October 11th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

County Manager Honors Steve Lachnicht for Exceptional Service
15th Annual Trashformations Recycled Art Competition
Free Cat Adoptions
Three NSP Homes for Sale
October Extension Programs
Celebrating National Voter Registration Day
Commission Highlights

County Manager Honors Steve Lachnicht for Exceptional Service

At a recent meeting of the Alachua County Leadership Team, County Manager Betty Baker honored Growth Management Director Steve Lachnicht for his service as the Interim Office of Management Director.  Baker presented Lachnicht with a plaque that expressed her appreciation for his service in helping to complete the FY14 Budget process.

Lachnicht has a reputation for innovation.  His department has won several Growth Management Awards over the years, including the Better Communities Award from 1000 Friends of Florida in 2012. The award was earned for adopting and implementing an innovative plan and implementing ordinances to promote multimodal transportation and sustainable patterns of development.

Before coming to the County, Lachnicht worked as Planning Director for a private planning firm in Martin County, and an Environmental Planner and Senior Planner for Martin County.  He has a Masters of Public Administration from Florida State University and Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Studies from Florida International University.

Mr. Lachnicht is an accomplished runner, cyclist, and swimmer.  He has completed five Iron Man distance triathlons and countless marathons including multiple runnings of both the Boston and New York marathons.

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15th Annual Trashformations Recycled Art Competition

From a turtle made from magazines to a peacock made from soda cans, reused and recyclable materials are finding their way to the Florida Museum of Natural History.

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, the Office of Waste Alternatives and the Florida Museum of Natural History announce an open call to all Alachua County middle school, high school and college students for entry into the 15th annual Trashformations Art Show and Competition. The competition begins at 5:30 p.m. on November 22, 2013, at the Florida Museum of Natural History (in the University of Florida Cultural Plaza, SW 34th Street and Hull Road, Gainesville).

The Trashformations exhibit is free and open to the public. Applications must be turned in to the Office of Waste Alternatives no later than November 8, 2013, by 5 p.m. (View and download a printable application/brochure). There will be a special awards ceremony and reception for all participating students, their families and teachers after the judging is complete.

Trashformations is a judged student art show and competition which helps expand awareness and involvement of young people in our community with recycling. All artwork entered in the contest must be comprised of 70% or more recycled/recyclable/reused materials. Cash prizes will be awarded for winning entries in middle school, high school and college categories. There will also be additional award categories judged and given out the night of the competition.

For more information visit the Trashformations website, or contact the Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives at 352-374-5245.

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Free Cat Adoptions

Alachua County Animal Services currently has a surplus of cats and kittens. In order to reduce the number of felines at Animal Services Headquarters, they are offering cats and kittens for adoption to good homes free of charge until October 31, 2013. Animal Services Headquarters (3400 NE 53rd Ave, Gainesville) is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

All cats are examined, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered prior to leaving Animal Services.

Dogs are also available for adoption at their regular fees (view the adoption fee schedule).

For more information contact Animal Services at 352-264-6870.

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Three NSP Homes for Sale

The Alachua County Growth Management Department is pleased to announce that purchase offers are now being accepted for three recently renovated homes purchased by Alachua County through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).

All properties are listed on-line at the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) website for the Gainesville Alachua County Association of Realtors (GACAR).

1. MLS# 343623 A four bedroom/two bath home located at 3119 NE 11th Terrace Gainesville, FL 32609. The sales price is $89,900. Built in 1965, this home features an entirely new kitchen with new Energy Star appliances, new washer and dryer, new tank-less water heater, new A/C unit, ceiling fans installed in three bedrooms, tile flooring throughout, freshly painted interior & exterior, new roof, brick fireplace and more. 1,523 sq. ft. View more information and photos.

2. MLS# 345080 A four bedroom/two bath home located at 282 NE 45th Terrace, Gainesville, FL 32641. The sales price is $81,000. Built in 2005, this home features new carpeting throughout, new cabinets and countertops in kitchen and bathroom, new washer and dryer, newly painted interior and exterior and includes a covered patio and a one car garage. 1,471 sq. ft. View more information and photos.

