by Gainesville Neighborhood Voices
On Friday, August 26, Alachua County sent an official comment letter to the City of Gainesville and to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity expressing concerns about the City’s proposed comprehensive plan change that would eliminate all single-family zoning citywide. The proposed change will nearly double the allowable density in all existing single-family areas from eight dwelling units per acre to 15.
The primary concern expressed by the County is the City’s failure to provide data and analysis of the potential impacts of their proposed actions. The City’s submittal has many deficiencies including no quantification of new households that could result from the profound change, nor impacts to the public infrastructure that would be required to support them. No Gainesville-specific data or analysis supports the City’s stated goal—to provide affordable housing for the City’s residents.
The County’s letter states, “We recommend that the City delay consideration of adoption of this Comprehensive Plan amendment until the full extent of its potential impacts have been identified and evaluated through appropriate data and analysis.”
The City’s failure to identify potential impacts of this land use change is reminiscent of its past failure to anticipate the financial consequences of the biomass plant in a constantly changing energy marketplace. That failure has left citizens paying exorbitant utility rates.
Similarly, Gainesville Neighborhood Voices, Inc. (GNVoices) has submitted over 40 pages of comments to Alachua County and several State of Florida agencies regarding the City’s proposed comprehensive plan. GNVoices cited concerns about stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, flooding, transportation and historical resources. By law, the public and reviewing agencies have 30 days to submit comments after a comprehensive plan amendment is transmitted to the State. Letters from GNVoices to the reviewing agencies can be found at tinyurl.com/Iguana1420.
The immediate purpose of GNVoices is to prevent adoption of this untested land use policy change that would result in extensive negative impacts to Gainesville’s neighborhoods without generating affordable housing—the expressed goal of the amendment.
The most immediate and dramatic threats are to primarily Black neighborhoods by greatly increasing the rate of gentrification and displacing longtime residents. Local residents are already witnessing the rapid gentrification of Porters Quarters, which was upzoned without any neighborhood safeguards in place.
GNVoices includes residents from many Gainesville neighborhoods, affordable housing advocates, technical experts, and community leaders.
More detail about the legal process the City of Gainesville is using—and that its residents must follow to challenge their City—can be found by reviewing “The State of Florida process for adoption of a comprehensive plan or plan amendment,” found here: https://www.gainesvilleneighborhoodsunited.org/resources. For more information, contact Casey Fitzgerald, President, Gainesville Neighborhood Voices, Inc. at 386-937.0528.