Home City City Council appoints members to housing board; expressed support for new trail

City Council appoints members to housing board; expressed support for new trail

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The council also heard from a local mobile vendor, concerned with ordinances affecting his business, and approved changes to Athens City Code.

City Council appointed members to the Housing Appeals Board and expressed support of a new trail in Wayne National Forest at the body’s first November meeting Monday night.  

The council reinstated the Housing Appeals Board to hear and authorize appeals to city code enforcement. The board is comprised of five members representing five sectors: insurance, architecture, urban planning, a landlord and a current tenant.

Councilmember Pat McGee was supportive of the reinstated board, but indicated possible conflicts of interest among the members. Mayor Steve Patterson stressed that the board was curated following the legislation set forth by the council.

“There was consideration time put into identifying people who would be willing to serve on this board, following the letter of the law as it currently exists for the different sectors that should be represented,” Patterson said. “I think we accomplished that.”

The council approved a resolution to endorse the Bailey’s Mountain Bike Trail System of the Wayne National Forest. The 88-mile trail system will be one of the longest connected systems east of the Mississippi River.

“(This) is a very important project to the Wayne National Forest,” Dawn McCarthy, partnership and community engagement specialist for the Wayne National Forest, said. “We see that this has the potential to really increase tourism in the area and improve the quality of life.”

Patterson said he received postcards favoring the Bailey’s Mountain Bike Trail System.

“I’m hearing support all over the place,” he said.

The council also amended city code to align with state code, allowing people without proper licensing to install water heaters. The ordinance passed 6-1; Councilmember Jeffrey Risner dissented.

“One of the purposes of government is public safety and the safety of the citizens,” Risner said. “To take something that is potentially dangerous like a hot water heater, … install it wrong and it blows up, … which could be prevented by having someone who really knows how to install it, install it. I think changing the law this way is really ridiculous — retrograde, really.”

The council heard from Damon Krane, owner of Hot Potato Food Truck. Krane expressed concerns over a 2013 ordinance passed by the council that inhibits mobile vendors. He also mentioned the changes to Uptown parking — specifically the two-hour parking limit —  which will directly impact vendors.

In other business:

  • The council also established East Park Drive as a new public right-of-way.
  • The council also approved an extension the pilot residential parking permit.
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