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NEWBERRY ‒ The Newberry City Commission on Nov. 8 approved on first reading development agreements for Phases 1B and 3 of the Avalon Woods Mixed-Used Development.

Phase 1B of the development is located to the east of State Road 45 and on the south side of Northwest 24th Avenue, which is identified as Alachua County Parcel Number 01874-200-000. The property consists of approximately 9.44 acres with a proposed population density of approximately 10 persons per acre, with a building density of four per acre. The maximum building height is 35 feet.

The Commission approved with a vote of 4-0. Commissioner Mark Clark was not in attendance at this meeting.

The second Development Agreement hit a few stumbling blocks on its way to approval. The 43.38 acres Phase 3 of the Avalon Woods Mixed-Use Development is located on the east side of State Road 45 and to the south of Northwest 16th Avenue and is identified as a portion of Parcel Number 01897-000-000.

The proposed population density of the residential portion of Phase 3 is approximately 10 persons per acre with a building density of four per acre. The maximum building height is also 35 feet.

Commissioners expressed concern about differences between the original preliminary master plan, referred to as the bubble plan, and the current map showing the location of Phase 3.

An item not evident in the Phase 3 map was connectivity between the commercial portion of the development and the residential properties.

David McDaniel of M3 said there have been no changes to the commercial portion of the development and talked about locations for ingress and egress. He also said that some of the people living in the residential portion of the development may wish to work in the commercial areas and that there would be connectivity.

Questions about whether the developer would make improvements to the roadway were addressed by Planning and Economic Development Director Bryan Thomas who said that the traffic study did not call for changes to the roadway for this project.

The first Commission vote on this issue resulted in a tie with Commissioners Tim Marden and Rick Coleman voting aye and Commissioners Monty Farnsworth and Tony Mazon voting nay.

Mayor Jordan Marlowe explained that the first development agreement, which had been approved earlier in the meeting, described what the developers would do as part of their agreement, while the second developers agreement dealt with what the City agreed to do. “If I had realized this would not be approved,” said Marlowe, “I would have suggested the developers wait until we had a full five commissioners here so this would not end in a tie vote.”

City Attorney Scott Walker explained that one of the dissenting voters could make a motion to reconsider the issue or one of the dissenting voters could make a motion to table the item until all five commissioners were present.

Mazon made a motion to reconsider, which was seconded by Marden. City Manager Mike New explained that the construction plans meet the Land Development Regulations and he believed that if the City Commission didn’t approve this agreement, a judge would likely allow the developers to build anyway.

The agreement calls for the developers to provide ingress/egress to 16th Avenue during construction and also stub out the utilities, which would benefit the City. The City would pay for an upsizing of the electrical circuit to make it more dependable, which would help bring more reliability and faster hook ups in case of an outage. City Manager Mike New said the developer would be reimbursing the City for the cost of doing so at an agreed upon time. The developers also agreed to build certain aspects of other improvements to the adjacent park.

Ultimately, the Development Agreement for Phase 3 was unanimously approved following a motion by Coleman, which was seconded by Marden.

Both Development Agreements will be heard again on second reading at the Nov. 22 meeting.

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