Thursday, June 26, 2008

Damned If They Didn’t Do It Again

At its voting session earlier this month, the Athens-Clarke County Commission passed yet another development moratorium (unanimously, of course). I must confess that I let this one slip by me, only realizing what had happened by reading about it in the current edition of Flagpole (seventh paragraph down).

Consistent with its hasty imposition of a staggering array of other development moratoria in recent years, this item was added to the Commission’s agenda with no public notice, in this case on the day of the voting session itself. I regard this practice, routine though it has come to be, as an affront to good government.

Reads the agenda item in its entirety (see item 37 under New Business on page 2):

Resolution establishing a temporary moratorium on the acceptance of applications for all demolition permits for buildings located within a proposed Reese Street historic district.

Of course, the idea of a moratorium was bandied about at the time the Kappa Alpha fraternity, having the temerity to do precisely what the existing zoning ordinances permitted, tore down those two old houses on Reese Street. Even so, the sudden imposition of the moratorium came as a surprise

The Banner-Herald’s coverage of the moratorium vote, which I completely missed the morning after the fact, consisted of a mere two sentences tacked on to the end of Blake's article concerning the Commission’s June voting session:

A moratorium on issuing demolition permits in the Reese Street neighborhood, added to the agenda at the last minute, passed unanimously. The moratorium is needed because a proposed historic district in the neighborhood is coming up for a vote, and someone could try to circumvent the new district by tearing down a building before it is approved, Commissioner David Lynn said.

We can’t have people “circumventing” the will of our betters on the Commission by obeying the law and exercising their property rights, now can we?

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