GAINESVILLE - Gainesville City Council members switched direction Tuesday night and approved a rezoning request that they had denied months ago.
Council unanimously voted in favor of a plan to rezone a .67-acre tract of residential property on Lanier Avenue between Thompson Bridge Road and Walker Street for residential/office use. Council last year voted unanimously against the rezoning, despite approval by the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board.
Several residents from the Riverside Drive community showed up at the meeting to ask council members to deny the rezoning. Spokesman Eddie Hartness likened the rezoning of the small tract of land to the anecdote of the "boiling frog," where a frog tossed into a pot of water dies as the heat is gradually increased.
"We see this [zoning changes] coming all the way back to Riverside and we see it going on down Enota and we see that neighborhood eventually being destroyed," said Hartness.
Property owner Kris Slate told Council she and her husband had tried using the tract as rental property, but were only able to attract undesirable tenants. She told council the redesignation from R-1 to R-O would not harm the neighborhood, since the structure would be for only "light" office use, such as an accountant or lawyer's office.