Fahl takes Phillips' place on Council
Christine Fahl

Christine Fahl was selected to fill the seat of Debbie Phillips as 4th Ward representative on Athens City Council Thursday evening.

Members of the 4th Ward Democratic Central Committee voted unanimously for Fahl, as she was the only individual who expressed interest in the seat.

Fahl said she was approached by Phillips about taking her place on Council. Phillips resigned from Council in December to take her new position representing the 92nd District in the Ohio House.

“When Debbie asked me, I was very flattered,” said Fahl. “She’s done an amazing job on Council and I hope I can help people of the 4th Ward like she has.”

According to Athens County Democratic Chairwoman Susan Gwinn, the current 4th Ward term expires on Dec. 31, 2009, so Fahl will have to run in the 2009 Athens municipal election in May to secure an additional two-year term.

Nearly one year ago to the day, Fahl was asked by Mayor Paul Wiehl to serve on the Athens Planning Commission. She started her six-year term on the board on Feb. 1 and is the president of the group.

“In this capacity (on the planning commission), I have tried to ensure that the regulations of the city are enacted fairly and that development done in Athens is well planned and carried out so that it benefits both the developer and the city of Athens,” Fahl wrote in a letter to the Central Committee.

Fahl is also the chairwoman of the Comprehensive Plan Review and Advisory Committee.

“As a member of the Planning Commission and the Near Eastside Neighborhood Association, Christine has a clear interest in city issues of the east side,” said Phillips.

Fahl served as the co-chairperson of the Near Eastside Neighborhood Association from 2006 to 2008.

“Having been the co-chair of the Near Eastside Neighborhood Association, I am familiar with many of the everyday issues faced by people in the 4th Ward,” wrote Fahl. “One example of my work as co-chair was the initiation of a Near Eastside neighborhood traffic study and development of a neighborhood traffic plan.”

Fahl serves as a board member of the Athens Conservancy and Friends of Strouds Run. She has been a member of the Mayor’s Task Force for Strouds Run and the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Conservation and Trails.

Prior to becoming a member of the planning commission, Fahl was known for her vocal opposition against the approval process for some developments in the city. She was one of 10 residents who sued the city over a controversial retirement community that was slated to be built off Stimson Avenue by National Church Residences.

“My academic and work background gives me further experience in many of the areas of concern to the people of the 4th Ward, as well as Athens in general,” said Fahl. “In addition, I have experience in economic development, focused on eco-tourism and sustainable development.”

Fahl has a bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University in California, where she studied under the Department of Wildlife Management; a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning; and a doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Department of Natural Resource Conservation, Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Program.

She has worked as a lecturer in several departments and served as a planning consultant.

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