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The public attends the Athens City Council meeting in Athens City Hall on Monday, February 3, 2020.

City Council: Body welcomes 2 new council members

Athens City Council met Monday to welcome two new members to their body, Solveig Spjeldnes, D-1st Ward, and Alan Swank, D-4th Ward. 

The body also appointed Debbie Walker as clerk of council and City Law Director Lisa Eliason as parliamentarian. 

Councilwoman Chris Knisely, Council president, brought up a C-1 permit request made by the Athens Community Drive Thru LLC, located at 750 E. State St., which would allow said business to sell beer in a sealed container. Eliason said that the business does not have a zoning permit to operate as a drive thru, but it does have a permit to operate as a convenience store. 

Councilwoman Sarah Grace, D-At Large, said Council should file a challenge to this liquor permit request, based on the lack of a zoning permit. The body voted to issue a letter to the Division of Liquor Control at the Department of Commerce.

Eliason presented the annual business report to Council. In 2021, Eliason said she and her team covered 1,763 cases in Athens on Ohio University property and in the unincorporated areas of the county. Approximately 50% come from the unincorporated areas of the county, she said. 

Eliason said that her team has been working on updating the criminal and civil provisions of the Athens City Code, some of which have not been updated since the early 1990s, she said.

One particular law they focused on was the DUI law, changing it so that the offense can be cited under the Athens City Code, and Athens will receive part of the fine money. Without this update, offenders would be charged with the state code, and the city would not receive a significant amount of the fine money. 

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