City holds first zoning update workshop

Tuesday, in the first of six workshops held by the City of Gainesville, the city Planning Department discussed proposed changes to the T-6 Urban Core zoning district, which holds all of downtown and as far north as Sixth Avenue.

The city is in the process of updating the Land Development Code and the purpose of the workshops is to inform the public of the nature of the changes and to seek comments and answer questions about the proposal. The proposed updates were put forth by the city commission as a way to consolidate the Base Zoning District plan and the Special Area Plans, in order to make  building or opening a business an easier process.

Principal Planner Onelia Lazzari said that the proposals are meant to make the process more consistent and unify the quality of the potential redevelopment that the city is hoping to spur with initiatives like the forthcoming expansion in Innovation Square.

Zone T-6 will tentatively replace what is known as the Central City District (CCD), and only introduce minor tweaks to the area, such as allowing 200 units per acre – up from 150 – and allowing for a maximum building height of 12 stories, or 14 with special bonus intensity/density point incentives.

“We want to encourage high density where it’s appropriate, but protect the integrity of our historic districts and single-family neighborhoods,” said city planner Scott Wright during the meeting. All homes in the area already zoned for single-family units will remain that way, he said, and the city is putting into place safeguards to prevent towering walls all through the area by instituting terraced high-rise construction for potential buildings that might run up against homes. After a certain height, each subsequent story will have to move back by 15 feet.

The proposed changes will have to go through a series of workshops and revisions before moving on the public hearings and city commission hearings in May before the Planning Department can begin working with the city attorney. Changes wouldn’t come into effect until 2015 at the earliest, Wright said.

Subsequent meetings will be held at the GRU Multi-Purpose Room, 301 SE Fourth Ave, on Feb. 25, and March 5, 12, 19 and 26.

More information about the proposed updates can be found at

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