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The Local Agenda: City, planning group seek volunteers for focus group
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The Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization and the city are recruiting residents and business owners for a transportation focus group.

The group would be part of the Gainesville transportation study that kicked off late last year when Norcross-based Pond & Co. was awarded a $125,000 contract to do the evaluation. The consultant and city officials took a tour of city roads in January.

The focus group would be a panel of 10 people with two members chosen from each city ward. Interested participants should be willing to commit to four meetings between February and June. Tentative dates include Feb. 28, March 21, May 2 and June 20. The meetings would be held 2-4 p.m. at Fair Street Neighborhood Center, 715 Fair St.

For the application or more information, contact Gainesville Traffic Engineer Dee Taylor at 770-535-6890 or click here. Applications are due by Feb. 18.

Gainesville City Council has a light agenda today

The Gainesville City Council has one public hearing on its meeting agenda today, a request from Gainesville landowner Michael Slate to rezone less than an acre of property on Lanier Avenue and convert an existing single-family home into an office.

The Planning and Appeals Board voted to recommend the project with five conditions. The project was approved by six of the seven members. Connie Rucker was absent.

The proposed changes include a five-space parking lot and the widening of the existing driveway. The house is 1,450 square feet and has an existing garage that will stay. The property shares a boundary with a SunTrust Bank Inc. and is close to other businesses, including a Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and the law firm of Coleman & Chambers LLP.

Slate has owned the property since 2004 and it is a rental home, planning documents show. The conditions require that any new or replacement structure, exterior facade changes and/or future development look similar to single-family residences in that area and must be approved by the community development director.

Any proposed new parking areas or storm drain areas have to be located to the west side or rear of the office. The property is also limited to one large outdoor sign, not to exceed 5 feet in height and 20 square feet in size. Recording an updated survey of the property is required before getting an occupancy certificate.

The City Council also will consider the alcohol beverage license of Hilton Garden Inn and the pawnshop license applications of A-1 Fast Cash and Double Deuce Pawn and Gun LLC.

Sarah Mueller covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her: