complete abandonment of the rail-trail concept as well as the full concept for a complete corridor to funnel buses, and inbound traffic directly to UGA to avoid the downtown bottleneck.

No matter what lengths are made to accommodate bikes on Hickory, these paths no longer follow the level course of the historic rail bed and can in no way be considered a rail-trail. This constitutes an obliteration of a concept on the Future Transportation Corridor Concept map, not an interpretation of it. The purpose if the map is clearly outlined in ACC code section 9-26 and there are clear public procedures for accommodating changes to the concepts, these have not been followed. To not follow this code to the letter leaves ACC open to legal action.

Commissioners possess a tremendous tool for making this a better project. In calling for the proper enforcement of the TCC, they can instigate a complete redesign, or they can allow the site plan but mandate a few more design changes beyond bike accommodations to make it a more acceptable project: incorporate some historic preservation, knock a story or two off here & there so as not to completely obliterate the skyline, add additional pedestrian entry along Oconee St.--any number of additional relatively minor changes can be called for to make it better--doesn't Athens deserve as much?

If commissioners allow this project to pass as-is, they have lost the good faith of their constituents in accommodation of the whims of a private corporation over the concerns of the citizenry. To allow this project to move forward as-is is to hand over a publicly dedicated right-of-way to a private corporation for private profitability.

The great irony is, where ACC policy mandates a dedicated bike/pedestrian trail will sit a gigantic 6-story parking deck. And for the thousands of citizens that sit in traffic in its shadow everyday, that gigantic parking deck will serve as a perpetually looming reminder of who allowed this to happen. This will not bode well as the ballot box.

posted @ Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 01:43

The Editor's Desk: Selig zoning request draws commentary

FINALLY! A full week after the improprieties in Selig's plan have come to light and the ABH gets around to mentioning it. Except the best they can do is run a few carefully-chosen excerpts from random letters--how 'bout doing your job as a newspaper and putting an investigative reporter on it to get to the bottom of things? The fact of the matter is, there are serious code violations in Selig’s plan and ACC Planning should be taking extreme heat for letting this project get this far while witholding significant information from the public, Planning commissioners, and the mayor & commission.

Egregious miscarriages of policy & procedure and obscured violations of code have occurred in the Planning process for Selig Enterprises massive downtown development. This not about gigantic, ugly buildings whose primary function is to house 1000 students while obscuring 1500 parking spaces, these are perfectly acceptable under ACC code--a clear indication that we need better codes. And it is not about a piddling request for a few ground-floor apartments.

Selig redesigned their initial plan not because everyone hated Walmart, but because adopted ACC policy mandates that an extension of Hickory St. run through the property to connect East Broad and Oconee St. and continue on to UGA campus at Thomas St. Policy also mandates that a rail-trail spur from the Firefly trailhead cut across the property and also continue on to cross Oconee St. & adjoin UGA campus at the rail line near the Thomas/Mitchell St. intersection.

These corridors are depicted on the Future Transportation Corridors Concept map that is official policy as referenced in ACC Code Section 9-29. A detailed version of this map conveniently was removed from ACC's website early last year when it became widely known that their initial plan would have to accommodate it. The current online version is extremely low-res & unreadable when zoomed in to parcels of less then a couple dozen square miles. One must visit Planning and fork over 8 bucks to obtain a proper zoomed-in view of this property.

To accommodate these requirements, Selig’s new plan combines both the Hickory St. extension (depicted on the TCC map as a gentle arc across the west end of the property crossing Oconee at the RR overpass) and the rail-trail (depicted on the TCC map as an offshoot from the Firefly trailhead that crosses Oconee just below Hodgson Oil). Their new road is a right-angle cut-through that parallels East Broad & the Firefly Trail. This road would be privately owned by Selig Enterprises, an unprecedented situation in our community that raises serious public access and right-of-way issues.
ACC Planning believes Selig’s plan meets the concept of the TCC map in that it includes a zig-zag ramp access from Firefly across a plaza to meet their Hickory St. extension (a road accommodating sidewalks, on-street parking, bike lanes, two-way auto traffic, and turning lanes). Occasionally, Planning recommends TCC map amendments to be approved by the Mayor & Commission. Several such amendments were approved just a few weeks ago & went into effect June 6, reconfigurations of the rail-trail & Hickory St. corridors were not among them. If Selig’s plan is to move forward as-is, Planning must first submit recommended TCC map amendments to the Mayor & Commission to be voted on in a public input forum.
In their drastic reinterpretation of the concept of an auto-free, level bike-ped corridor into campus, ACC Planning did not consult with official advisory bodies that have been making decisions on the rail-trail project since its inception over a decade ago. The Greenway Commission was not asked for input and commissioner Andy Herod has not called a meeting of the Rail-Trail committee in over two years. $12 million in federal and local SPLOST funds are dedicated to the completion of this trail, yet no mention of input from the SPLOST project manager is included in Planning’s report on Selig’s plan. The abandonment of the fully connective two-corridor concept to accommodate a dog-legged Hickory St. cut-through whose primary function is to funnel cars in and out of the property is also in violation of multiple points of ACC’s official Complete Streets Policy. And the abandonment of the rail-trail spur to make way for Selig's unfathomably large parking deck structure is essentially turning public land over to a private corporation for private profitability. Why do we adopt such policies if we are not going to hold to them whenever possible?

ACC Planning neglects to address the fact that Selig’s Hickory St. crosses Oconee at a location that neither meets nor approximates the location of either the Hickory St. extension nor the rail-trail spur as indicated on the TCC map. Instead it crosses at an elevation some 20-30ft lower than either of those crossings. In order for the full concept of a corridor into UGA campus to be fulfilled, it would necessitate some 900 ft of road extension, intense grading & berming, and navigation of steep cliff-like topography to achieve the concept of a level, bike-friendly direct access to campus. This completed corridor also would run diagonally through a large UGA property over which ACC has no clear authority to demand right-of-way, especially since it is not included on the TCC map. There is little chance the corridor will ever be properly completed if it is allowed to cross at this location. And if it ever is, it will be at tremendous additional taxpayer expense, either via ACC or UGA.

The Hickory St. corridor depicted on the TCC map is meant to connect the Multimodal Transportation Center to Thomas St., providing a direct access route to the Jackson St. bus bays. It also would help funnel inbound Oconee St. traffic directly onto Thomas St. to access the North Campus parking deck & East Campus Rd. Without such a connection buses & cars will continue to chug up Oconee & East Broad streets to bottleneck at the five-way intersection with Thomas and then zig-zag through downtown to find left turns onto campus.

Ongoing apartment tower construction is bringing several thousand additional student residents to live in and around this area (downtown, E. Broad, Carr’s Hill, East Athens, North Ave.) and each is allotted on-site parking. With no level, direct access to campus, they are given little incentive to choose to walk or bike and are more likely to hop in their conveniently parked cars for quick trips into campus or across downtown—a likelihood that will only exacerbate current clogged traffic conditions. The proper completion of the Hickory St. extension and the rail-trail campus connection are essential to relieving current and future transportation problems.

Selig’s project not only brings many new residents downtown, but it includes 1500 parking spaces to bring that many more cars downtown. We need to make it as easy as possible for downtown residents to walk, bike, and take the bus whenever possible, Selig’s plan makes these options all the more difficult in its violation of established procedure, policy, and code. Tuesday night’s vote is to approve a binding site plan, if it passes any additional violations that reveal themselves along the way are already approved and the taxpayers are on the hook for accommodating the resulting problems. If commissioners allow this project to move forward as-is, they are rubber-stamping a project carried forward via serious procedural and policy violations and are setting a dangerous precedent for future projects all over Athens. If there is even a shadow of suggestion of procedural or policy impropriety, this project must be sent back, lest the people of Athens lose all faith in our local government.

posted @ Monday, July 1, 2013 - 00:50

Letter to A-CC officials opposing Selig

Keeping with the characteristic limited intellectual capacity of the cretinous majority of ABH commentators, It's obvious that Mr. Snodgrass did not read this letter to completion to recognize that a viable alternative is presented. This configuration would not only maintain the concept of a level-connective corridor. But it would avoid the RR overpass and free up 3 very expensive properties for development. The only right-of-way to obtain would be a couple hundred feet of driveway along the edge of a parking lot. The back end of that property would then have street frontage & be available for further development. This alternative plan puts THREE valuable properties on the tax rolls AND allows for level completion of the corridor. That Planning overlooked this is inexcusable! @Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass:

posted @ Sunday, June 30, 2013 - 13:37

Chick-fil-A president deletes gay marriage remark

An serious government scandal is going down in our own community and this petulant crap gets the most attention on this site?!!! Good thing I'm reading this online 'cause otherwise I'd be wiping my behind with this miserable excuse for a daily fish wrapper.

Egregious miscarriages of policy & procedure and obscured violations of code have occurred in the Planning process for Selig Enterprises massive downtown development. This not about gigantic, ugly buildings whose primary function is to house 1000 students while obscuring 1500 parking spaces, these are perfectly acceptable under ACC code--a clear indication that we need better codes.

Selig redesigned their initial plan not because everyone hated Walmart, but because adopted ACC policy mandates that an extension of Hickory St. run through the property to connect East Broad and Oconee St. and continue on to UGA campus at Thomas St. Policy also mandates that a rail-trail spur from the Firefly trailhead cut across the property and also continue on to cross Oconee St. & adjoin UGA campus at the rail line near the Thomas/Mitchell St. intersection. These corridors are depicted on the Future Transportation Corridors Concept map that is official policy as referenced in ACC Code Section 9-29. This map conveniently disappeared from ACC's website early last year when it became clear that Selig's initial plan required a through road and trail. An extremely low-res, unreadable version has recently reappeared: http://www.athensclarkecounty.com/documentcenter/view/13557

To accommodate these requirements, Selig’s new plan combines both the Hickory St. extension (depicted on the TCC map as a gentle arc across the west end of the property crossing Oconee at the RR overpass) and the rail-trail (depicted on the TCC map as an offshoot from the Firefly trailhead that crosses Oconee just below Hodgson Oil). Their new road is a right-angle cut-through that parallels East Broad & the Firefly Trail. This road would be privately owned by Selig Enterprises, an unprecedented situation in our community that raises serious public access and right-of-way issues.

ACC Planning believes Selig’s plan meets the concept of the TCC map in that it includes a zig-zag ramp access from Firefly across a plaza to meet their Hickory St. extension (a road accommodating sidewalks, on-street parking, bike lanes, two-way auto traffic, and turning lanes). Occasionally, Planning recommends TCC map amendments to be approved by the Mayor & Commission. Several such amendments were approved just a few weeks ago & went into effect June 6, reconfigurations of the rail-trail & Hickory St. corridors were not among them. If Selig’s plan is to move forward as-is, Planning must first submit recommended TCC map amendments to the Mayor & Commission to be voted on in a public input forum.

In their drastic reinterpretation of the concept of an auto-free, level bike-ped corridor into campus, ACC Planning did not consult with official advisory bodies that have been making decisions on the rail-trail project since its inception over a decade ago. The Greenway Commission was not asked for input and commissioner Andy Herod has not called a meeting of the Rail-Trail committee in over two years. $12 million in federal and local SPLOST funds are dedicated to the completion of this trail, yet no mention of input from the SPLOST project manager is included in Planning’s report on Selig’s plan.
ACC Planning neglects to address the fact that Selig’s Hickory St. crosses Oconee at a location that neither meets nor approximates the location of either the Hickory St. extension nor the rail-trail spur as indicated on the TCC map. Instead it crosses at an elevation some 20-30ft lower than either of those crossings. In order for the full concept of a corridor into UGA campus to be fulfilled, it would necessitate some 900 ft of road extension, intense grading & berming, and navigation of steep cliff-like topography to achieve the concept of a level, bike-friendly direct access to campus. This completed corridor also runs diagonally through a large UGA property over which ACC has no clear authority to demand right-of-way, especially since it is not included on the TCC map. There is little chance the corridor will ever be properly completed if it is allowed to cross at this location. And if it ever is, it will be at tremendous additional taxpayer expense, either via ACC or UGA.

The Hickory St. corridor depicted on the TCC map is meant to connect the Multimodal Transportation Center to Thomas St., providing a direct access route to the Jackson St. bus bays. It also would help funnel inbound Oconee St. traffic directly onto Thomas St. to access the North Campus parking deck & East Campus Rd. Without such a connection buses & cars will continue to chug up Oconee & East Broad streets to bottleneck at the five-way intersection with Thomas and then zig-zag through downtown to find left turns onto campus.

Ongoing apartment tower construction is bringing several thousand additional student residents to live in and around this area (downtown, E. Broad, Carr’s Hill, East Athens, North Ave.) and each is allotted on-site parking. With no level, direct access to campus, they are given little incentive to choose to walk or bike and are more likely to hop in their conveniently parked cars for quick trips into campus or across downtown—a likelihood that will only exacerbate current clogged traffic conditions. The proper completion of the Hickory St. extension and the rail-trail campus connection are essential to relieving current and future transportation problems.

Selig’s project not only brings many new residents downtown, but it includes 1500 parking spaces to bring that many more cars downtown. We need to make it as easy as possible for downtown residents to walk, bike, and take the bus whenever possible, Selig’s plan makes these options all the more difficult in its violation of established procedure, policy, and code.

posted @ Friday, June 28, 2013 - 11:36

Gallant: Farm 255 and Five Star finished, but don't panic, it's just business

Chalk 5 Star's demise up to a greedy landlord. The building owner, Irwin Adaheff (owner of Masada Leather--wonder if he'd be able to afford his own rent if he didn't already own the building?) bought the place in '94 for the below-market price of $200k. Wanna bet he got a higher rent offer from some crappy corporate franchise? With 3000+ rich kiddos w/ suburban tastes and endless access to mom & dad's pockets moving in downtown in the coming months, those funky old storefronts are looking mighty good to the suits in HQ. This same guy owns at least 9 buildings downtown, time to start watching our fave joints drop like flies to the corporate overlords who are poised to take over our ever-less-eclectic downtown. Let's start a pool to guess which suburban generic chain dive is moving in--Quizno's? More froyo? Maybe we'll get really lucky & end up w/ a KenTacoHut! Just another reminder to buy local or say goodbye to local biz...

posted @ Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 00:44

Clarke school chief must reconsider decision to allow controversial book

SHAME on the board members who bend to the will of the parents of ONE child! Their motives are more about racism than censorship as no doubt they are disturbed by material that might elicit in their lily white progeny some inkling of empathy for poor, brown folk. Right-wing nut jobs like thes are terrified of rapidly changing demographics and as they see younger generations grow up among vastly diverse peers & embrace the inevitably multi-culti American society, they become increasingly desperate to hold on to a boring & bigoted past.

posted @ Friday, June 14, 2013 - 04:56

Parents want book banned in Clarke schools

Something tells me these parents are targeting a little salty language as their reasons for objecting to this tome when it appears the real concern might be that a tale of hardship among Mexican immigrants might possibly elicit some empathy for brown people in their lily white child. Right-wing nut jobs such as these are terrified of the rapidly changing demographics of Ga (and all of America, for that matter) as well as the fact that younger generations are coming up in school in incredibly racially diverse peer groups and recognize that we're all the same on the inside. This brouhaha is all about racism, not censorship....

posted @ Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 00:15

Ground-floor apartments OK'd for Selig project; Athens-Clarke commissioners pitch re-examing downtown zoning codes

So it's now full speed ahead for Selig Enterprises' unfathomably ginormous parking deck/kiddie condo compound at downtown's doorstep. The most telling thing about the other night's Planning Commission meeting was that every commissioner admitted to hating the project but they had to let it fly since even the crappiest parts of it comply w/ code. This means our code sucks & we must fight to change it. It was also not-so-subtly insinuated that Selig has bribed us with a pretty plaza to Firefly Trail & if denied, they'll take it back and make the project even crappier than it already is. Buncha bullies--hope they're proud of themselves for all their con & thuggery, not to mention the heinous monstrosity they're about to drop on Athens' doorstep. And despite the Selig's claims of public input, Thursday night was the only public meeting in which open input has been taken on this project. You can't spell Selig without LIES!!

