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State Department of Economic Opportunity recommends withdrawal of single-family housing ordinance

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A letter from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe recommends the withdrawal of the City’s Comprehensive Plan amendment that removes single-family zoning throughout the city, saying the amendment is inconsistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and that it “results in a scattered, unplanned, unfocused, and untenable approach to providing affordable housing.”

The letter, written by James Stansbury, Chief of the DEO Bureau of Community Planning and Growth, only provides one comment, which says the proposed amendment is inconsistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan “in such a manner as to adversely impact the provision of affordable housing for all current and anticipated future residents of the City” as required in the existing Comprehensive Plan. The letter goes on to say that this “inconsistent planning approach” will adversely impact the creation and preservation of affordable housing. It also says the amendment “may endanger the elimination of substandard housing conditions, the provision of adequate sites, and the distribution of housing for a range of incomes and types, including mobile and manufactured homes.”

The letter states that the amendment “assumes that the allowance of denser development will provide access to affordable housing,” but “the scattered location of this denser development is in no way guaranteeing efficient, effective, and directed access to affordable housing.”

The letter further states that the City’s policies require that UF and the private sector be responsible for providing housing for college students, but “data provided by the City indicates that student renters have been the primary beneficiaries of new rental housing built since 2000.” Solely increasing the amount of land available for housing, according to Stansbury, does not ensure that students do not “absorb the newly created rental housing rather than providing affordable housing for the City’s workforce.”

Stansbury also writes that the City, in opposition to its own policies, has “failed to analyze whether the addition of multifamily housing in existing stable neighborhoods is consistent with the plans developed” pursuant to their policies.

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The City also “did not adequately identify the magnitude of the impact of increasing density from 8 units per acre to 15 units per acre on every parcel currently designated Single-Family,” including addressing the provision of public facilities such as transportation, schools, potable water, wastewater, stormwater, etc. The letter says the change in density makes planning for future public facilities “challenging” and that the proposed amendment “is not meaningful and predictable” as required by Florida statutes.

In summary, the letter says that the amendment “results in a scattered, unplanned, unfocused, and untenable approach to providing affordable housing” and concludes with a recommendation that the amendment be withdrawn while the City considers a “sound planning approach to providing access to affordable housing in a manner that will be strategic, and focused, and based upon sound planning principles that will actually provide guaranteed affordable housing that is accessible from the City’s employment centers and not in such a careless way that will result in the opposite effect.”

The City can now choose to adopt the amendment, adopt it with changes, or not adopt it on second reading. The letter reminds the City that if comments from agencies such as DEO and the County are not resolved, they could form the basis for a challenge to the amendment after adoption.

The full letter can be read here.

  • “The letter says that the amendment “results in a scattered, unplanned, unfocused, and untenable approach…”

    That pretty much sums up the mindsets and thought processes of city leadership. Pretty much sums up many of the voters in Gainesville as well.

    Stupid is as stupid does…

    • the amendment “results in a scattered, unplanned, unfocused, and untenable approach…BUT YOU WIL GET RICHER!!!”
      They shown their colors…

  • If the Gainesville City Commisioners and Mayor are drug tested like all City Employees are required to do, I would like to see the results. If they are not required to be drug tested, do so. The majority will most likely fail.

  • A huge thank you to United Voices of Gainesville, and other groups who understand the implications–Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, the City’s Affordable Housing Committee, City Plan Board, and Historic Preservation Board, 1000 Friends of Florida, and the thousands of Gainesville residents who have spoken at meetings, written letters, and signed petitions in recent months.

    Let us all get back to the task at hand and address affordale housing directly with well thought out plans.

    • We can only hope Poe and Wards reign of terror over The City of Gainesville and GRU is reversed. After watching a little bit of the COG Commision meeting tonight and the Anarchy attitude towards Gaineville Taxpayers , Homeowners , and GRU Tax Slaves they will go thru with all the Mayhem they can create until the State removes them. They still don’t have a balance sheet and are approving budgets. GRU rate Increases , Taxe increases and of course City Spending money they do not have. Criminal !

    • I wouldn’t be so quick about shifting gears. Given the fact that the city has ignored all the people you list to this point, its going to take a lot more than a letter from some State board pointing out the obvious to stop this bunch.

      • 100% correct. Poe said exactly that in an interview. “Screw you Gainesville it will be done so deal with it”. My question now is what’s wrong with the other three he needs to pass this criminal activity? What’s going on here really?

  • If they think increasing the number of units allowed on a lot will increase affordable housing let’s say hypothetically a lot in a more upscale neighborhood builds a quadraplex and rents the units out. Does the commission think the rent will be divided equally as if it is one mortgage payment and therefore affordable? Or do they not realize that the property owner will use the units to generate income? So now the neighbors are upset and the issue of affordable housing is still not addressed. This is the most ridiculous shotgun plan. To the their credit they are not being a “lame duck” commission on their way out but geez they sure are making an even bigger mess than the previous years they have served. Why do they refuse to listen to the people and the higher ups that say this is absolutely dumb and not the way to handle the issue? Students have housing. Subsidized families have housing. Working class families struggle to find housing that is affordable and that is not in student housing or subsidized housing. I recently saw a graph or chart (and I can’t remember where) of the disproportionate tax payers in Alachua County. Perhaps a sales tax should be implemented. That way students are contributing to the betterment of the community. Addicts buying cigars for “blunts” and alcohol are contributing. Everyone contributes and it doesn’t fall on homeowners and people that pay for electricity. I may be mixing issues but I am beyond frustrated with all the things, mostly lack of reason and common sense. Families will continue to leave the city in droves and there will be zero tax base. Then what?

  • Damage Report: The face mask wearing fascist
    Commies on the GNV CC are crying and losing it like when Trump was first elected. 😂

  • After ALL the citizens time and efforts spent, now the state having to get involved, this dogmatic Mayor and those commissioners who have disrupted our City need to be fired immediately. Better yet fined and jailed for contempt.

    Governor DeSantis, please intervene and stop this madness.

    • And think of the poor planning staff! For years they’ve been having to write and rewrite new codes, only to see them defeated and revised again. DeSantis needs to come in and clean house — on the dais.

  • The city and GRU have an enormous $2 billion debt, based on “climate change” doomsday cult beliefs. The actual environment will suffer as a result of that false prophesy, and they’ll say “see, we were right”. You can’t win with liberals. It’s best to defeat them in elections, or to leave and let them defeat themselves, like they always do.

  • The disillusioned , Portland infested Commisioners like Harvey Ward and King Puff would argue with the Lord. They need to be sued and held accountable for this issue, GRU, and the many finaically ignorant attrocities the have caused. That is the only thing that will stop thier Mayhem.

  • We told them (the jack arses of the city commission) but they refused to listen. No wonder! “ scattered, unplanned, unfocused, and untenable” are the exact adjectives best used to describe them. Clean house now! Demand Ward, Poe Boy, Lying Hyphen Hayes, and Arrieola leave office tomorrow!!! They have systematically bankrupted this city over the last 4 to 5 years!

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