Area church alters plan for complex proposed near sensitive forest area


Published: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 12:22 a.m.

Facts

FYI: The Rock and its plans

  • The Rock wants to build a new complex on about 160 acres.
  • A new church will be built, along with six to eight classrooms for a bible college for up to 120 students at a time.
  • A small retail center with stores such as a coffee shop, religious bookstore and a copy center is also part of the plan. The residential element calls for 100 to 110 homes.

  • A proposed Newberry Road development by The Rock of Gainesville church has been resubmitted to accommodate part of the land that is considered "high quality significant habitat" under Alachua County codes.
    The development would include a sanctuary, bible college, stores and homes.
    The application was filed with the Alachua County Growth Management Department and is tentatively scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission in February and the County Commission in March.
    Gerry Dedenbach of the planning firm Causseaux & Ellington said minor revisions have been made to the initial plan submitted in February 2006.
    "We've modified our application slightly to meet the revised changes in the Alachua County land development code. We modified the open space, creating more open space," Dedenbach said. "We modified our layout slightly based on field information."
    Alachua County Senior Planner Jerry Brewington said the modification is trying to lop a part of the property out of the project area.
    Brewington added the county must decide if that is allowable under regulations.
    "There is a portion of the property that has many environmental issues. They have resubmitted excluding that from the planned development application," Brewington said. "We are trying to determine if they can do that. If it is under a unified control, basically you can't ignore it by just leaving it out. You can't just cut it out. You have to include it and then address it."
    Alachua County biologist Michael Drummond said the acreage in question is considered high-quality significant habitat under county codes. It is along the southern part of the tract.
    Because of the environmental significance of the land, the county could require that some of it be protected, Drummond said. It is pine and hardwood forest.
    Meanwhile, a part of the county code called the "planning parcel concept" prohibits splitting the parcels in a way that would provide less protection than if they were presented as one, he added.
    A review by county staff to determine if the acreage must remain in the project is still under way.
    Dedenbach and Brewington said the main plans - the types and sizes of buildings - remain the same.
    The proposal drew some concern from residents when it was submitted last year over traffic it could create - both on Newberry Road and potentially through nearby neighborhoods such as Hamilton Heights.
    The Rock is a nondenominational church on SW 24th Avenue. Its school with grades K-12 is also there.
    It wants to build a new complex on about 160 acres on Newberry Road west of 91st Street.
    A new church will be built, along with six to eight classrooms for a bible college for up to 120 students at a time.
    A small retail center with stores such as a coffee shop, religious bookstore and a copy center is also part of the plan.
    The residential element calls for 100 to 110 homes.
    Messages left with The Rock were not returned.
    Cindy Swirko can be reached at 374-5024 or swirkoc@gvillesun.com

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