Alachua officials set to consider West End golf course development

Alachua County officials are set to review a controversial proposal from a developer that would rezone approximately 75 acres in the Newberry area from recreational to residential use, while creating one of the largest county parks.

The local planning agency and plan board will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the proposed land use and rezoning of the former West End Golf Club, located opposite the center- town of Tioga and next to the Villas. of the West End district.

If ultimately approved, the land would be turned into a major residential development where the golf course once stood.

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A residential development is tentatively planned along the 75 acres that were once the West End Golf Club in Newberry.

More than a dozen local residents protested the plans on Monday, arguing that a zoning change would threaten the physical and mental health of the community by reducing recreational space in the area.

“With extensive research supporting the positive physical and mental health benefits of community green spaces, replacing property with houses would be detrimental to community health and well-being,” Thomas and Kathleen Barnes said in a letter to the county. “The West End Golf Course property should remain a recreational public green space for all to enjoy.”

Residents are also worried about the increase in traffic in an already very congested neighborhood, according to documents from the neighborhood synthesis workshop held last December.

The West End Golf Club closed in December 2019 after falling victim to a struggling economy and declining popularity of golf among the mobile generation.

“We had seen a significant decline in gambling over the past three years,” said Peter Min. told The Sun in 2020. “We couldn’t keep up with the bills. And it affects the amount of money you can invest in it.

Since the closure, the golf course remains unmaintained at its location at 12830 West Newberry Road.

For nearly two years, the developer, JBrown Professional Group, Inc., has been planning to bring a mixed-use development to West End that would initially have included a hotel and multi-family housing. Their initial proposal, however, was rejected by county officials.

The new plan reviewed at Wednesday’s meeting includes 129 single-family homes, with an option of up to 140 homes. No multi-family or commercial development, and a line of trees and open space to remain along the boundaries of adjacent residential properties are also in the proposal.

The proposal also includes plans for the third largest park in Alachua County, with Jonesville Park and Poe Springs being the other two largest parks.

The public can attend the meeting in person at 12 SE 1st Street in Gainesville. The meeting will take place on the second floor of the Jack Durrance Boardroom.

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