Alachua County’s urban cluster continues filling in with approved development projects coming around Jonesville and Tioga.
The following five projects could see shovels in the ground this year, and more could always come.
Extension of Parker Road
The county has eyed expanding Parker Road (122nd Street) for decades. Chris Dawson, transportation planning manager, said the last several years have involved contracts to acquire the rights to build on the land.
Parker Road is currently north to south between Newberry Road, at West End ER, and Archer Road, near Christian Life Academy. The county looks to pave north of Newberry Road, running Parker Road all the way to 39th Avenue.
But the first phase will only take the new road far enough north to connect with NW 17th Avenue. The county estimated the project at $2.5 million, but Dawson noted that inflation keeps escalating prices.
Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) and private property owners need to give permission, and as the road continues north, more property owners will become involved along with a process to navigate a strategic ecosystem in the area.
“We again don't have current right away,” Dawson said in November. “So, we'll be looking at what makes the most sense from a design standpoint for that road as it continues north.”
Dawson said the first phase will serve as a collector road and give nearby neighborhoods an easier exit. He said the road won’t add any new traffic to Newberry Road, and the county must conduct a study of the intersection to determine that the extension won’t impede flow.
Because a light already exists, Dawson said that makes the project easier, switching from a three-way stoplight to a typical four-way.
Even if the new road added traffic, Dawson said Newberry Road still has peak hour capacity according to the Florida Department of Transportation’s data. Newberry Road can handle around 3,580 trips during the peak hour. In 2021, Dawson said the road totaled 2,091 trips during the peak hour, leaving room for nearly 1,500 more trips.
He said the numbers are the department’s way to quantify the roads instead of just relying on people’s feelings about how busy it should be.
“It's hard because we're all drivers,” Dawson said. “Everybody drives the car, and what we think is appropriate might vary from person to person, as opposed to the Department of Transportation.”
Jonesville Business Park TND
Located just north of the Jonesville Publix, a traditional neighborhood development will install around 554 multi-family units with 10,000 square feet of commercial space on 68 acres.
With final approval in October, the project can move forward.
Located just north of the West End subdivision, Buchanon Trails received preliminary approval in 2022. The 176-single-family-unit subdivision would sit on 67 acres and likely access the new Parker Road extension.
The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) raised concerns in July 2022 about connectivity issues. But the commissioners gave their consent following two substitute motions.
The motions also require heavy construction traffic to route through Parker Road, even if it’s only the dirt road currently there.
Aldi at Nobel on Newberry
The county’s Development Review Committee approved a 21,000-square-foot Aldi to build in front of the Nobel on Newberry apartments next to the O2B Kids.
The store will form the latest phase of the overall plan, which includes two other 1,700-square-foot retail spaces.
Just across NW 143rd Street from the proposed Jonesville Business Park, the Sands Corporation bought 22 acres in November to build 249 rental units and around 50,000 square feet of non-residential space.
The BOCC approved the preliminary plan in December. The applicant said the units will average $1,800 a month and fall along market trends.
Citizens pointed to some of these developments as reasons the BOCC should keep the West End Golf Course a recreational space instead of another housing complex. The BOCC sided with the local residents, denying the application.