Residents Concerned About City Rezoning Plans
"Not in my backyard" or "any backyard" is how many Gainesville residents are reacting to a plan to rezone parts of the city to allow higher population densities, and taller buildings.
Many residents say they're concerned over how the changes could hurt their neighborhoods.
"Cause it is such a charming, quaint, lovely old neighborhood" said Janet Burk, a resident of the Oakwood neighborhood. That's what initially attracted her to the Oakview neighborhood more than two decades ago,but now, she's worried that a series of new zoning changes will erase it's charm.
"I feel like this came at me so quickly, that we don't have a say" Burke said. While the changes vary between neighborhoods the city's new zoning requirements for Oakview would increase the number of units allowed per acre and increase buildings' maximum height.
"When you look at all those districts" said Ralph Hilliard, Gainesville planning manager. "They all have different regulations in each one, it gets confusing"
City officials say the change is needed to create more consistency within the city's land development code.
"What we're trying to do in that instance is simplify for residents, anybody that's trying to do business in those areas, of what our development is" Hilliard said
But at a public workshop Wednesday night, many residents felt city officials weren't being genuine about their true motive for the change.
"i know that the reason they are giving makes absolutely no sense." said Mark Hinnebusch, a Lake Meta resident. He also said the city's new codes will only end up helping future developers.
"The only people who will benefit from this are people who want to increase the density in what are traditionally small, single family neighborhoods." said Hinnebusch.
Other residents worried about problems that come with increased density. Last night's workshop was just one in a series of public meeting planned on this topic.
Officials say they will take the concerns they heard last night, and present them to the city commission sometime soon. However, many of the 80 residents in attendance last night told TV20, they feel as though the city will still move forward with the change anyway.
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