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Proposed development in NW Gainesville passes its first hurdle with modifications from city leaders

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 11:44 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -After nearly three hours of discussion, Gainesville city commissioners voted 4 to 2 to approve a controversial land-use change for a vacant property in northwest Gainesville. However, it isn’t final and didn’t necessarily match what the developer wants. To fit within the criteria of the approved proposal, the developer of the old Saint Michaels property will need to go back and make design changes.

A drive-thru has been at the center of attention of the proposed development of the property off NW 23rd Ave and NW 43rd Street. The motion proposed by Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos and approved by four members of the commission would eliminate the possibility of a drive-thru facility entirely. 

This is one of the items concerning to those who oppose the project.

“This area is already to be developed for the next thing, which is an office. An office zone is not going to generate as much traffic as a drive-thru. I think we all understand that,” explained Marsha Mott, a Suburban Heights resident who is against the project.

RELATED STORY: Proposed property concerns residents, but the developer assures they are working with the community

If the proposal to change the designation of the property to urban-mixed land use is officially approved on second reading, developers will be able to include office space as well as residential and retail.

According to Meredith Beaupre, a Suburban Heights resident in support of the project, the developers have listened to the concerns of nearby residents.

“After the church was knocked down, and they reached out again. We have been working directly with the owners of the Wilson Development Group for the last few years,” explained Beaupre.

She said many of the conditions listed in the planned use development are residents’ proposals.

Other changes in the motion include the potential for the city to construct a park on the conservation land, allow more square footage on the ground and higher-level floors, and not limit the project to one floor. Commissioners want to make sure if the project ultimately gets the green light to move forward, developers try to save the heritage trees surrounding the land.

TRENDING STORY: City and county leaders break ground on new hotel and mixed-use development in downtown Gainesville

Commissioners also voted 4-2  to approve the petition for rezoning with multiple changes.

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