Key Vote Analysis
Kathy Hoard (Democrat) - District 7
Please note that the opinions expressed in this section are not those
of Athens Grow Green Coalition, Inc., but are those of the candidate to
whom they are attributed.
1. In 1999, the Commission unanimously approved our anti-sprawl
Comprehensive Land Use Plan, a document created with widespread community
support. This plan calls for preservation of the environment, responsible
development, alternatives to automobile transportation, and the prevention
of sprawl. It designates the outer fringe of the county as a greenbelt,
with only low-density residential development allowed there. In 2000,
however, the Commission passed a zoning ordinance that allowed suburban
development at one unit per acre in the greenbelt, despite public outcry
for an ordinance that more closely followed the Land Use Plan. Many agree
that it is now even more important to address the impacts of sprawl development,
such as declining air quality, rapid loss of forested land, and poor water
quality, all of which have figured prominently in ACC news reports in
- Do you believe the current zoning ordinance adequately
protects Athens-Clarke County from sprawl? NO
"I feel the current zoning ordinance is an improvement over our
previous one in some areas, such as the inclusion of design standards.
However, it is my opinion that the allowance of one dwelling unit per
acre in our county's rural areas is more in keeping with urban zoning
patterns and not appropriate density for rural zones."
- Would you support implementation of a Transferable Development Rights
program to protect open space and direct growth? YES
- Do you think trees need stronger protection in ACC?
Would you support a tree canopy protection ordinance to prevent clear-cutting
of lots for development? MAYBE
"Like most citizens, I recognize the community benefits of public
and private trees. If elected to serve, I will consider additional regulations
and incentives to increase the protection of existing trees and the
adition of new trees that maintain and enhance the urban canopy. However,
in response to the question posed, I would need to review the specifics
of any ordinance before endorsing it."
- Do you think ACC needs to do more to enhance alternative
transportation options - such as more and improved sidewalks, bike lanes,
public transit - to reduce traffic congestion? YES
"I would like for our community to look at transportation more
globally, with different modes of transportation integrated, rather
than separated; i.e., a street network that is planned to accommodate
cars, buses, bicycles and pedestrians, with none threatening the safety
- Do you think that protecting greenspace helps or harms our local economy?
What else might local government do to combat sprawl?
"Our government can
combat sprawl by educating its residents that smart growth -- using
existing infrastructure and channeling new development into already
developed areas of our community -- pays...not only in strict financial
terms, but aesthetically as well, and can prove to provide a sense of
place to our community. In order for such a program to succeed, zoning
laws and design standards must be invoked and transportation issues
addressed before development proceeds.
Some of the most desirable
neighborhoods in our country, Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA, have
densely populated inner city and fringe suburban areas; but design guidelines,
strict zoning standards, and transportation planning have made them
extremely desirable places in which to live. It can also be done here."
2. Over a year ago, Enron Corp. proposed building a natural gas-fired
power plant in Athens. While it is highly unlikely that Enron will be
able to undertake such a project, other energy companies may be interested
in the location because of its confluence of natural gas and electric
transmission lines. Many citizens have raised concerns about the potential
environmental impacts of such a project, including degraded air and water
quality, and a projected doubling of ACC's consumptive water use. Proponents
of the proposal touted a positive impact on our tax base (an increase
of about 1.5%)
- Do you think a natural gas-fired power plant would be good for Athens?
Would the benefits outweigh the costs? NO
- Would you support such a proposal? NO
- Do you believe that protecting environmental quality is incompatible
with protecting jobs and tax revenue? NO
- Would you support development of a long-term water management plan
for Athens-Clarke County? YES
3. The eviction of nearly 500 Garden Springs residents focused
attention on the issue of affordable housing in Athens. Athens-Clarke
County has large low-income and student populations, presenting very different
housing challenges to our community?
- Do you think that current planning and development
in the county adequately address the housing needs of these two populations?
"I have difficulty assessing the housing needs of the total student
ppulation in concert with the needs of low-income residents. Certainly,
there are many students who are not wealthy and for whom low-income
housing is needed. However, the large number of student oriented apartment
complexes and houses with rents exceeding $1,000 per month appear
to be occupied. In my own neighborhood, student renters have effectively
boosted rental property rates above the level of what moderate income
single professionals and families can afford, effectively blocking
them out of the housing market. I would prefer to address the needs
of low-income residents as a singular group, regardless of occupation;
and, to my knowledge, there is limited planning -- if any -- to address
the needs of low AND MODERATE income residents of our community."
- Do you believe that Athens has plenty of low-income housing? NO
- Is preserving low-income residents' access to affordable housing
a priority of yours? YES
- Is growth management a priority of yours? YES
- Do you think that preserving affordable housing and growth management
are incompatible goals? NO
What might local government do to increase affordable
"I feel our community
- Seriously look at what
other communities with successful programs have done from the initation
prpcess to the placement of people in homes.
- Determine what grant opportunities
are available for affordable housing.
I am aware that other communities
have successfully integrated affordable housing into both new and infill
developments with no loss of property value or quality of living to
those in the more expensive housing units. This planning concept should
4. Sembler Corp. recently sued the Georgia EPD
to be allowed to pipe a stream on a piece of property it plans to develop
for a new Target store, in direct conflict with Athens-Clarke County's
75-foot stream buffer ordinance. Those who supported Sembler's lawsuit
argued that Athens-Clarke County cannot afford to lose a business that
might choose to locate elsewhere if required to conform to our environmental
regulations. Others contend that many communities have held developers
to strict standards without losing businesses, and that these standards
ultimately protect the economy as well as the environment of our community.
- Are you willing to risk losing a business or development
in order to protect the health of our local streams, rivers and drinking
water supply? YES
"Any candidate or elected official who is anti-business will soon
find that such a mindset will not sustain our local economy. However,
not all business and industry is desirable. Our community's resources,
renewable and otherwise, should not be put at risk to attract a commercial
enterprise, which may have only a limited or short term economic benefit
to Athens-Clarke County."
- Do you believe that Athens-Clarke County's environmental
regulations are at odds with business development? NO
"It is my understanding that our environmental regulations are
only marginally more stringent than the State's. One of the wonderful
benefits of living in Athens is its remarkable environment, but we do
see documented waterway and air quality deterioration that is undeniable.
As a serious candidate for the County Commission, I cannot ignore this
evidence. I do not believe that economic development and quality of
life are incompatible; we should work as a community to achieve both."
Civic: Past and/or current boardmember of the following: Athens-Clarke
Heritage Foundation; Athens Community Council on Aging; Athens Boys
and Girls Club; Lanier Gardens/Talmage Terrace; Midtown Neighborhood
Association. Hearing officer, Athens Housing Authority. Recipient, Eve
Award for Outstanding Public Service to ACC.
Professional: Office manager, University of Georgia, College
of Agriculture, 22 years.
Government: Member, Athens City Council, 3 terms (1985-1990);
Athens Public Safety Chairperson, appointed; Chairperson, Athens City
Council Zoning Committee; Mayor Pro-Tempore, Athens.