ALACHUA – On Monday night, the City of Alachua Commission approved the rezoning of a parcel of land near Shaw Farms and San Felasco Hammock Preserve State park. The 275-acre property, owned by University of Florida Foundation (UF Foundation), was previously zoned as both agricultural and industrial, but now it falls under the new zoning designation titled Corporate Park.

At the Nov. 14 meeting, the Commission approved the establishment of the Corporate Park zoning category, and the new zoning designation was applied to the UF Foundation’s property on the future land use map.

Monday’s action was the first in at least two meetings required to finalize a full rezoning of the property to Corporate Park, which would allow for multi-use purposes on the land, and would be the first zoning designation specifically intended for biotechnology facilities.

According to Gerry Dedenbach of Causseaux, Hewett & Walpole, an agent for UF Foundation, the rezoning would allow for a campus-like atmosphere for a future medical radioisotope laboratory. With residential units on the property along with retail establishments, scientists, researchers and their families can live and work in one place.

An issue raised by a resident at the meeting Monday was of increased traffic in the immediate area. Alachua City Planner Brandon Stubbs said in a presentation that the applicant would still be required to provide a site plan before development and it will only be approved if the proposed development did not degrade a public facility, including traffic.

Another city resident requested of commissioners to “keep our concerns in mind”

Vice Mayor Ben Boukari, Jr. responded with “We hear you,” and added that the commission would “do what we can to make sure things are done the right way.”

A second public hearing on the rezoning is required, but a date has not yet been determined.