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Clemons and Perry ask Secretary Eagle to take leadership in developing policies to stop City of Gainesville’s proposed elimination of single-family zoning

Slide from City presentation on Defining Neighborhood Scale Multi-family Use

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Rep. Chuck Clemons (R-21) and Sen. Keith Perry (R-8) have sent a letter to Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Secretary Dane Eagle, asking for his help in delaying the implementation of the City of Gainesville’s proposed inclusionary/exclusionary zoning ordinances until the legislature can address the issues next spring. The proposals include the elimination of single-family zoning throughout the city and the elimination of occupancy limits in a zone near the university.

The letter admits that elimination of occupancy and bedroom limits would not normally fall under the purview of the DEO, but the zoning changes will require review by DEO after they are passed by the Gainesville City Commission. Clemons and Perry agree that there is a need for more affordable housing, but they say “the solution can’t punish and put in jeopardy the investment, the safety, and the quality of life of existing residents.”

Clemons and Perry point out that the changes will not apply to newer planned-development neighborhoods that have covenants on the parcels but will mainly affect neighborhoods that are historic and that pre-dated the advent of the concept of covenants; thus, the letter says, people in gated communities will be “held harmless” while those in historic neighborhoods “will see the value of their similar properties decrease.”

The letter predicts that other metropolitan areas will adopt these zoning changes if they are implemented in Gainesville, “culminating in an array of adverse outcomes.”

The changes would allow multi-family quadruplexes to be built in neighborhoods that have been characterized by single-family homes for decades. Elimination of occupancy limits would allow “any number of individuals to cohabitate in single-family units in those same neighborhoods,” the letter says. The legislators fear that these changes could bring in “a revolving door of any number of transitory vehicles and individuals whose commitment to the well-being of the neighborhood is nonexistent.”

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Clemons and Perry say that residents are prepared to file a Bert Harris Private Property lawsuit if the ordinances pass, “contending that these government actions have led to a diminution in their investment and the enjoyment of their property,” but the “City Commission seems undeterred.”

The letter states that existing statutes “need greater clarity” because “these concepts had historically seemed so unconscionable.” Clemons and Perry are asking Eagle for a meeting with him and members of his staff to discuss the issues and ask the Secretary to take leadership in developing policy remedies to “stifle this attack on single-family neighborhoods.” 

Perry told Alachua Chronicle that if the City Commission wants to increase the supply of affordable housing, they should first look at reducing the regulatory burden on developers and landlords to reduce the costs of building new housing and providing rental housing. Perry said the commission should also work to reduce GRU’s electric rates, which drastically increase the cost of living for Gainesville residents.

Clemons told Alachua Chronicle that instead of declaring war on single-family neighborhoods, the Gainesville City Commission should do something about the skyrocketing GRU electric bills. He added, “My colleagues and I are currently working with agencies of the State to stand up for homeowners and protect their rights and their single-family neighborhoods.”

  • Hell yeah!!!!!! It’s about time a Political Adult starts to take action against the “Po” comrades!

  • Great news. It sounds like they will be protecting the whole state from the woke foolishness – good job Poe, Hayes-Santos, Arreola, Saco.

  • Vote out permanently and prevent the commissioners AND our Mayor that have caused so much harm to our community. Do not elect Arreola, Ward, Hayes, Saco, especially Poe to another office EVER.
    They don’t listen to any opposition whatsoever need to be banned from office.

  • Thank you Perry & Clemons. I am a homesteader
    In a single family neighborhood near UF. I purchased
    In a single family neighborhood for quality of life and
    Peace & quiet and the beautiful tree canopy. Thanks
    For protecting our single family neighborhoods from
    Out of town investors who just want to ruin neighborhoods and charge high rents to make a buck.
    I work everyday and need to go to sleep by 10pm and
    Don’t need a bunch of college kids partying until who
    Know when and then I have to call the cops. Affordable
    Housing my ass! They charge like $1000/mo for units
    Near UF. You think they are going to house the worlds’
    Homeless with section 8 near UF? What’s next, rent control? See how many units get built if you mandate
    That you can’t charge more than $300/unit.

  • Refreshing to see our elected representatives listening to the legitimate concerns of their constituents and taking ACTION to represent us and not just making politically expedient comments (Harvey).

  • This is stupid. these two NIMBY politicians are protesting the end of single family zoning and their solution is deregulation of the building industry? NEWS FLASH GUYS. Ending Single family zoning IS a deregulation of the residential building industry that DOES reduce the cost of building.

    The solution they are pushing IS the solution they are opposing.

    Complete hypocrisy. They just want the state to artificially maintain property values in the area and deny property owners the right to do with their property as they wish (which includes building homes that aren’t single family, like duplexes).

    I wish the Gainesville city government resolve in maintaining their course in ending single family zoning, and hope no-one obstructs it. NIMBYism has no future and no solutions to the housing crisis: its time we tried building more houses to fix the issue, and the Gainesville local government is on the right track.

    • You can already build granny suites now. Plus higher density along busy streets already — where infrastructure can handle the increased residents.

  • Republicans and conservatives love to claim they love “home rule”. Here are Perry and Clemons wanting big outside government to overrule local home rule. Inside every conservative is a pure 100% hypocrite.

