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Gainesville City Council approves Lanier Avenue rezoning

POSTED: January 8, 2014 12:30 a.m.

An acre of property on Lanier Avenue in Gainesville is now residential-office, as opposed to strictly residential.

The house in question sits behind SunTrust Bank on Thompson Bridge Road. It’s been used as a rental property, but landowner Michael Slate plans to convert the single-family home into an office.

Opponents are concerned the change will bring more traffic to the surrounding roads.

Attorney Ryan Reid, representing Slate, addressed the opposition to the rezoning at the Tuesday City Council meeting.

“The reason that they have this opposition is they live back behind there, and they’re concerned with the commercial use creeping into the neighborhood,” Reid said. “What we’re asking for here is really going to help them and help the appearance of this area.”

The issue was brought in front of the council early in 2013, but was denied then. With council members Ruth Bruner and Bob Hamrick absent, the council approved the request at the Tuesday meeting.

“Where do you think the traffic for this building is going to go?” asked Eddie Hartness, representing Riverside Commons Homeowners Association, during the public hearing portion of the request. “Are they going to go back out and try to cross Thompson Bridge Road to go back into town? No. They’re going to go right up to Lanier (Avenue), turn down Walker (Street) or go hit Riverside (Drive) and put more traffic on those arteries. Traffic that’s unnecessary.”

Slate has said the property would be used for a small office setting.

Councilman George Wangemann agreed with Reid, saying he thinks it will ultimately improve the appearance of the neighborhood. He also said a small office business should not increase traffic to that extent.

“Looking at what (they) want to do over there, I dug down deep into myself and I really think it’s going to be an improvement over what you had there before,” he said. “And I believe the owners of the building will take care of it.”

There are five conditions on the rezoning, including any replacement structures must resemble a residential home, any parking areas should be located to the west side or behind the existing structure, there should only be one sign of a certain size, existing trees on the property should be maintained, and a certificate of occupancy should be obtained for future professional office use.

Separately at Tuesday’s meeting, council members approved a resolution to bring the Gainesville Police Department’s records management system up to date.

The software, through SunGard Public Sector, comes at an initial price tag of $399,320. It will streamline the filing process for officers, allowing them more time in the field.

Police Chief Brian Kelly previously said he hopes the new system will be in place by July.


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