Huge Development Plan Will Move Forward
It seems the people and leadership of Alachua County have changed their minds about a huge development in Northwest Alachua County.
Three years ago, Commissioners said no to the Springhills plan, but last night the answer was "yes."
But the project had to change before county commissioners would give their approval.
When the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust(PREIT) brought their first plan before the board members and the public in 2007, the response from Commissioners was an emphatic no.
However, they've made a lot of changes to the 393 acre site proposal and county leaders now say it will be a model for the future of Alachua County.
Representative for PREIT, David Coffey, said, "It is the development pattern that's most appropriate for the future."
Alachua County Growth Management Director, Steven Lachnicht said that's why the county chose to move forward with the new Springhills plan.
He said, "The idea of a mixed use compact development pattern is to promote a variety of multi-modal approach to transportation...a bicycle, a pedestrian or a transit line, could all be suitable alternatives to the automobile."
Commissioners approved a comprehensive plan amendment last night, allowing the PREIT to move forward with plans to transform 393 acres around I-75 and 39th Avenue.
Lachnicht said the Springhills site will seamlessly integrate residential and commercial buildings, while encouraging sustainability in the county.
Coffey said the new plan is radically different because things have changed since 2007. He said, "What's happened in the interim is of course a financial crisis, an oil crisis, and it's a very clear decision made by Alachua County, by the leadership of Alachua County that we're going to foster development that's gonna be sustainable in the long run."
But don't expect PREIT to break ground anytime soon.
Lachnicht said "A lot of pieces are coming into focus here that if come together over the next 10 to 20 years could really a very significant new approach to doing development in the county."
Now that the amendment has been approved, there is still a lot of paperwork and planning for the developer, but this was a crucial first step.
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