Newberry aims for Florida’s longest zipline

Newberry’s Planning and Zoning Board approved several site plans and zoning exceptions at its Monday meeting, allowing developers to move to the next stages for an RV park, commercial plaza, and a huge zipline course.

The board greenlighted the site plan for phase 1 of Treehouse Village RV Resort that will be located north of downtown Newberry on SR 45. This phase plans for 300 sites that customers can rent indefinitely.

The city already allowed developers to build the RV park on the site at a previous meeting. Monday’s board only focused on the site plan, which details how the park would look.

The park plans 14,000 sq. feet of amenities with lighting that meets Newberry’s standard.

Chris Potts, director of engineering for JBPro, said the resort fails to meet Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) standards for a traffic light at any of its phases. However, the owners will pay for changes to SR 45 that will add turn lanes for vehicles coming north and south.

The resort looks to capitalize on people who travel the country in RVs, spending a week or two in each location. Board member Linda Woodcock said she worried about people staying for years and if that would impact the schools.

Potts said customers won’t be able to get a mailing address at the resort, which would eliminate the school concern. He also said the site will have a 25-foot barrier filled with various types of landscaping, from canopy trees to smaller shrubs.

City staff also said its utilities have enough capacity for the development—though the resort will rely on Clay Electric for electricity.

The board approved the plan unanimously.

A proposed land use change also made the board’s agenda. The application asked for a special change to 59 acres from “A” agricultural zoning in order to allow a zipline park.

The property is located east of NW CR 235, near the intersection with NW 46th Avenue. The land was a limestone quarry until 1975, and the industry left cliffs overlooking a lake on the site.

The Salmi family owns the property and decided to turn it into a zipline course—Zipline at Haile Quarry Adventure Park.

While the board’s action on Monday doesn’t give the plan final approval, the site plans to have nine towers for a variety of different lines, including the Mountain Top Ride, Start Ride, Dragon Ride and Jordan’s Jamboree Ride.

When finished, the agent for the owners said Newberry will boast the longest zipline in Florida—the Dragon Ride at 1,301 ft.—along with a dedicated handicap zipline.

The facility will contain limited buildings and include a helicopter landing site. According to the plans, the course will average 90 riders a day and will be open six days a week.

The plan also shows nominall changes to traffic with a peak hours increase of 11 trips.

The developer said the project should be economically viable out of the gate because of its proximity to Gainesville with UF and Santa Fe College. But the developer projected that the biggest boost will be I-75, with more than a million people driving past each month.

The board approved the land use change unanimously.

The board also unanimously allowed a site plan to continue for a 9.3-acre site that will house commercial development along Newberry Road.

The shopping center plaza will stand at the corner of Newberry Road and NW 242nd Street, east of Hitchcock’s. The plan keeps much of the tree cover in the area and proposes two buildings with 7,700 and 5,500 sq. feet.

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