State department files for hearing on GNV zoning

Mayor Lauren Poe listens during Thursday's City Commission meeting.
Mayor Lauren Poe listens during a recent City Commission meeting. (File photo by Seth Johnson)
Photo by Seth Johnson

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has filed for a formal administrative hearing about the city of Gainesville’s new exclusionary zoning changes, starting the second hearing about the zoning amendments.  

The DEO advised the city to reevaluate the zoning changes during its state-mandated review in September, but the city moved forward and approved the zoning ordinances in a 4-3 vote on Oct. 17.  

Gainesville citizens Margaret H. (Peggy) Carr and Faye L. Williams filed a hearing about the ordinances that eliminate single-family zoning across the city. Alachua County, which also presented concerns prior to the final passage of the change, joined the hearing with those citizens. That hearing will begin Dec. 13.  

Become A Member

Mainstreet does not have a paywall, but pavement-pounding journalism is not free. Join your neighbors who make this vital work possible.

A date for the hearing between Gainesville and the DEO has not yet been set, according to the Division of Administrative Hearings website.  

In the state’s filing, the DEO claims the ordinances negatively impact a strategic state resource—affordable housing. The ordinances also create inconsistencies within Gainesville’s comprehensive plan, according to the filing. 

“The City is doing this with nothing more than the hope that the market will create and preserve affordable housing…,” the filing reads.  

In a response to the state’s initial concerns, Mayor Lauren Poe sent a letter to the DEO that countered some of its claims. The letter said the DEO stepped outside its authority and failed to present evidence that the city’s amendment would adversely impact affordable housing. 

“However, the City disagrees that the Department may in a cursory and sweeping manner claim ‘affordable housing’ is an ‘important state resource or facility’ that gives the Department special authority under the statutory expedited state review process to provide comment to the City’s Amendment,” the Gainesville letter said.  

In the DEO filing, the state called the city’s argument without merit. The filing also said the new amendment undermines Gainesville’s Housing Element Goal 3 that requires the city to help develop plans that address neighborhoods’ character, stability, safety, infrastructure and historic resources.  

The city’s changes also undermine Florida Statute that limits only UF and the private sector from creating student housing, according to the state filing.  

“Based on its own data, it is simply illogical for the City to argue that by entirely removing the concept of lower density detached residential dwellings, and doing so with no incentives or restrictions to promote the creation and preservation of affordable housing, that it is doing anything more than helping provide housing to college students and higher income residents,” the filing says.  

The city also denied the above claim. It said there’s no logic or evidence to support that the city is breaking the Florida Statute, limiting the creation of student housing to UF or the private sector, by amending city ordinances to allow the private sector to build different housing.   

Read the full DEO filing along with the city’s response here.  

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Infuriated citizen

In the last 10 years, Lauren Poe has been involved in so many disastrous policies that have hurt Gainesville residents. From the Biomass debacle to creating a hands off, self governing bloated city government.
He needs to disappear from public office forever.