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Planning board postpones decision on Waldrip proposal
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A decision on a high-density development on Enota and Yonah avenues will wait until property owners meet with the neighborhood residents.

The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board voted Tuesday to postpone until October a discussion on Jack Waldrip’s application to increase the number of units in the previously approved 3.42-acre planned unit development from 8.47 dwelling units per acre to 15.49 dwelling units per acre.

The plan to build 13 single-family homes, ranging in size from 1,200 to 2,000 square feet, and 40 one-bedroom apartments that would be built in two, two-story buildings drew a room full of concerned neighborhood residents to Tuesday’s planning meeting.

But before those residents had a chance to state those concerns, Waldrip’s partner and fellow property owner, Al Gainey, asked the board to table the discussion until the property owners could meet with the residents.

Board member Joe Diaz made the motion to table the discussion until the October meeting, and the remaining board members backed him.

"I think more information is always better," he said.

Waldrip and Gainey’s request asks for a higher density than the city’s land use plan recommends.

Their plans call for 15.49 dwelling units per acre, but the Comprehensive Land Use Plan suggests a maximum of 12 dwelling units per acre. In the report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting, planning staff recommended that the developers scale back the 53 planned units to no more than 41.

Waldrip’s application showed plans for the 13 single-family homes to have 1,200 to 2,000 square feet of heated floor space with a selling price of $250,000 to $295,000. Plans for the apartments did not mention apartment sizes, but would have been leased at $625 to $675 monthly.

After the planning board adjourned, Gainey said he believed many residents were concerned that the price range for the homes was too low.

"We’re trying to make it very affordable," Gainey said, promising the homes would be high-quality.

According to the staff report, the developers plan to build one- and two-story, two-car garage homes with HardiPlank siding and brick or stone accents on the exterior with hardwood and tile floors and fireplaces.

The entire development would be geared toward seniors, single professionals and couples without children, according to the staff report.

The property owners will send out letters to the affected residents notifying them of an informational meeting before the planning and appeals board meets again in October, Gainey said.

"We really want to hear their concerns and address their concerns, and see if we can get to some kind of mutual understanding," Gainey said after the meeting.

Yet, neighborhood resident Brenda Morgan said it was unfortunate that the property owners did not try to meet with neighbors before the application made it to a planning meeting. Morgan declined to discuss her concerns about the development plans until she had a chance to meet with the developers, but said neighbors’ concerns were numerous.