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Gainesville City Council gives first OK to assisted living facility, home development
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Other business

• Gainesville City Council has approved the appointments of seven members to the first board of the newly formed Convention and Visitors Bureau.

They include Grier Todd, general manager of the Fairfield Inn & Suites; Sheri Hooper, executive director of Interactive Neighborhood for Kids; Morgan House, the newly minted manager of the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue; Mike Azotea, general manager of Buffalo Wild Wings; Richard Labriola, general manager of Hilton Garden Inn; Gainesville Parks and Recreation Director Melvin Cooper; and City Manager Kip Padgett.

City spokeswoman Catiel Felts said the board would likely hold its first meeting sometime later this month.

• The council also approved the appointment of Ab Hayes as assistant city attorney.

Hayes is a lawyer with the Gainesville firm Hulsey, Oliver & Mahar.

Gainesville City Council approved a zoning amendment Tuesday that will allow developer John Roberts to proceed with building a 55-home single-family subdivision off Wilson Drive.

Roberts, president of Alcovy-20 Inc., said his two-story homes will complement neighborhoods in the area, where sales prices are hovering around $150,000.

If all goes to plan, Roberts said he could break ground within a few months.

The property has languished undeveloped for about 10 years, and many proposals have come and gone in that time.

The city first approved a residential zoning for the land in 2004, when Roberts was proposing to construct 165 homes across an 82-acre parcel. But those plans fell through.

Then, in 2006, the land was zoned as part of a 126-acre parcel to allow for office, warehouse and retail developments.

One resident spoke in opposition to the project, expressing concerns about traffic, among other things.

However, Planning Manager Matt Tate said the size of the development did not warrant a traffic light at the intersection of Wilson Drive and U.S. 129. Moreover, the size did not warrant a traffic impact study.

Roberts asked council to consider allowing him to reduce the amount of sidewalk in the neighborhood as well as use materials other than brick for construction.

Councilman Sam Couvillon made a motion to approve this request, saying it would help make the homes more affordable for prospective buyers.

But other council members voted down this motion, saying it would make the development inconsistent with other homebuilding projects in Gainesville.

A second reading and final approval for the development to proceed will be held at council’s next meeting, July 15.

Meanwhile, City Council also gave the go-ahead to Beehive Homes of Gainesville to build an assisted living facility along South Enota Drive.

The 38-bed facility will be constructed in two phases.

The property is currently undeveloped and adjacent to single-family residences, a pharmacy and an elementary school.

Representatives from Beehive told the council they would ensure an adequate buffer is in place between the facility and neighboring homes.

A second reading and final approval of the rezoning needed for the development to proceed will be held at the council’s next meeting, July 15.