ALACHUA ‒ The City of Alachua Commission and the Alachua County Commission held their annual joint meeting on May 22. The County revealed plans to construct three new fire stations, one located between High Springs and Alachua on CR 235A south of Highway U.S. 441 and another in San Felasco Tech City between Alachua and Gainesville. The third will be located near Haile in Gainesville.

The City of Alachua Commission approved an interlocal agreement for Alachua County’s Tree Planting Program, which plants trees throughout the county. Since 2018, the program has planted and maintained 1,116 trees in all nine county municipalities. The two main priorities of the next five-year program will be on road segments where traffic calming is most needed and varied transportation choices are most likely to be utilized, such as schools, commercial centers, employment centers, and service centers including libraries, parks, churches and community centers.

The second priority will concentrate locations that facilitate shade and buffering for pedestrians, cyclists, buildings, parking lots, and recreational amenities. The County commission requested approval to continue the program on City of Alachua property and the Alachua City Commission agreed to the proposal.

In other City business, the Alachua City Commission recognized Teachers of the Year from Alachua schools. Annually, schools throughout Alachua County select a “Teacher of the Year” to represent their respective schools. For Alachua, there were four teachers representing each school in the city. Alachua Mayor Gib Coerper presented certificates to Jazzlyn Harrell of Alachua Elementary School, Kimberly Young of W.W. Irby Elementary School, Natalie Watkins of A.L. Mebane Middle School and Ellen Frattino of Santa Fe High School.

The Alachua City Commission gave final approval to rezone a 306-acre property that backs up to Briarwood Phase 1 Subdivision that fronts CR 235A. The newly rezoned property will be home to Briarwood Town Center, a 306.34-acre property that fronts U.S. Highway 441. The City Commission approved changing the City’s Official Zoning Atlas for Briarwood Town Center from Agricultural (“A”) (Alachua County), Community Commercial (“CC”), and Residential Multiple-Family -8 (“RMF-8") to Planned Development – Residential (“PD-R”) and Planned Development – Commercial (“PD-COMM”) on the property. The proposed PD-R zoning district allows for 598 single family residential units, and 15,000 square feet for amenity buildings.

The proposed PD-COMM zoning district allows for 350 multi-family residential units, and 500,000 square feet of non-residential. Most of the site would permit a variety of residential uses including single family attached, and detached, and townhouses. Multiple family would be permitted only within designated areas located internal to the PD-R portion of the property. Access to the proposed development would be provided at six locations, with four new or revised access points to the U.S. Highway 441 and two new connections to the existing Briarwood subdivision.

In November 2020, the Alachua City Commission has approved the final plat for Briarwood Phase1 subdivision, which is located in the 17000 block of CR 235A, west of CR 235A and Santa Fe High School, south of the Meadowglen subdivision, and north of the Santa Fe Hills subdivision. Phase 1 received approval for 84 homes on 28.99 acres and is currently under construction.

The Commission also considered and approved an Infrastructure Plan proposing the construction of roadways, utility infrastructure, and stormwater management facilities to support future commercial development on a on a 13.93-acre property southwest of the intersection of U.S. Highway 441 and CR 235-A at the development of Santa Fe Crossings. The development will construct two new private roads connecting to U.S. Highway 441 and CR 235-A. Stormwater will be conveyed to an on-site stormwater management facility located in the southeastern portion of the site.

In other business, the Commission also approved a resolution on usage of the Wild Spaces Public Places (WSPP) and Infrastructure Distribution plan. The ballot initiative was passed by a majority of Alachua County voters in the Nov. 8, 2022 general election. The Alachua County Commission has proposed $6 million total in grant funds from WSPP and Infrastructure Sales Tax to the City of Gainesville, and an additional $6 million collectively to all nine Alachua County municipalities. This would leave an even split among all municipalities in the County, excluding Gainesville, for a total of $750,000.

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