Proposed Newberry Road complex gets initial OK


Published: Friday, January 20, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 11:57 p.m.
Regulatory changes to allow a proposed complex of homes and shops along Newberry Road will next be considered by the Alachua County Commission after the project earned initial approval early Thursday morning.
The county Planning Commission around 2 a.m. voted in favor of a comprehensive plan amendment to allow Newberry Village, a mix of 900 residences, 240,000 square feet of commercial space and 27,000 square feet of office space. County commissioners are set to vote on the amendment Feb. 14. State approval also will be needed.
"There is still work to be done to continue to clarify and validate the market analysis," said Gainesville attorney David Coffey, who represents the developers. "We are working to be able to present clearly exactly what is being done."
Staff at the county's Growth Management Department had recommended denial of the amendment, saying Newberry Village would overload traffic on Newberry Road and create too much commercial space.
Traffic from the development would not fit under concurrency laws that require adequate road space to handle added cars when a development is completed. Developers are seeking an exception from concurrency based on mass transit that will be extended to the site. Coffey added that a network of connected roads will divert some traffic from the Newberry Road/Fort Clarke Boulevard intersection.
Coffey also contends a market analysis shows the need for future retail space in the vicinity, adding he believes the county can come to an agreement with developers on that.
Alachua County Principal Planner Steve Lachnicht told The Sun after the meeting that the market study is subject to debate.
"You have to assess the numbers - what is really the competing market versus the supply?" Lachnicht said. "It's one of those issues, like economics, where you get different results with whoever is doing the math. They convinced the Planning Commission they had justification for it."
A presentation on the project will be made to the County Commission next month. If commissioners approve it, the matter will be sent to the state Department of Community Affairs for review.
Cindy Swirko can be reached at (352) 374-5024 or swirkoc@gvillesun.com

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