Responsible growth is the issue
Published: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 2:16 a.m.
It is not a choice between no growth and uncontrolled sprawl. There will be growth. It is our job as citizens of Alachua County to plan for growth so that Gainesville will continue to be a wonderful place to live. We can have a world-class university and top-notch medical complex, and roads that are not clogged and congested, schools with enough space for all of our children, and clean water. That is why we have county and city comprehensive plans.
The SpringHills that the current developer wants is not wise growth. The original SpringHills plan was approved in 1999. What many of us are objecting to are the massive changes to the original plan that the new developer wants. The new plan doubles retail space to over 1.5 million square feet, and increases the number of housing units and their density. The county staff has admitted that this amount of retail would exceed demand many years down the road. Schools in the area are already above capacity and there is not enough space in the county for all of the students that the development would bring.
Traffic planners estimate SpringHills would generate 65,000 to 95,000 car trips a day (Newberry Road has about 52,000). To upgrade the roads to handle that amount of traffic would require $120 million. Even if the developers pay their share ($58 million), neither the city nor county has the remaining funds needed.
Responsible growth yes. SpringHills, no.
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