ALACHUA ‒ Nearly 1,000 new homes will be built near Alachua’s Santa Fe High School. On May 8, the Alachua City Commission approved a rezoning request on a 306-acre property that backs up to Briarwood Phase 1 Subdivision that fronts CR 235A. The newly rezoned property will be home to Briarwood Town Center, a 306.34-acre property that fronts U.S. Highway 441. The City Commission approved changing the City’s Official Zoning Atlas for Briarwood Town Center from Agricultural (“A”) (Alachua County), Community Commercial (“CC”), and Residential Multiple-Family -8 (“RMF-8") to Planned Development – Residential (“PD-R”) and Planned Development – Commercial (“PD-COMM”) on the property.  

The proposed PD-R zoning district allows for 598 single family residential units, and 15,000 square feet for amenity buildings. The proposed PD-COMM zoning district allows for 350 multi-family residential units, and 500,000 square feet of non-residential. Most of the site would permit a variety of residential uses including single family attached, and detached, and townhouses. Multiple family would be permitted only within designated areas located internal to the PD-R portion of the property.

In November 2020, the Alachua City Commission has approved the final plat for Briarwood Phase1 subdivision, which is located in the 17000 block of CR 235A, west of CR 235A and Santa Fe High School, south of the Meadowglen subdivision, and north of the Santa Fe Hills subdivision. Phase 1 received approval for 84 homes on 28.99 acres and is currently under construction.

On a lighter note, the Commissioners were recipients of a musical presentation by Alachua’s W.W. Irby Elementary School students. The youngsters performed three songs in front of a full house of proud parents and family members. After the performance ended, Mayor Gib Coerper and Irby’s Ms. Lalaine Foreman presented certificates to the students to honor their talents in music and their performance for the Commission.

In other business at the May 8 Alachua City Commission meeting, Alachua Habit for Humanity, Inc. Requested the City to donate a surplus city-owned vacant lot to build a house for an economically challenged family. Alachua Habit for Humanity, Inc. is a Florida not-for-profit corporation that works together with families, local communities, volunteers and partners to help people improve their living conditions.

The lot is on the east side of and fronting Northwest 136th Terrace, just south of Northwest 43rd Place. The lot was declared surplus by the City Commission at a public meeting on Feb. 24, 2014, after being found to be of negative value due to liability, maintenance costs, and no projected use for a City purpose. Habitat is now requesting the Commission to donate the property for a homesite. A family has been qualified and selected by Habitat to work alongside volunteers building the family a new home supported by donations of materials and dollars from businesses and others. The equity generated by the new homeowner’s labor and donations of others also yields an affordable mortgage. The Commission approved the request and will sign a Quit Claim deed and complete a transfer of Title.

In other City business, the Florida League of Cities recognized Mayor Coerper for his 20 years of service to the City of Alachua. The award is named in honor of longtime Apopka Mayor John Land, who served his city for 60 years. The award honors municipal officials for their years of dedicated elected service and public service on a city council/commission. The Florida League of Cities’ mission is to serve the needs of Florida’s cities and promote local self-government. Florida League of Cities Membership Programs Specialist Eryn Russell made the presentation to Coerper.

Another presentation of local talent featured a group consisting of Freddie Wehbe, Orlando Milan, Thalia Milan and Mitch Glaeser who informed the Commission about the success story of Okito America, from one location to three. The newest location will be in Alachua’s San Felasco Tech City on U.S. Highway 441. Okito America started in 2007 with a vision of improving the lives of families by introducing them to the art of Tae Kwon Do, Kick-Boxing and Self-Defense, as well as offering after school care and camps during summer and other times that schools are closed. The organization also provides free transportation to the facilities from schools. Depending on the day, children will participate in different activities such as homework, art, science, sports, basic Spanish, and Martial arts, supervised by instructors and staff. The uniform for Tae kwon-do is included upon registration.

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