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Hearing on petition challenging exclusionary zoning laws set for December 13

Press release from Gainesville Neighborhood Voices, Inc.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In response to a petition filed November 9, 2022 by longtime Gainesville residents Margaret H. (Peggy) Carr and Faye L. Williams challenging the City of Gainesville’s recent Comprehensive Plan amendments eliminating single-family zoning across the City, the City responded on November 14, 2022, seeking an “Expeditious Resolution.” The City’s Motion for Expeditious Resolution is here.  

According to Florida law, the administrative law judge is obliged to grant the City a hearing within 30 days, and he has scheduled that hearing to begin December 13, 2022.

On November 16, 2022, Alachua County filed a Motion to Intervene, “with its interests aligned with those of the Petitioners.” That motion was granted on November 17, and Alachua County will join Petitioners Carr and Williams in their challenge. The judge’s Order Granting Motion to Intervene is here.

The City’s amendments, passed by a narrow 4-3 vote of the City Commission, eliminate across the City, the single-family future land use designation that allows a maximum of 8 dwelling units per acre. They replace the single-family category with “Residential Low Density,” which allows 15 dwelling units per acre–nearly double the previous maximum density.  

The petition challenging this action by the City Commission alleges that the plan amendments are “not in compliance” because they are:

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  1. Not supported by, or are contrary to, the City’s data and analysis, in violation of Section 163.3177(1)(f) of Florida Statutes, and 
  2. Inconsistent with Section 163.3177(1) because they are internally inconsistent with and violate existing provisions of the City of Gainesville Comprehensive Plan.

The petition notes that Alachua County and the Florida Department of Transportation have challenged the City’s lack of appropriate data and analysis, while the State’s Department of Economic Opportunity recommended the City of Gainesville withdraw the amendment, for similar reasons.

The petition identifies more than a dozen portions of the City’s current Comprehensive Plan that the amendments violate. It notes that the City’s most recent, required assessment of its own Comprehensive Planning effort was done more than a decade ago and that the City’s Housing Data & Analysis Report, dated March 4, 2002, and posted on the City’s website, is more than twenty years old. Finally, the petition notes that the Comprehensive Plan amendments do not require that any affordable housing be provided.

Carr and Williams’ full Petition for Formal Administrative Hearing,  challenging the City of Gainesville, can be found here.

Carr and Williams’ petition was supported by Gainesville Neighborhood Voices, Inc. More information about the organization can be found at https://www.gainesvilleneighborhoodsunited.org   

Those wishing to contribute to the legal defense of this challenge can donate here.

  • If the judge lives in Gainesville in a home that had been single family residential, will he/she have to recuse?

  • The judge will hopefully wait until the new commission is seated before rendering a decision. Considering the holidays, that shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. It doesn’t really matter, but it would probably be easier for everybody that way (including the judge). Nobody would have to go to any emergency meetings regarding appealing the decision right before the holidays, etc. It would just be easier.

  • Now we got bums in RV’s coming from out of state and parking in the streets in residential areas instead of going to a campground… they need to close Grace marketplace down!
    It’s just a drug & thieves den 24/7 and bringing undesirables to our city.

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