  • Excellent that some are listening and thinking strategically–beyond the impact on our city. Any ordinance passed in one city–such as unlimited occupancy and elimination fo single family homes in Gainesville–can certainly lead to an impact in other cities around the state, and inintended consequences.

    We DO want affordable housing for those who are economically challenged. Lack of affordable housing and high rents are a national problem right now. The proven solutions are direct programs, not some “trickle down never going to happen in years” policy.

    Let is work together on direct ways to provide affordable housing now–not a $50M bond. suggestions include changing zoning in non-residential aseas to allow some residential uses. City land such as the Power District should not be sold off the developers. City land could be used for affordable housing. Existing homes could be rehabilitated. So much can be done that is proven to work.

  • Absolutely on target. Residents are fleeing G’ville to the satellite Cities thus creating infrastructure concerns. We cannot handle exponential growth due to ridiculous ill-thought out policies.

  • Important clarification. Elimination of occupany limits was proposed to be city-wide not just around the university.

    Minimum HUD standards allow 50 square feet per person in a shared 100 square foot bedroom. So 12 units of four (4) 100-square foot bedrooms each could have up to 96 people living on a one-acre parcel, and let us not forget where to park their vehicles. I am surprised that the current City Commission could not see a problem with the minimum standards they proposed for multifamily construction within a single family neightborhood!

  • I think the proposed ‘solution’ is to lower utility costs if people want more affordable housing costs. You seem to have missed the point. NIMBY is an apt analogy, except it’s also front yard, side yard, etc.

  • Recently came across an old article that reminded me of a previous darling proposal from our BOLD city commission to bring more cheap housing to town.

    Does anyone remember their “tiny house” phase; those cool looking structures commissioners swore would solve all our housing problems until a reality check ultimately forced the recognition of these units as basically house trailers with deceptively cute trim packages; died a very quiet, sudden, and unobtrusive death as I recall.

    Now the commission majority is back with another “absences of the thought process” proposal to once again give a blank check to developers to continue their wholesale destruction of what’s left of Gainesville’s overall character.

    While definitely not a fan of Perry and Clemons I’ll certainly support them on this if that’s what it takes to stop the commission majority from ramming this one through because they recognize their time as a political force is coming to an end and it’s now or never.

    • They resolved tiny house plans by simply allowing granny suites again (banned previously), as well as efficiency units again (also banned). The problem is they’re almost all rentals by absentee landlords. Regressive and not affordable.

  • It seems the City Commission is using Covid to restrict in person publice comment at the upcoming meetting. Do these people have no shame.

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – As the most recent COVID-19 data for our community continues to mirror the rising infection rates across the nation, seating will remain limited during Gainesville City Commission meetings and other board meetings.

    The evening portion of the commission meeting Thursday, Aug. 4 will include the proposed ordinances amending the single-family (exclusionary) land use category and zoning districts. Socially-distanced seating will be available inside the chambers and in the Roberta Lisle Kline Conference Room, located in the basement of City Hall.

    Ways to make a public comment for the Aug. 4 meeting include:

    Pre-recorded comment:
    Dial 352-334-5003 to record a general public comment voicemail message (up to 3 minutes). Recorded messages will played during the meeting. The public comment line opens by 8 a.m. Friday and closes at noon Wednesday prior to the meeting.

    Written public comment:
    By mail: City of Gainesville, City Clerk: P.O. Box 490, Station 19, 32627-0490
    By email: citycomm@gainesvillefl.gov

    By e-comment:
    Visit the Agendas and Minutes webpage for information on submitting a written comment online before or during the meeting.

    Comment by telephone:
    Dial toll-free 1-800-742-1099. During the 5:30 p.m. session of this meeting, neighbors may call in to share a public comment live.
    A moderator will call on you when it is your turn to speak. Please mute the sound on your computer/device if you are watching the meeting online. State your name clearly for the record.

  • The commenter font is bigger than the article font. These Personal Bloggers have something Big to say

  • So in other words you fork out money to buy land and a home ,pay taxes ECT . Then they turn your quiet neighborhood into a dump because the county in the city are trying to force people out of the area without using intimate domain. Your property taxes go up while the value of your home and your land go in the toilet if this happens the way they want it to.

    • Correct. That is what King Poe and his mindless Minions want. No one else wants . just them . Sh!!t for Brains.

  • If the city wants more residents coming to pay our taxes and bills, they should advertise “move to Gainesville” in California, NY, NJ, IL, OR, etc. Those residents will think we have a bargain here. They’ll come and drive up our housing values, so we can leave and retire somewhere else.

  • Although I am not fully informed about this situation locally, in general it is clear that the push for less single-family housing and greater population density is a step backwards in social evolution, and a big step away from individual freedom and liberty.

  • The City has failed to show that multi-family zoning changes will be effective in providing “affordable housing” – a nebulous concept. They have also failed to define the affordable housing concept and the long-term outcome of multi-family zoning changes in sufficient detail with analysis by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.

    As recklessly presented and approved, the outcome could bring about a cancer of financial disasters equal to, or greater than the Commission’s Biomass generator folly.

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