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Improved housing options a priority for Gainesville in comprehensive plan update
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Comprehensive plan update public hearing

When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Public Safety Complex, 701 Queen City Parkway, Gainesville

Improving housing options is viewed as a top priority as the city of Gainesville is holding its second and final public hearing on a five-year update to its 2030 Comprehensive plan on Tuesday.

Time will be allotted for public comment during the city council meeting at the Public Safety Complex, 701 Queen City Parkway, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Planning Manager Matt Tate called the latest plan update that began in December as a “very accelerated” process.

Tate said a 15-member steering committee comprised of stakeholders and staff members held three meetings over a month. He said members looked at the community and assessed what were the top “keepers and fixers.”

Committee members agreed that the downtown and events held on the square, the education system, lake and diverse economic base are assets they agreed are keepers, according to Tate.

Housing was the most mentioned fixer, Tate added.

“I don’t think that surprises anyone,” Tate said. “What we got from the steering committee was (the need) for a better mix of housing options and a better quality of housing. There was a focus on areas where we have absentee landlords and aging housing that needs to be improved.”

Tate said another concern brought up was the need to improve accessibility to Lake Lanier.

“It’s an amenity to this community,” Tate said. “How do we really make that better? How do we access the lake better?”  

Community Development Director Rusty Ligon told officials at a city council work session Thursday that only minor changes were made to the more intensive work done in 2012 when the city adopted its 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

Ligon said the the effort five years ago took 18 months, included about a year’s worth of public involvement and many public meetings before the 2030 plan was adopted.

“It’s a really good document,” Ligon said. “It’s still valid today, we use it, we share it with others, it’s online, we reference it consistently. We just want you to know we’re still using that plan. We’re still happy with it.”

Georgia requires local governments to update their comprehensive plan every five years.

After Tuesday’s public hearing, Ligon said the document would be sent to the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for review. He said the plan would return to council for final adoption in June.