Never forget that the past 18 mos of hoo-hah would've never been necessary had Mayor Nancy Denson not killed the public-private Blue Heron River District project that would've mandated public input & accountability in developing this area. Instead the Mayor sat on feasability reports til deadlines passed and then called an illegal Economic Development Foundation meeting to can the director & open the doors for her buddies Jamie Boswell & Joann Chitty to seal this deal. The Mayor practically laid her head upon Chitty's shoulder during Thursday night's meeting. So much favoritism has been shown to this private corporation that it can be only a matter of time before the ADDA hands over downtown parking duties to Selig subsidiary AAA Parking to further line these cronies' pockets.

As the broker for the A&D property, Boswell kept the Mayor firmly in the loop on Selig's intentions and she would've been giddy to have seen a Walmart descend upon downtown. The minutes from that closed-door, Blue Heron-killing EDF meeting have her calling Boswell out by name in announcing Selig's intentions. And Denson & Chitty go way back as Nancy was Tax Commissioner when Chitty was UGA Real Estate Foundation head. Every time UGA buys property, it comes off ACC's tax rolls--plenty of opportunity to get to know one another real well in those deals. It's pretty clear that the ground for this deal was laid many years ago. Ex-mayor Heidi Davison's embrace of Blue Heron on her way out the door was a pesky little stumbling block that Denson quashed real good as soon as she settled into office. Some of our commissioners saw this coming & could've spoken out to change the code, but they didn't. Come to think of it, some of those same commissioners had a heavy hand in the rezoning of Carr's Hill that paved the way for the horror that's popped up there.

Oh, and by the way, remember, Matt Forshee, the guy who was supposed to head up Blue Heron before Denson decided squashed the project? Well he went on to head up of Fayette Co Economic Development Authority where he quickly brought a major movie studio to the community: http://www.ajc.com/news/business/proposed-film-studio-complex-in-fayette....

In a decade or two, there will be no more rainforests left to rape in the Amazon, no more minerals to extract from the pits of Africa, and no more fossil fuels to power those bulldozers, much less those oh-so-necessary automobiles intended for the 1500 spots in Selilg's two 6-story, block-sized decks. Caterpillar will have collapsed or move on to the newest, cheapest labor pool while Selig's brick and tan, stucco-frosted styrofoam dorm towers will be little more than crumbling husks to remind us of the follies of this sorely misguided era....

posted @ Saturday, June 8, 2013 - 01:09

Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation presents Historic Preservation Awards

Tater, your grammar is a testament to your intellect....

posted @ Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 01:16

Clarke Central students enjoy last day of school

Apparently 2 out of 3 CCHS students will be summering in Europe... Srsly, ABH??? How 'bout getting a more demographically accurate sampling of quotes. In a county w/ a statistically high poverty rate, I'm betting most of these kids will be desperately searching for any crapass minimum wage service industry job that hasn't been snatched up by the throngs of UGA students who stick around to use Athens as a playground through the summer months...

posted @ Saturday, May 18, 2013 - 18:37

Elder: Self-defense is God-given right

Doubt Christ himself would agree. See Luke 22: 47-53. If God granted the right to self-defense, why did His son chastise Peter for practicing it?

posted @ Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 01:10

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  • Andrew
    Shearer

    Blog: Watching movies by myself

    Summary:  I'm not saying it's lonely to be a movie critic, but we often find ourselves seated alone in an empty theatre when we're watching new stuff. I know people who say they won't go see anything unless they have at least one other person to go with, but I've always enjoyed having the place to myself. I'm not saying it's lonely to be a movie critic, but we often find ourselves seated alone in an empty theatre when we're watching new stuff. I know people who say they won't go see anything unless they have at least one other person to go with, but I've always enjoyed having the place to myself. read more

  • Jim
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    No cartoons on racism

    As you might imagine, the vast majority of the editorial cartoons available these days for publication through the syndicate which supplies cartoons to the Athens Banner-Herald/OnlineAthens are addressing the situation in Ferguson, Mo., where the fatal shooting of a black teen by a white police officer has touched off a number of demonstrations -- some peaceful, but many not at all peaceful, with tear gas fired by police officers and gunshots fired by some protester. read more

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