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NEWBERRY ‒ A proposed recreational vehicle resort and campground in Newberry was narrowly approved by the Newberry Planning and Zoning Board on Dec. 7 in a 3-2 vote.

While three quasi-judicial public hearings and a discussion on food truck regulations were scheduled for the Dec. 7 Newberry Planning and Zoning Board meeting, due to lengthy discussion of the recreational vehicle campground, the food truck discussion was rescheduled.

The public and Board members posed questions to the property developer during the hearing seeking approval of a Special Exception (SE) to allow a recreational vehicle resort and campground on some 94 acres of land located at 2120 N.W. State Road 45. The property, which is owned by Marie Ratliff, is in the “A” Agricultural Zoning District of Newberry.

David McDaniel of M3 Development, LLC, submitted the application on behalf of Ratliff. The City’s Planning and Economic Development Director Bryan Thomas recommended approval of the application and explained that the project met or exceeded guidelines set by the City.

When fully built out, Tree House Village RV Resort will consist of 850-units. According to McDaniel, Phase One of the project involves 45 acres of tree house-type gazebos connected by suspension bridges in the seven acres of hardwood trees on the property.

Planned amenities include a pool, clubhouse, open grill areas, an open fire pit, pickle ball courts and a splash park. The development includes park model cabins, which are small houses that can serve sports-related, as well as other types of visitors, to the area. McDaniel said they had developed a traffic plan, which had already been submitted to and approved by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Residents and Board members voiced concerns about the development and its upkeep and long-term maintenance of the property as well as noise, lighting after dark and wildlife impacts, especially in the seven-acre tree area. Increased traffic due to increased population in the area also concerned residents, especially those who live near the site.

Board Member Bill Conrad recommended approval, including that the applicant be allowed to extend length of stay of visitors to 108 days and increase the number of park models by 20 percent. The motion was seconded by Vice Chair Linda Woodcock. The motion passed in a 3-2 vote with Chair Jessica Baker and Board Member Gavin Johnson voting against the development. The proposed project will now be forwarded to the Board of Adjustment for further consideration.

Another Planning and Zoning Board agenda item considered was an application to amend the Future Land Use Plan Map of the Comprehensive Plan by changing the Future Land Use classification from Alachua County Rural/ Agriculture to City of Newberry Agriculture on three properties previously voluntarily annexed into the City.

Following discussions on each of the three items separately, and with no comment from members of the public, Ordinance 2020 – 32 received a motion to approve by Board Member Conrad, which was seconded by Board Member Johnson and unanimously approved.

Ordinance 2020-34 and Ordinance 2020-36 received a motion to approve by Board Member Conrad, which was seconded by Board Member Naim Erched. These ordinances will be heard by the City Commission on first reading during the Dec. 14 meeting.

In a third item on the Planning and Zoning Board agenda, the Board unanimously approved changes to the City’s Official Zoning Atlas by changing the zoning from Alachua County Agriculture (A) to City of Newberry Agricultural (A) on the same three parcels of land previously voluntarily annexed into the City. This application is contingent upon approval of the previous application by the City Commission on first reading, also on Dec. 14, and then by the state of Florida. The Newberry City Commission will consider the zoning changes at the Dec. 14 City Commission meeting.

The discussion regarding food truck regulations was postponed following a motion to do so by Board Member Erched, which was seconded by Vice Chair Woodcock and unanimously approved. The meeting ended at 10 p.m.

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