What is a Neighborhood Meeting?
The Neighborhood Meeting is an informal meeting between the applicant and any interested citizens. Neighborhood Meetings are encouraged as opportunities for informal communication between owners and occupants of nearby lands, applicants, and other residents who may be affected by development proposals. Although all issues may not be resolved, the Neighborhood Meeting allows for early citizen input and discussion.
The meeting offers an opportunity to listen to the concerns of citizens before you enter into the formal application process. The meeting may be a chance to improve your plan or make small changes that will make a big difference to your neighbors.
When is a Neighborhood Meeting Required?
The following applications require a meeting: Site-Specific Amendments to the Official Zoning Atlas (Rezonings), Planned Developments, Special Exception Permits, Site Plans, and Major Subdivision Preliminary Plats. Neighborhood meetings are optional for any other applications.
How to Prepare for a Neighborhood Meeting
Before preparing for a Neighborhood Meeting, you must first schedule a Pre-Application Conference with City staff. You must do this before you schedule a meeting and before you file your application. A Pre-Application Conference is required for certain applications, such as rezonings, Comprehensive Plan Amendments, Special Exception Permits, and Major Subdivisions, among other applications. To schedule a meeting, call (386) 418-6121.
To prepare for a Neighborhood Meeting, you must provide public notification of the meeting. To do this you must:
1. Place advertisements in the Gainesville Sun or the Alachua County Today; and
2. Send a letter to all property owners within 400 feet of the property, all organizations registered with the City of Alachua to receive notification (for a list of all organizations and persons registered to receive notification click HERE.), and to the City Manager of the City of Alachua
The advertisement must be published in the paper and the letters must be postmarked at least 10 days before your meeting. Instructions for your advertisement and mailing are provided below.
When & Where to Hold the Neighborhood Meeting
If a Neighborhood Meeting is required for the type of application you will be submitting, you must hold the meeting before you file a formal application with the City. On weekdays, meetings shall be scheduled after 5:00 P.M.; on weekends, at anytime. A second meeting may be required if you do not file for a development order within six months of your first meeting.
You must schedule your own meeting at a location accessible to the public and generally near the subject property. It must be handicapped accessible. At the neighborhood meeting, the applicant shall explain the development proposal and application, inform attendees of the character and nature of the process for review, and respond to comments and questions neighbors may have about the application and propose ways to resolve conflicts.
What to do After the Neighborhood Meeting
After your neighborhood meeting, you may file your application with the Planning Department.
When you file your application you must include:
1. Copy of the advertisement published in the newspaper;
2. Copy of the written notice (letter);
3. Copy of the address labels used;
4. Copy of the sign-in sheet; and,
5. Written summary of the issues related to the development proposal discussed, comments by those in attendance about the development proposal, and any other information the applicant deems appropriate.
Published Notice Information
Place your advertisement in the Gainesville Sun [(352) 374-5012] or the Alachua County Today [(386) 462-3355]. The advertisement must be published at least 10 business days before the meeting. It may be published in any section of the paper other than the classified section. When you place the advertisement, please advise the paper that the advertisement may not be placed in the classified section. The size of the advertisement should be at least 2 columns wide (3 ¾ inches) and 2 inches long. Advertisements must include the location of the subject property and the time and location of the meeting.
For rezoning and land use requests, the advertisement should state the specific district requested, for example:
RSF-1 (Residential Single Family, 1 unit/acre)
For development review projects (subdivisions, special exception permits), the advertisement must state the specific proposed use, for example:
5-unit commercial, 1-story with 12 parking spaces
See Sample Published Notice to see an acceptable format for a published advertisement. Should you need assistance composing your advertisement, the Planning & Community Development Department can provide guidance.
Written Notice Information
Your written notice (letter) must include the same information as the advertisement, and must be mailed first class at least 10 days before the meeting. See Sample Written Notice to see an acceptable format for a written notification.
Mailing labels for all properties within 400 feet of the subject property may be created using data obtained from the GIS Service Center on the Alachua County Property Appraiser’s web site (www.acpafl.org). You will need the tax parcel number(s) of the subject property. Written notice of the neighborhood meeting must also be provided to all organizations registered with the City of Alachua to receive notification (for a list of all organizations and persons registered to receive notification click HERE.) A copy of the neighborhood meeting notification must also be sent to the attention of the City Manager of the City of Alachua.
You may need several copies of labels. Please check the requirements for your specific application request.