Neighborhood Notification Initiative
WHAT IS THE NNI?
The Neighborhood Notification Initiative (NNI) was adopted by the Mayor and Commission in May of 2005 with the goal of improving communication between neighborhoods and developers about construction projects proposed in or adjacent to the neighborhood's boundaries.
Once an application is submitted to the Planning Department and placed on the appropriate agenda for review, a notice is emailed to people registered to receive NNI notices for the Neighborhoods, Overlay Areas and Commission Districts the project falls within.
Please see the topics below for more information about:
- How to Sign Up for Notifications
- Maps of Notification Areas
(Registered Neighborhoods, Commission Districts, Other Overlay Areas)
- Planning Department Agenda Types
(Hearings Board, Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Commission, Plans Review)
- How to Register Your Neighborhood
Anyone may sign up to receive email notifications in any area, regardless of residency location. Emails are sent for projects located within the boundaries of Registered Neighborhoods, Special Interest Overlays and Commission Districts as follows:
- NNI--N--Neighborhood Name: These are neighborhoods that have registered with the NNI. If you sign up for one of these, for instance, NNI--N--Ashton Place Community Association, you will receive notices about projects that fall within the boundaries of this neighborhood, and also for projects that are immediately adjacent to the boundaries.
- NNI--O--Overlay Name: These are special interest overlay areas that are located along major road corridors, plus the downtown area. If you sign up for one of these, for instance, NNI--O--Baxter Street, you will receive notices about projects that are proposed along Baxter Street.
- NNI--O--Commission Districts: Sign up for these lists to receive notices for projects that are proposed within one of the 10 commission districts.
- NNI--Athens-Clarke County (All Notices): If you want to receive every notice sent through the NNI, you only need to sign up for this list.
If you want to receive emails for a specific area and there is not a registered neighborhood or overlay there, you can sign up for notices for that commission district.
Some Overlays and Neighborhoods overlap. If a project falls within the overlap area and you are signed up for both lists, you will receive two emails about that project (for instance, a portion of the Timothy Road Overlay Area overlaps McNutts Creek, St. Ives, Colleton Oaks and Kingswood. Multiple Neighborhoods and Overlays fall within each Commission District).
To view maps of each Registered Neighborhood, Overlay Area and Commission District, see the next section on this page.
Please follow these instructions to sign up for the Neighborhood Notification Initiative:
- Go to https://accgov.com/list.aspx
- Type your email address in the box and select Sign In.
- If you want to receive text messages, enter your phone number and select Save Profile Information (the text messages do not contain as much information as the emails).
- To subscribe, click the envelope icon (for emails) and/or the mobile phone icon (for text messages) next to the lists you are interested in. A green checkmark should appear. You can subscribe/unsubscribe at any time by checking/unchecking each list.
- All NNI lists start with "NNI", but there are many, many other ACC department lists you may be interested in.
- For each list you click on, you will receive the following message: Thanks for subscribing to the list! You must confirm your account before you will receive any emails. Please check your email for the confirmation link. You may need to add email@example.com to your safe senders list.
- Once you have selected everything you are interested in, scroll to the top and click "Sign Out" above the email address box.
- After you confirm the registration in your email account, you should be registered! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706-613-3515 if you have questions or trouble signing up.
Click each heading below to view the maps:
You may sign up to receive notifications for projects that fall within each Commission district. Follow the link above to view a map of the ten Athens-Clarke County Commission districts.
Special Interest Overlays
The NNI special interest overlays are geographic interest areas that might overlap different neighborhoods or might correspond to areas where there are no formal neighborhood organizations but local interest is strong. These are typically transportation corridors or centers of activity, like downtown. Electronic mailing lists are created for these areas by recommendation.
PLANNING DEPARTMENT AGENDA TYPES
The Planning Department manages the agendas for the following four groups:
Plans Review - Weekly Administrative Meetings
Plans Review notifications are sent weekly for projects seeking approval to begin site or building construction. Projects requiring Plans Review include all commercial (office, retail, industrial, etc.), institutional (churches, schools, etc.), and multi-family developments, as well as single-family subdivisions of more than four lots. There is an application deadline every Tuesday at 12:00 noon, with a maximum of 12 agenda items per week.
An administrative Plans Review meeting is held nine days after the application deadline to allow the applicant the opportunity to discuss review comments with Staff. If all departments have approved the submitted materials, a permit may be issued to begin work. If the submitted materials cannot be approved, the applicant may submit revisions at any point following the Plans Review meeting. Revisions are reviewed by relevant Athens-Clarke County departments as they are submitted; they are not placed on a new agenda. Because projects in the Plans Review process are compatible with existing zoning regulations, there is no public hearing associated with this agenda type.
Planning Commission - Monthly Public Hearings
Planning Commission notifications are sent monthly for proposed rezones, special use permits, and planned developments, all of which may affect the types of uses permitted on a property.
A minimum of two public hearings are held for each project: first before the Planning Commission and second before the Mayor and Commission. If either the Planning Commission or the Mayor and Commission votes to table an application, it is placed on a future agenda and additional public hearings are held.
Please note: Notifications are only sent out regarding the Planning Commission agenda. Once a project is placed on the Mayor and Commission agenda, the Planning Department no longer emails a meeting notice.
Hearings Board - Monthly Public Hearings
Hearings Board notifications are sent monthly for requested variances and for appeals of staff interpretations of the planning and zoning ordinances. A variance is a relief from the strict application of zoning and development standards and may be granted when unique circumstances exist that would create an undue hardship by enforcement of these standards.
Hearings Board decisions are final; therefore, the monthly meeting is the only public hearing associated with a variance request, unless the request is tabled or the decision is appealed. Appeals are heard by the Planning Commission and a second notification is sent out for appealed projects.
Historic Preservation Commission - Monthly Public Hearings
Historic Preservation Commission notifications are sent monthly for requested Certificates of Appropriateness. Exterior changes to properties within local historic districts, and exterior changes to local historic landmarks require review for compliance with the historic design guidelines and a Certificate of Appropriateness prior to construction.
Historic Preservation Commission decisions are final; therefore, the monthly meeting is the only public hearing associated with a Certificate of Appropriateness request, unless the request is tabled or the decision is appealed. Appeals are heard by the Mayor and Commission, and a second notification email is sent out for appealed projects.
In February of 2006, the first group of neighborhoods and special interest overlay areas were adopted, and as registration information is submitted and endorsed, new groups are added to the program. Each area corresponds to a listserv group for which members of the public may sign up to receive email notification about proposed development throughout the community.
A directory of neighborhood organizations and contact persons is maintained by the Athens-Clarke County Planning Department in order to aid communication between neighborhoods and those effecting changes in the community. Applicants requesting a zoning action within an identified neighborhood boundary are given neighborhood contact information to encourage the early exchange of information related to the proposal. The Planning Department provides the neighborhood's contact person with the applicant's contact information.
If your neighborhood group is already established as a nonprofit, limited liability corporation, or other legal entity, fill out the registration form and submit it along with a copy of your group's articles of incorporation or other documents indicating your organizational structure and legal status. A map demonstrating the boundaries of your neighborhood group should also be included.
If your neighborhood group is not already established, you should also provide a petition signed by at least 20% of the residents and/or property owners within the proposed neighborhood boundaries.
Planning staff will provide your area's commissioners (regular district and super district) with the materials that you submit. With their endorsement, the Mayor and Commission will vote on the official registration and mapped boundaries of your neighborhood organization. Once mapped, residents and other interested parties may sign up to receive email notification of proposed zoning actions within a given neighborhood's boundaries.