Key Vote Analysis
Ed Vaughan (Green Party) - 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
- 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? YES
- 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
- Do you think that protecting greenspace helps or
harms our local economy? HELPS
"It helps our local economy by preserving quality of life."
What else might local government do to combat sprawl?
"I support restoring
the Greenbelt. This is done by having 1 house per 5 acres in the AR
zones that surround the county. Also, the Greenbelt will be preserved
and sprawl reduced by implementing Transferable Development Rights to
facilitate infill development in the interior of the county.
also support a strong tree canopy ordinance that includes impact fees
for every old-growth tree removed. Also supported are escalating impact
fees for new development that escalate based on the environmental and
infrastructure impact of the development. Also, alternative transportation,
including Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans and ordinances will combat
sprawl by reducing sprawl-generating auto-centered transportation. In
addition to the above, I will vote for changing the Land Use Plan in
every way necessary to restore the Greenbelt."
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
"Placing a power plant
in ACC is globalization at its ugliest - at our local level. The present
Mayor and Commission pushing for a new company to do this plant after
both Enron and Dynegy went belly up is a blatant prioritizing of the
needs of non-voting corporate citizens above the needs of voting human
citizens. If an average Athenian cannot wash her car or water her
garden when she needs to, we do not need a power plant that will evaporate
a third of our river."
- 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
"Not allowing ANY large
withdrawal of water by industry while residents are under water restrictions
must be the foundation of any new ACC water management plan."
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? NO
- 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 will vote for transferring
the funds from the ACC Development Authority back to the ACC HED (Human
and Economic Development) Department. Doc Eldridge took the majority
of HED affordable housing funding to set up the Development Authority.
This authority does nothing but facilitate bond issues to improve UGA
facilities using the full faith and credit of we, the taxpayers of ACC.
Restoring these funds to HED will be money that can be spent to issue
bonds to the Athens Housing Authority to build or buy additional affordable
housing. I will also vote to give occupants of low-income communities
the right of first refusal to keep their homes from being gentrified
from under them. The present ACC Mayor and Commission have, with the
exception of Commissioners Barrow and Jordan, done nothing to facilitate
affordable housing in ACC except in the face of intense protest (e.g.
Garden Springs). I will vote to preserve existing low-income housing
from gentrification. I will also vote to focus HED funding and ACC bond
issuance on providing additional low-income housing. I will consult
with the Housing Authority and low-income citizens to determine where
the new affordable housing needs to be and what types of affordable
housing are needed."
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
"In my opinion, the people of ACC and the Georgia EPD would have
been succesful in preserving the Malcolm Branch area if our Mayor
had not appealed to the Administrative Law Judge to allow the creek
to be piped. The Mayor argued that new jobs would be created, when
the jobs already existed at the old Target store. This is another
blatant example of our present Mayor and Commission placing the needs
of corporate citizens above the needs of voting ACC citizens. We voted
for greenspace, our elected officials deliver us more mall sprawl."
- Do you believe that Athens-Clarke County's environmental
regulations are at odds with business development? NO
"Our environmental regulations are not at odds with business
development. However, our present elected officials are at odds with
both ACC environmental regulations and with the people of our county."
Civic: Volunteer, Athens Human Rights Festival, 9 years; boardmember,
Athens Land Trust.
Professional: U. S. Army, active duty in several locations,
including Grenada and the White House; city planner, Toccoa, 1991-1995;
contract planner for several small GA cities 1995-1998; government contracts
administrator, 1998-2000; manager, Earthfare Market, 2000 - present.
Government: no prior governmental service.
Education: B.A., 1990, University of Georgia; Masters of Public
Administration, 1993, University of Georgia