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The Local Agenda: City Council considers apartment proposal
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Gainesville City Council will consider today whether to move forward on a “workforce housing” development proposed for property adjacent to the Gainesville Justice Center.

The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board voted 3-2 on April 8 to recommend approving the development of a 94,000-square-foot, 90-unit apartment complex on a 2.2-acre site off Queen City Parkway at Banks Street.

Mercy Housing plans to construct 21 one-bedroom/one-bath units, 36 two-bedroom/two-bath units, and 33 three-bedroom/two-bath units. Most apartments will be rented to households at 50 percent and 60 percent of the area median income, while some will have no income restrictions.

Planning board members Jane Fleming and Dexter Stanley voted against the project, expressing concern that it wasn’t the right development for the location.

Residents of the existing homes on Banks Street, which would be demolished, have expressed mixed reactions about the proposed apartments.

Zacarias Solorzano, his wife and four young children told The Times they are concerned about the cost of living if they are evicted from their home and forced to relocate.

City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. today in the municipal courtroom of the Gainesville Justice Center, 701 Queen City Parkway.

Hall County to sign off on Brenau projects

The Hall County Board of Commissioners will likely give its approval to the Gainesville and Hall County Development Authority’s plan to issue revenue bonds to pay for $8 million in campus projects for Brenau University.

Brenau is prepared to demolish and rebuild four sorority houses on Prior Street; construct a 72-bed, three-story residence hall in the same area; build a new anatomy lab to support nursing, occupational and physical therapy programs; and construct a field house at the university’s burgeoning athletics complex on Jesse Jewell Parkway.

Demolition of the existing sorority houses should be complete by the end of June, according to David Barnett, senior vice president for administration. And a January or February 2015 timeline has been set for completing construction of the new homes.

Meanwhile, construction of the anatomy lab is scheduled for completion by December, and the residence hall is expected to open between August and December 2015.

The university Board of Trustees approved the construction projects and financing in late March while the Development Authority approved the bonds on April 21.

The Board of Commissioners meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.

Joshua Silavent covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: