More than half of Gainesville’s neighborhoods could face zoning changes

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 6:41 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Making housing in Gainesville more affordable, accessible, and equitable has been a longtime goal for the Gainesville City Commission.

To do that, commissioners want to allow multi-family developments in single-family zoning districts.

According to the Department of Sustainable Development, 63% of Gainesville’s residential land is zoned for single-family homes.

While city commissioners feel this would help fix the current housing situation, many residents strongly disagree.

“It is unfair for someone that has single-family residence that’s been in a family for a long time to have it wiped out and changed,” said Jim McFarlane, resident.

Some commissioners are saying a key reason they want this change is because the housing shortage disproportionately affects Black communities.

But, one man who’s lived in Southeast Gainesville for more than 60 years, said these changes would hurt his community more than they’d help.

“I’m here to speak in favor of exclusionary zoning, specifically single-family zoning,” said Wayne Fields.

“Please don’t take the thought that I’m against affordable housing, but I am for affordable housing in a reasonable manner,” he said.

Manny Palada, who’s lived in the Sorrento neighborhood in Northwest Gainesville for 18 years said, “we are afraid that it might become too crowded and there might be a lot of problems in terms of security.” Palada said he hopes his community doesn’t change.

For the city commission’s part, they’re keeping the focus on the mission of adding affordable housing. Because yesterday’s discussion was a workshop the commission did not make any motions.

Commissioners plan to continue the discussion at a meeting next month.

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