There is a new map proposal by the Athens Downtown Development Authority that would spread its jurisdiction from the North Oconee River on the east to The Bottleworks mixed-use development on the west, and from Dudley Park on the south to the Willow Street and Cleveland Avenue area on the north.
As reported in the Athens Banner-Herald, the ADDA has been working to increase the area it covers in downtown Athens, mostly because it collects the profits of a special 1-mill property tax levy on business and commercial properties within its jurisdiction.
Some property owners within the general boundaries of the map have decided to not be included in the ADDA’s jurisdiction. ADDA board member Chris Blackmon, who expressed disappointment that The Mark opted out of inclusion but, he added, the board’s opinion in soliciting property owners was that it was “important to make it the owners’ choice.”
Aside from The Mark, three other property owners — a commercial/office property on a half-acre on Ware Street, two townhomes on College Avenue, and a couple of residential properties off Finley Street, have formally rejected the ADDA’s efforts to expand its boundaries.
In exchange for the additional 1-mill property tax levy, property owners within the ADDA’s boundaries can get low-interest loans, government grants and other assistance.
Before the proposed new map gets to the legislature, it will need to be approved by Athens-Clarke County’s mayor and commission. State Rep. Spencer Frye, D-Athens, requested that the mayor and commission give their formal OK to the new map before the proposal is forwarded to the local legislative delegation.
That delegation includes Rep. Regina Quick, R-Athens, an attorney with offices in downtown Athens who also sits on the ADDA board.
The mayor and commission could get their first look at the proposed ADDA map at their Feb. 21 agenda-setting meeting, and could vote on it at their March 7 meeting, after which it could move into the state legislative process.
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