GNV commission to execute meeting changes, UF deal

The Gainesville City Commission meets 1 p.m. Thursday for its regular bi-weekly meeting, but a resolution tomorrow could bump the time to 10 a.m. along with changing the public comment format.

The full agenda is available with backup items at the city’s website. Here’s a preview of some of the top items below.

The public can attend the meetings in person at City Hall, watch online at Gainesville’s Facebook page or website or tune in on Channel 12.

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Campus Development Agreement

The commission decided to postpone conversation at the last meeting about UF’s new Campus Development Agreement. State law requires UF to reach agreements with the City of Gainesville and Alachua County about its building plans and impact on the surrounding community.

The current agreement runs through 2025, but UF wants to extend the deal to 2030 and include its new campus master plan for 2020-2030.

The new agreement updates the list of properties where UF pays for stormwater services, adds property at Newnans Lake, authorizes additional growth and revises the city and county level of service standards.

The city passed the agreement at its Sept. 27 and Nov. 4 meetings but delayed it at the last meeting in light of developments with on-campus graduate housing.

At the Nov. 4 meeting, commissioners asked for more information regarding the university’s plan to demolish 348 apartments at the Maguire Village and University Village South.

The next week, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners declined to approve the development agreement because of concerns over the same graduate housing.

In a Nov. 16 letter to the Gainesville commission, Charlie Lane, chief operating officer for UF, explained some of the university’s plans.

Lane said UF is phasing out the 348 apartments and developing “both quality and below-market rate” housing, with some of the new units available by fall 2022.

The apartments at Maguire Village and University Village South are over 50 years old and not constructionally competent enough for renovation, according to the letter.

“Frankly, our graduate students deserve better,” Lane said in the letter.

The Gainesville and Alachua County commissions worry about how less on-campus housing might affect off-campus low-income housing.

“As affordable housing is eliminated on campus, then those students are going to want to move to affordable housing they can find close to campus which then displaces campus employees that move further out and impacts public transportation, community services…that we feel as the county,” Alachua County Commissioner Mary Alford said at the commission’s November meeting.

H. Spurgeon Cherry Pool renovations

The commission will vote to approve a contractor to renovate parts of the H. Spurgeon Cherry Pool Aquatics Center at 1001 NW 31st Drive.

Staff held a bidding process that netted five proposals and recommends picking Blackwater Construction Services as the winner.

The contract for $1,497,587 will include a new roofing system, showers, restroom fixtures, lockers, benches, light fixtures, HVAC systems and a resurfaced parking lot.

The city has budgeted $1,602,337.87 from the Wild Spaces and Public Places sales tax.

Advisory boards nominations and resignations

On the consent agenda, the Gainesville commissioners will vote to approve three applicants for positions on the Gainesville Human Rights Board and Public Recreation and Parks Board.

The commission will also approve five resignations from three different boards: one from the Citizens Advisory Board or Community Development, three from the Gainesville Human Rights Board and one from the Student Community Relations Advisory Board.

Available spots on the city’s more than 25 boards are listed online for interested citizens.

Changes to the format of commission meetings

Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos proposed 17 changes to the way the commission runs its regular meetings at a General Policy Meeting in October.

Most of the changes met with broad support with the board voting 5-1 to approve 11 of the changes. Commissioner Desmon Duncon-Walker dissented.

Now the rules will come before the commissioners as a resolution for final approval and implementation.

The changes include moving the start time for regular meetings to 10 a.m. instead of 1 p.m., hearing public comment at the start of new items instead of the end, requiring in-person commenters to fill out a speaker card and removing public comment from procedural and administrative votes.

You can find a full rundown of all 17 proposed changes at our coverage of the General Policy Meeting.

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