County commission moves forward with plans for Plum Creek public hearings

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By Kelcee Griffis

At its regular meeting Tuesday morning, the Alachua County Commission discussed the status of the Plum Creek sector plan and approved a series of public hearings and workshops on the topic.

The commission voted unanimously to approve a four-meeting lineup aimed at educating the public about the proposed development project and hearing resident comments.

The Plum Creek development plan, already three years in the making, is being proposed by one of the nation’s largest land management companies that owns 65,000 acres in Alachua County. The plan would consolidate conservation areas and allow major employers to settle in the eastern part of the county.

During Tuesday’s presentation, Missy Daniels, a senior planner with the county’s department of growth management, said that until now, the county has not held its own community-focused meetings about the proposed development.

“Plum Creek has been out holding its community meetings for a couple years, but that was Plum Creek,” she said. “This would be the first time the county is coming out with the application and having a workshop or a meeting.”

The commission’s motion calls for two general presentation meetings — to be held at publicly owned facilities in Hawthorne and east Gainesville — and two hearings to be held in the county administration chamber on the topics of natural resources and economic development/transportation. The format for all of the meetings will be an evening presentation from county staff with public Q&A sessions to follow.

Michael Fay, the county’s development program manager, said that city staff will now take over to plan the logistics of the meetings, including times and locations.

“That’s clear enough direction for the staff,” he said. “We can work with that.”

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