Springhills: The Sequel
But this time, Alachua County voters could decide the fate of the newest major proposed development in the county. County Commissioners may go to court to keep that from happening.
Brad Stith has filed a legal petition to keep Newberry Village from getting approval to build 900 homes and more than 200,000 square feet of retail space. But he's ready to settle of the County Commissioners will let a voter referendum decide the issue, rather than the courts.
Stith says the latest study shows Newberry Village would add up to 10,000 trips a day to Newberry Road. Last year, the County Commission voted to go forward with the project changes, but it was rejected by a state review agency. Stith says voters should decide.
"We really don't feel that it's in the community's best interest," says Stith. "Rather than trying to do a great battle similar to Springhills, why not let the community vote on an issue?"
But County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson says voters already have decided--by putting each of the commissioners into office in the first place. He says he's afraid voters could make their decision based on their heart, rather than what's best for the community as a whole.
"If you're going to make a land use decision it needs to be a well-educated and informed decision," says Pinkoson. "I think what it would degenerate into is who has the best ad campaign and if we really want to plan correctly for the future, that is not the best way to do it."
Stith has a petition signed by about 1000 residents in the area opposed to Newberry Village. He hopes they get to vote on the issue.
"I think in this case, it would just be a good and simple solution to let the citizens decide," says Stith. "They are the ones that are going to have to live with this forever."
County Commissioners will take up his settlement proposal tomorrow night during their regular meeting. If they don't come to an agreement, the battle could go to court.
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV20 News
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