3. MLS# 346233 A three bedroom/one bath home located at 1520 NE 6th Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32641. The sales price is $62,000. Built in 2002, this home features new kitchen appliances, new kitchen cabinets and countertop, new washer and dryer, new A/C unit, new tile flooring, new carpeting in bedrooms and newly painted interior and exterior. 1,040 sq. ft. View more information and photos.

View photos of these homes, as well as the NSP Information Packet.

These homes are for sale at appraised value after repairs have been completed. They provide an opportunity for a low to moderate-income family to buy a home at an affordable price. The homes have been renovated to comply with the standards of the minimum housing code as well as to increase energy efficiency. Offers are now being accepted at the Housing Programs Office on the first floor of the Alachua County Department of Growth Management (10 SW 2nd Avenue, downtown Gainesville). Offers must be submitted by a State of Florida licensed Realtor using a NSP realtor packet. These homes will be sold on a first-come, first-qualified, first-served basis. The Board of County Commissioners makes the final decision as to which offers to accept.

Alachua County was awarded NSP funding by the State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to stabilize neighborhoods impacted by high rates of foreclosure or abandonment. Foreclosed homes have been acquired and rehabilitated within designated areas of the community. Since 2010, through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Alachua County has acquired thirty-three homes, twenty-five of which have been rehabilitated and sold. The remaining eight homes include five currently under renovation and the three homes for sale. Homebuyers must meet NSP income requirements. For example, a family of four earning a total household income of $69,960 or less would qualify to buy an NSP home. Buyers are required to complete an approved homebuyer’s education course and cannot currently own a home at the time of an NSP purchase. Other program requirements must be met, such as approval by an institutional lender for primary financing to buy the home. Secondary financing is also available through NSP to ensure affordability. Alachua County requires that all offers be submitted by a licensed Realtor to ensure the buyer’s interest is fully represented in the transaction. Buyer’s Realtor will be paid a 3.5% commission from the proceeds of the sale.

Realtors interested in showing NSP homes or obtaining an offer package, refer to GACAR or contact Ralston Reodica, Alachua County Housing Programs Coordinator at 352-337-6283. For more information contact Ralston Reodica.

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October Extension Programs

These programs are being held at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville).

Family and Consumer Sciences Programs

The UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County is pleased to announce the following Family and Consumer Sciences Programs for October, 2013. These programs are being offered by Brenda C. Williams, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent.

First Time Home Buyers Program –This series offers some resources that can help participants buy, maintain and keep a home. Upon completion of this program, participants will receive a certificate of attendance. The classes are on three consecutive Thursdays, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and cover the following:

Session 1 – Thursday, October 3
This session includes information on getting budgets and credit worthiness in line, determining how much house can be afforded, and understanding the responsibilities and costs of being a responsible homeowner.

Session 2 – Thursday, October 10
This session includes understanding the sales contract, home inspections, and mortgage process, selecting homeowners’ insurance, warranties and the closing process.

Session 3 – Thursday, October 17
This session includes a question and answer  period and an opportunity to get valuable tips from those involved in the process of buying a home.

The cost for the entire series is $10.00 per individual or couple.

View the program flyer.

Please pre-register by September 27, by calling 352-337-6209 (voicemail), subject to cancellation if less than 5 people registered.

Healthy Cooking: Pressure Cooker Techniques – October 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This program teaches participants how to save time and money by utilizing the fast cooking method provided by pressure cooking. Demonstration of techniques and taste samples will be provided. 

Cost is $3.00 payable at the door. Participants must pre-register one week prior to class by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail).

Environmental Horticulture Programs

The UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County is pleased to announce the following Environmental Horticulture Programs for October, 2013. These programs are being offered by Wendy Wilber, Environmental Horticulture Agent.

Ground Covers & Turf Alternatives – October 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Learn about ground cover plants that will grow in the shade, full sun and in tough places.

Palms and Your Florida-Friendly Yard – October 24, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Palms add a tropical touch to Florida landscapes. Learn how to incorporate these Florida-Friendly plants into landscapes and how to maintain landscapes in harmony with the environment.

There is no cost to attend these classes, space is limited. Pre-register at least 3 days prior to class by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail).

For more information about these programs, call 352-955-2402. Visit the Extension Office calendar for additional programs offered by the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County.

