City DopeNews

City Dope

Case in Point: The Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission were set to accept, at their meeting Tuesday night, the Prince Avenue and Oak/Oconee corridor studies ACC planners have been working on for the past three years. Those include a recommendation that size limits for new medical office buildings in densely populated areas like Normaltown, which currently have none, be adopted to bring such developments into line with commercial office buildings, which are currently capped at 10,000 square feet. That’s something commissioners are likely to be very open to considering as the growth of the UGA Health Sciences Campus brings more and more commercial medical facilities to the area.

But they’ll be too late to have an effect on a honking big complex on the Prince Avenue site formerly occupied by Allen’s Bar and Grill, long the heart and soul of the Normaltown commercial strip. Plans were submitted last week for a five-level, 41,515-square-foot medical office building with a three-story parking deck backing up to Yonah Avenue, which will be a starkly contrasting replacement for that quintessential neighborhood institution. Nearby residents will be understandably displeased with this, and there will surely be a grassroots mobilization bent on stopping it.

Whatever the fate of such an effort might be, though, this is just another example of what people like Flagpole‘s Kevan Williams are talking about when they stress the urgency of planning with actual foresight and vision (as Kevan does in his Athens Rising column this very week), as opposed to reacting to one negatively impacting proposal after another to minimize the damage done to our fragile urban fabric. That’s what ACC’s elected officials and staff are trying to do with these corridor studies, as well as the downtown master plan they seem finally to be ready to find the money for. Maybe they’ll be in time to head off the next city block-sized colossus.

Nice Work: Belated congratulations are due to all the folks at Nuçi’s Space, whose hard work and tireless outreach paid off late last month when the nonprofit won an online-voting contest for a $25,000 grant from Southwest Airlines. That’s a lot more than a drop in the bucket for a small operation like Nuçi’s, and it will surely have a noticeable effect on the musicians’ resource center’s ability to provide services to the working and aspiring artists who are of such immense value to this community. Well done, and to everyone who helped with the campaign or cast a vote, thank you.

Bravo, Doug: “As an independent-minded Republican, I can accomplish a great deal for my constituents and my city,” Rep. Doug McKillip told the Athens Banner-Herald in defense of his party switch barely a month after being re-elected in 2010, unopposed, as a Democrat in solidly Democratic Athens. Now, in the wake of his second legislative session since his “principled” switch, we can tally up his accomplishments on our behalf: his support for Georgia Republicans’ continued decimation of public education through his backing of cuts to the HOPE Scholarship and pre-K programs; his vote for the Republicans’ ridiculously unconstitutional requirement of drug testing specifically for welfare recipients; his successful dismantling of the system of government the citizens of the county that elected him have chosen every time they have been asked to weigh in on the matter, under cover of another blatantly partisan fracturing of ACC on the state legislative map; and a draconian abortion bill that had to be choked back from compelling grieving women with pregnancies that are medically unviable to carry their fetuses to a cruelly fatal term anyway.

Doug says he “became a Christian” in 2009, a transformation that, among many other things, apparently changed his pro-choice position into one that is now as far to the right of that as possible. It seems like the “Christian” thing to do might have been to inform his constituents of that detail before they had re-elected him a good year later, inasmuch as people who ostentatiously trumpet their “Christianity” are generally holding themselves up as honorable and trustworthy.

But, hey, at least he got the bikes-on-sidewalks thing through, right? That’s something! Yep—something for all of us grateful Dems in our increasingly disenfranchised “blue dot” to remember to thank Doug for when we follow his lead and become Republicans—if only for a day—in the open primary this July.