NEWBERRY ‒ Construction of a new City Hall, which has been on the minds of City Commissioners for some time, has moved one step closer to fruition with the 4 – 1 vote to authorize the issuance of $6.29 million in Capital Improvement Revenue Bonds, Series 2024 to generate proceeds to finance the project. Commissioner Mark Clark was in dissent.

The Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for City Hall has come in at just over $8.5 million. “Staff will provide more GMP information at the June 10 meeting,” said Assistant City Manager/CFO Dallas Lee. Construction will be funded through the issuance of these bonds and the utilization of various reserve funds. The bonds will feature a 30-year level debt service amortization, with interest payments beginning on March 1, 2025, and principal payments beginning on September 1, 2025.

Commissioners want to get all staff under one roof to help citizens more easily conduct business with the City.

NC Ranch

The project known as NC Ranch Planned Development received approval on second reading of the ordinance at the May 28 City Commission meeting. Ordinance 2024-14/LDR 23-06 was introduced at the first public hearing on April 15and approved by majority vote.

The application from Patrice Boyes, Esq. and CHW Professional Consultants, agent, was on behalf of Norfleet Properties, LLLP; E.D. Norfleet & Sons, Inc.; E.D. Norfleet, Jr. and Phyllis Norfleet; E.D. Norfleet III; Katrina Bill; and, Norfleet Construction Co., owners. The application is to rezone property from Agricultural (A) to Planned Development (PD) for a project known as NC Ranch Planned Development.

The site is located west of US Highway 41 between Northwest 53rd Lane and Northwest 10th Avenue and consists of approximately 1,293 acres. The petition proposes 4,500 dwelling units, 700,000 square feet of non-residential uses, and 250 assisted living facility beds.

Highland Park

The project formerly known as Newberry Plaza was heard by resolution to adopt the planned development construction plans for the non-residential aspect of the development. The application was made by CHW Professional Consultants, agent on behalf of Newberry Plaza LLC, owner.

Commissioner Mark Clark recused himself from any Highland Park-related issue as he is in negotiation to purchase a house on the same property.

When this item was heard by the Planning and Zoning Board, they suggested a number of conditions for approval. The Commission agreed with their suggestions. Conditions include: a traffic signal required prior to fueling station and/or 72,000 square feet of commercial property; wastewater lines to be made eight feet deep to 12 feet deep and making the lift station larger; fair share contributions for improvements to adjacent intersections; pioneering agreement required for oversizing of wastewater lines and upgrade of lift station; easement agreement for wastewater lines; and transfer fee-simple east 40 feet of section line right-of-way (code required).

City Manager Mike New said that Publix, the City and Alachua County had previously agreed to pay a portion of the cost of installing the traffic signal.

Representing CHW Professional Consultants, Gerry Dedenbach was on hand to explain that they had already agreed to pay a portion of the cost of the traffic signal as well. Following lengthy discussions, both Dedenbach and Henry Fortes said they would pay any additional costs required to install the traffic signal.

In a second action regarding Highland Park, Resolution 2024-17/SD 24-07 unanimously approved a preliminary plat of all residential phases included in the Newberry Plaza Planned Development for 350 detached single-family residential lots.

Although the residential phases were originally set at seven, the developer wanted to reduce that number to two phases to attract national builders to the project. Dedenbach said national builders want to do 90 – 100 residences. Had the Commission agreed to reduce the phases from seven to two, Phase I would have included 193 developable lots and Phase II would have included 157 developable lots. Also, one additional through street connection was added to the southern properties. The Gray residence, to be purchased by Commissioner Clark, was removed from the platted area of residential properties.

Concern was raised by Commissioner Tim Marden that 75 homes per year would work best with the number of staff available to review plans, etc. Commissioner Rick Coleman said he wanted local builders and not national builders, who tend to build fast and then disappear.

Once again the Planning and Zoning Board recommended stipulations: sidewalks on both sides of the street, a good-faith effort to preserve trees on-site, provide sufficient shade trees throughout the residential areas, provide traffic calming throughout the residential area, voluntarily offer limitations to the number of new home constructions per year and/or per phase and increase the number of phases to a number greater than two and closer to seven.

SW 4th Avenue Turn Lane

Commissioners authorized the City Manager to execute a contract with O’Steen Brothers, Inc. to construct the Southwest 4th Avenue turn lane modifications for $305,431 and to authorize the City Manager to authorize change orders up to 10 percent of the contract amount.

The project scope is the addition of left turn lane for westbound traffic on Southwest 4th Avenue onto U.S. Highway 27/41. The project was estimated to cost $180,000 originally, but project bid amounts came in at $305,000 - $715,000. The project is to be construction from June 1 – Aug. 1 to avoid school times. Staff indicated funding for the project was included in the approved Fiscal Year 2023 – 2024 budget.

#     #     #

Email cwalker@