Mayor Poe speaks out after arrest for threats against city commissioners

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 2:48 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2022 at 9:10 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - A man was arrested for allegedly threatening Gainesville City Commissioners following a controversial plan to end exclusive single-family zoning.

In a Facebook post, Mayor Lauren Poe criticized the way opponents of the zoning change he voted for have framed the issue. He connected that framing to the statements made by Terry Martin-Back which led to his arrest on Monday.

Martin-Back is charged with sending a written threat to kill after he sent an email to a commissioner that called for violence according to a sworn complaint.

He sent an email on Sept. 9 that states,” My hope after the election, when you are seen in public by the residence of Gainesville.. they pull you out of whatever establishment you attend.. and they beat your ass over your in-favor vote of inclusionary zoning. I hope I’m first in line and my combat emotional stress kicks in and I can take all out on your face!! I’m [sick] of you POS!”

RELATED: Gainesville neighborhood non-profit threatens lawsuit over city zoning amendment

Investigators say, Martin-Back then posted on Facebook saying he is about to “lose control” of his PTSD with the city commissioners. He told officers he did not intend to immediately attack a commissioner.

The Gainesville City Commission voted 4 to 3 to change the city’s comprehensive plan to allow for multi-family units to be built in areas of the city currently zoned for exclusively single-family homes. Many residents have expressed their concerns about the plan.

The commissioners aim to increase the quantity of affordable housing with the zoning change. Many residents worry it could reduce their property values and change the character of their neighborhoods.

RELATED: Gainesville commissioners pass plan to end exclusive single-family zoning

The state Department of Economic Opportunity reviewed the plan and advised against approving it. Commissioners are planning a final vote on the issue in the coming weeks.

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