Some people attending a series of workshops on the city's plan to create more affordable housing in Gainesville said the plan will not work in their neighborhoods and will only line the pockets of developers.

Gainesville residents voiced their concerns Saturday in southeast Gainesville about an upcoming Gainesville City Commission vote to amend its comprehensive plan on affordable housing.

Janice Garry, a resident of the Oakview neighborhood in northwest Gainesville that is bounded by Northwest Sixth Street to the east, Northwest 13th Street to the west, Northwest 10th Avenue to the south and Northwest 16th Avenue to the north, said she is not in favor of what is now being proposed.

“I’m very concerned about how the comprehensive zoning plan amendment has been presented and formed and how it will impact my neighborhood,” Garry said.

The level of housing density that may change if the proposed comprehensive zoning plan amendment is approved by city officials is the greatest concern of Garry and others.

Tana Silva, who has lived in the historic Pleasant Street neighborhood for 23 years, said the Gainesville R.I.S.E. plan is a way for “speculators” to get the biggest return possible on investments they made 10 years ago during the housing bust that led to the 2008 Great Recession.

“Our neighborhood doesn’t need more market value housing development,” Silva said. “Gainesville R.I.S.E. will be a gift for developers.”

The proposed changes to city regulations would create new incentives for developers to provide affordable housing. An effort dubbed GNV R.I.S.E. (Resilient, Innovative, Sustainable and Equitable) is creating incentives such as expedited permits, increased allowable density and flexible standards for developers that include affordable housing in part of their projects.

Erik Bredfelt, with the city of Gainesville’s Department of Economic Development and Innovation, emphasized that the workshops were held to get feedback from the community about GNV R.I.S.E.

“We are here to hear from folks and to get input from them about how we are going to solve the affordable housing issue in Gainesville,” Bredfelt said. “There are a lot of questions about the substance and application of the (GNV R.I.S.E.) proposal as it relates to how it will impact neighborhoods, and we are here to hear those concerns and relate them back to the city commission.”

Held at the Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center, the final workshop attracted a cross section of Gainesville residents who wanted to learn about the affordable housing strategies city of Gainesville officials are considering and to give their input on strategies that have been made public by city officials.

Combined, more than 300 residents attended the workshops held on Oct. 29 at the Thelma Boltin Center, Oct. 30 at the Senior Citizen Recreation Center, Nov. 7 at the Westside Recreation Center and Saturday at GTEC, said Andrew Persons, an official with the city’s planning department.

Input provided by residents at the workshops and from an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/GNV2018Affordable, which will end before Thanksgiving, will be presented to the city commission at a special meeting on Nov. 29 at City Hall, where commissioners are expected to amend the city’s comprehensive plan.

Wallace Mazon, a 24-year-old east Gainesville resident, said he was pleased with what he learned at the workshop.

“I’m here just trying to get more information about what’s going on in my community,” Mazon said. “I learned a lot about the city’s plan to deal with affordable housing in Gainesville and concerns people from the community have about the city’s plan. I also got a lot of information from the other organizations and agencies on hand here today.”

Some of those other agencies included the Neighborhood Housing Development Corporation, city of Gainesville Housing and Economic Development and Communities That Care Community Land Trust.