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ALACHUA ‒ Two vacancies were filled on the City’s Planning & Zoning Board (P&Z) at the City of Alachua May 23 commission meeting. The P&Z serves as the City’s local planning agency and consists of five voting members and a non-voting School Board representative. The P&Z reviews new developments, planning, zoning and land use changes, and provide their recommendations to the City Commission for consideration.

The vacancies were filled by William Menadier, who was elected to fill a three-year term ending on June 12, 2025, and Dave Ferro, who will fill the remainder of newly elected Commissioner Ed Potts’ term ending Oct. 09, 2023.

In other city business, the Commission made board and committee appointments for the coming year. Mayor Coerper will represent the Commission at the Alachua County League of Cities, Alachua Chamber of Commerce, Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board, and the Florida League of Cities. Vice Mayor Jennifer Blalock will serve on the Florida Municipal Power Association and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Commissioner Shirley Green Brown will serve on the Affordable Housing Board, serve as the elected official for School Facility Planning and the Seniors Resources Advisory Board. Commissioner Dayna Miller will be on Youth Advisory Council and North Central Florida Regional Planning Council. Commissioner Ed Potts will represent the Commission at the Suwanee River Management District.

Students from Alachua’s O2B Kids were honored at the May 23 Alachua City Commission meeting. Alachua Mayor Gib Coerper and Brenda Reed presented certificates to the students who had their artwork featured on display in the foyer of City Hall.

In other business, the Commission approved a request on second and final reading to change both the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) Designation and Rezoning for a 121.1-acre property located southwest of the intersection of U.S. Highway 441 and Northwest 43rd Street. Currently, the property includes two vacant commercial structures and one residential structure with several associated farm buildings. Part of the property contains conservation wetlands.

The FLUM changes the existing Commercial designation on 48.4 acres and Agriculture on 72.7 acres to Commercial on 14.4 acres, High Density Residential on 17.8 acres, Moderate Density Residential on 53.2 acres, and keeps a Conservation Area on 35.7 acres. The property zoning changes from Agricultural (“A”) and Commercial Intensive (“CI”) to Planned Development – Residential (“PD-R”) and Planned Development – Commercial (“PD-COMM”).

The Moderate Density Residential and High Density Residential FLUM Designations would allow for up to 479 residential houses in the area and the Commercial FLUM would allow a maximum of 627,264 square feet of commercial development adjoining U.S. Highway 441. The development would be constructed in one or more phases.

Speaking in opposition to the changes, Karen Arrington pointed to increased traffic issues related to the proposed development, saying, “There would be 9,918 additional external weekday trips. This volume would double traffic on 43rd Street, already a dangerous road.”

The Commission approved the requested FLUM and zoning changes, adding that concerns expressed by Arrington would be addressed prior to development approval.

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