GAINESVILLE – The lone obstacle preventing the sale of two downtown, city owned vacant lots to Atlanta developer Terwilliger Pappas was final approval of a rezoning request.
That obstacle was removed Tuesday evening by the Gainesville City Council. Both the site at the end of the pedestrian sky bridge, and the former county jail site, were rezoned Planned Unit Development (PUD) unanimously.
City councilman Zach Thompson was delighted that the closing on the properties could now happen and he expressed those feelings.
“Man, are we ready for this project,” Thompson said smiling broadly. “This is a piece of property that we have talked about and has been in our community for a long time and we’re excited about the opportunity that we have.”
“We are ready to get this thing started; if it would have started yesterday it wouldn’t have been soon enough,” Thompson added.
Affordable housing advocate Joshua Silavent of Gainesville spoke during public comment prior to the vote, saying he didn’t oppose the rezoning but wanted the city to work as diligently at finding affordable housing solutions as they did in finding a developer for the two vacant lots.
Silavent said he knows there is no singular answer to the affordable housing challenge. “Cure-alls are not the point, nor what I seek; the fix rather simply lies at chipping away at the problem little, by little, by little.”