WHAT’S NEXT: Gainesville commissioners respond to passing controversial single-family zoning plan
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -A split Gainesville city commission passed the controversial proposal to end single-family zoning throughout most of the city. Hours of public comment and hundreds of opposing residents could not keep the controversial zoning proposal from moving forward.
Only three, that’s Cynthia Chestnut, Desmon Duncan-Walker and Harvey Ward voted against the measure. Chestnut opposed the proposal from the start, saying historic neighborhoods will be jeopardized. She said throughout her time living in Gainesville, no issue has mobilized so many people urging commissioners to reconsider.
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“I’ve lived here over 40 years, I’ve never seen Gainesville so mobilized, mobilized against one issue and you know, regardless, irrespective of a political party, race and there were all on one accord,” said Chestnut. “Vote no.”
Proponents of the new policy, like Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos, said the proposal is a solution for the lack of affordable housing in Gainesville. Although, a new non-profit is already threatening to take the issue to court.
“It would be very disappointing to me if people file a lawsuit to stop people from getting housing,” said Hayes-Santos. “We’re talking about people here, people who don’t have homes who are getting priced out of our community.”
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There are a few hoops to jump through before the change in the policy becomes permanent. Next, the State Department of Economic Opportunity has 30 days to approve the proposed policy.
From there, a second reading is scheduled that gives commissioners a chance to vote on the policy again. Now people with, the newly formed non-profit, “Gainesville Voices” say they are ready to take the issue to court to keep the zoning ordinance from changing neighborhoods.
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