Weyerhaeuser restarts vast project for north Gainesville

plumcreek we In: Weyerhaeuser restarts vast project for north Gainesville | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

Trees we need, people we don’t.

Plum Creek all over again.  If you live in Gainesville, please contact your commissioner to voice opposition to 1,300 new homes for which we do not have water.

To Mr. Jackson (see below) we could comment that duration of being wrong does not garner nor merit rewards.

“We’re just asking for fairness,” Jackson said. “I mean, we have been at this, as you can see, from October 2017 … to just say ‘Okay, we’re not even going to hear the application’ is something I’ve never heard of a city doing.”

Kudos to the commissioners for the delay.  Let’s make the delay permanent.

Here is a link to the original article.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-

Weyerhaeuser restarts vast project for north Gainesville

Tract of 1,800 acres is the largest undeveloped chunk of land in the city of Gainesville.

A proposal to build the largest subdivision the county has seen in decades on the largest remaining undeveloped green space in Gainesville is on hold — at least for now, city commissioners decided Thursday.

The Weyerhaeuser Company, the country’s largest private owner of timberlands, has been steadily chipping away at a plan to bring a 1,300-home subdivision to northwest Gainesville but has hit a series of roadblocks along the way.

Thursday proved to be another obstacle, but elected officials say the extra effort will be beneficial for both sides in the end.

City commissioners decided to pump the brakes on what’s already been a decade-long process for the Weyerhaeuser development, citing concerns about expanding wetlands and neighboring communities.

The 1,778-acre site is located along the east and west sides of State Road 121, just north of U.S. 441, and would be the largest subdivision built in Alachua County since Haile Plantation went up nearly 40 years ago.

“It’s a big deal,” Commissioner Harvey Ward said. “We’re talking about 1,800 acres, upon which there is essentially nothing right now.”

When Plum Creek bought the land, it had agricultural land use and zoning, meaning no homes could be built there. The property was eventually annexed into the city limits with the idea of developing the area. For years, the site posed challenges due to its patches of residential and conservation land use throughout the property, but zoning never changed. Under the city’s rules, land use and zoning must be changed in order to build.

Back then, the land had much smaller patches of wetlands, which have since grown, like other areas in much of the county.

In 2015, Plum Creek was acquired by Weyerhaeuser. Two years later, a zoning change request had been approved by the city’s plan board, but with conditions, and was headed to a public hearing and commission’s approval. The project, however, has remained in standstill, largely to comply with city staff requests.

Tim Jackson, a director of development for Weyerhaeuser, asked commissioners Thursday to stick with the original plans and to hold a public hearing for zoning changes, adding that the company had recently complied with all city requests.

“We’re just asking for fairness,” Jackson said. “I mean, we have been at this, as you can see, from October 2017 … to just say ‘Okay, we’re not even going to hear the application’ is something I’ve never heard of a city doing.”

Commissioners argued that Weyerhauser’s map was dated and voted to restart the process from scratch. Commissioners agreed it was best to have the property zoned as agricultural and have Weyerhaeuser shape the plan around the expanded sensitive land that has significantly changed over the years.

“I don’t think just moving forward with the previous plans that the Weyerhaeuser group had is appropriate to where the new weather conditions in the wetlands are,” Commissioner Helen Warren said.

Other commissioners said the plan should include affordable housing and mixed-use developments. Currently, the plan calls for 1,035 single-family homes and 265 multi-family units. It is unclear how much Thursday’s action will impact the company’s plan, but it certainly delays any development from moving forward, for now.

Andrew Persons, the city’s Department of Doing director, said the site is unique due to its mass green space and history.

“I don’t think we have any other property like it in Gainesville,” he said.

1 Comment

  1. Florida is already dying because greed has triumphed too many times. Expecting to sell those homes to the ignorant and gullible who don’t know they are moving into an ecological disaster zone is criminal. Most Florida waters are already too toxic to swim in, too toxic to eat the fish or seafood, and in some areas too toxic to even breathe the air. Adding over a thousand households only magnifies current problems.

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