Gainesville Neighborhood Voices, Inc. Forms to Challenge Proposed Zoning Changes and Build a Better Future
July 29, 2022
Press release from Gainesville Neighborhood Voices, Inc.
On July 26, a diverse group of concerned citizens banded together to incorporate the Florida nonprofit organization Gainesville Neighborhood Voices, Inc. (GNV). The immediate purpose of the organization is to influence the outcome of the City Commission’s upcoming August 4th decision that could eliminate single-family land use zoning throughout the city. A slim majority, Mayor Lauren Poe and City Commissioners David Arreola, Reina Saco, and Adrian Hayes-Santos, are on record in support of this unconventional zoning change that would result in extensive negative impacts to Gainesville’s neighborhoods without generating the expressed goal of affordable housing. GNV includes residents from many Gainesville neighborhoods, affordable housing advocates, technical experts, and community leaders.
GNV President, Casey Fitzgerald of Ridgewood, stated, “The City’s almost unprecedented approach will cause numerous adverse, unintended consequences for Gainesville’s neighborhoods and will not solve Gainesville’s affordable housing problem in our lifetime. The most immediate and damaging impacts will occur in primarily Black neighborhoods by greatly increasing the rate of gentrification.”
Chief among GNV’s longer term goals is to work collaboratively to define a viable path forward that will result in affordable housing, equity, and smart growth. GNV plans to build trust with a network that protects the history and diversity of Gainesville neighborhoods and preserves the character of neighborhoods by preventing unwanted emigration and relocation of neighborhood residents and families.
Alachua County NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Committee Chair and GNV Director NKwanda Jah of the Duckpond stated that “dismantling neighborhoods through gentrification and zoning changes has not created housing for economically challenged residents of Gainesville. In fact, it has decreased housing opportunities for people employed in the private sector and by the City of Gainesville, University of Florida, and Alachua County.”
GNV is working with experts in state land use law and is planning to oppose the City’s elimination of single-family neighborhoods. Land use attorney Ralf Brookes noted that “gentrification pushes housing equity out of balance. Commercial expansion of student housing victimizes historic neighborhoods.”
In addition to Fitzgerald and Jah, GNV officers include Vice President Monica Frazier of Springhill, Treasurer Susan Mastin and Secretary Richard Allen of the Duckpond, and directors Peggy Carr of Florida Park, Wayne Fields of Azalea Trails, Reverend Ronald Foxx of Porters, and Kim Tanzer of Golfview.