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:
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.