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Tuesday March 2nd, 2021 6:17AM

Gainesville City Council okays alcohol changes and zoning swap

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – The Gainesville City Council approved a change to the city’s alcoholic beverage ordinance Tuesday evening, a change that better mirrors new state laws and reduces the frequency with which the city’s need to amend its local ordinances, while allowing greater latitude for Gainesville merchants during the coronavirus pandemic.

Included in the new regulation is a provision allowing for home delivery of alcoholic beverages and modifications to the regulations governing outdoor service of alcohol.  “We’re modifying some our local regulations to assist our local restaurants as they’ve had to adjust in this world of COVID, trying to help them with the outdoor dining,” Gainesville City Manager Bryan Lackey told city council members.

“A lot of our restaurants in town have tried to go to outdoor dining…so there’s a few changes there to make it easier for them,” Lackey said.

“We tend to have to touch the alcoholic beverage ordinance once every year or so,” Lackey added.  To reduce the frequency with which the city has to amend local alcohol ordinances to reflect changes in state policy and hold any required public hearings, Lackey told council the new ordinance will reference state law instead.  “We’re just going to reference state law…so in the future if the state tweaks or changes (the state alcohol regulations), as long as we are referencing state law those changes will become automatic.”

The ordinance was approved 5-1 with Councilman George Wangemann dissenting.

ZONING FLIP-FLOP APPROVED

Unanimous approval was given to a request by developer Scott Stringer to “exchange” the zoning of two sections (or pods) of property owned by Butler Property, LLC, each located on opposite ends of the massive 605-acre Mundy Mill Subdivision.

Commercial realtor Billy Powell, representing the developer and the property owner, said that Stringer’s plan is to construct apartments previously approved for a rear section of the subdivision on a parcel near the main entrance into the subdivision.  The office and warehouse zoning for that main entrance parcel would then shift to the rearmost property.

“As you know those units have been approved since 2004,” Powell told council members regarding the apartment zoning his clients want to relocate. “And it’s getting little to no attention because they are removed from eyesight, if you will, removed from traffic.”

Powell said moving the apartments to the front of the complex will enhance the ability to rent the units and attract business to nearby retail units that are also planned.

Gainesville Community and Economic Deputy Director Matt Tate said during hearings before the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board last month, “There is no additional square footage of non-residential space and there’s no additional multi-family units, it’s just simply relocating that space within the mixed use development.”

The rezoning amendment was approved unanimously.  The developer said work on the apartment complex should begin this summer.

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Gainesville City Council okays alcohol changes and zoning swap
The Gainesville City Council approved a change to the city’s alcoholic beverage ordinance Tuesday evening.
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