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Celebrating National Voter Registration Day

Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter, her staff and volunteers were on hand at several community outreach events in celebration of National Voter Registration Day designated this year on September 24th. 

Events attended during the week included a Naturalization Ceremony held Thursday, September 26th where over 30 of our newest citizens registered to vote after taking the oath of citizenship. On Saturday, September 28th the Supervisor, staff and volunteers set up voter outreach booths at the 12th Annual Downtown Latino Festival and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Keeper of the Dream College and Scholarship Fair.  Those attending received important voter information, picked up election brochures, registered to vote, and signed up to become election volunteers and poll workers.

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Commission Highlights

Fire Prevention Week
The Board proclaimed the week of October 6-12, 2013 as “Fire Prevention Week” in Alachua County, Florida.
Fire Prevention Week 2013.pdf

White Cane Safety Awareness Month 2013
The Board proclaimed October as “White Cane Safety Awareness Month 2013” in Alachua County, Florida.
White Cane Safety Awareness Month 2013.pdf

United Nations Day
The Board proclaimed October 24, 2013 as “United Nations Day” in Alachua County, Florida
UN Day Proclamation 2013.pdf

National 4-H Week
The Board proclaimed the week of October 6-12 as “National 4-H Week” in Alachua County, Florida
4-H Week 2013 Proclamation.pdf

Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment
The Board postponed until Oct. 22, 2013 the consideration of the adoption the Resolution to support the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment to the State Constitution. Attachment: Exhibit 1 131008 Resolution.pdf
Exhibit 2 frequently asked questions.pdf

Landscape Irrigation
The Board 1) Directed staff to draft a landscape irrigation system design and operation code consistent with 373.228, F.S. 2) Directed staff to work with the State to require statewide mandatory licensing for landscape irrigation contractors.


Florida Department of Transportation
The Board authorized the Chair to send a letter to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) accepting construction, ownership, and maintenance responsibilities of all elements of the proposed SW 30th Avenue Bridge project that are within FDOT right-of-way.
13016 row exhibit RoW Exhibit.pdf
Chair letter to FDOT.pdf
20130620 Preliminary Review Comments.pdf

GREC Biomass Plant
Regarding noise and dust issues related to the GREC biomass plant, the Board approved the following:

1. Send a letter from the Chair to GREC and the Gainesville City Commission requesting that County Staff and consultants be allowed to participate in all discussions of mitigation options for noise and dust issues.

2. Provide notice to GREC, the City of Gainesville, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that Alachua County intends to intervene in the permitting proceedings, with our intent to oppose final operational permitting if satisfactory progress is not made in controlling noise and fugitive dust.

3. Notify GREC with a letter from the County Attorney that Alachua County, as an affected party, will participate in public nuisance litigation if acceptable progress is not made in reducing noise, dust, and odors affecting the County’s property and employees.

4. Request that the County Attorney and County Manager bring back to the BOCC any recommended amendments to the County’s noise ordinance, including the decibel standards.  This should also include how many municipalities request that the County ordinance be applied within City boundaries.
Attachment: GREC and Alachua PW.PDF
GREC and Alachua PW incl Turkey Creek.pdf
ECT Noise Measurement Results.pdf
GREC Noise Memo.pdf
GREC Biomass Plant Inspection.pdf

Strike Out Hunger Food Drive
Concerning the “Strike Out Hunger Food Drive”, the board approved the following:
1. Continue to serve as the sponsor of the Strike Out Hunger Food Drive in partnership with Mr. Long. The fairground usage fee would not apply due to this being a County event.
2. Directed staff to develop a policy by January 2014 that details the level of staff participation and better defines the use of County facilities by non-profit agencies for fundraising or charity-related purposes and events.
3. Requested that the Long Foundation present an annual final outcome report to the BOCC following the event.


CDBG Program
The Board conducted the public hearing to obtain citizen input on community development needs; directed staff to prepare an application in the amount of $750,0000 for FFY 13 State of Florida Small Cities CDBG Program in the category of Housing Rehabilitation, and authorized staff to advertise second public hearing.
Amount: $750,000.00
Attachment: Readiness to Proceed and Health and Safety Score Requirements.pdf
2013 CDBG Power Point Presentation October Public Hearing.pdf

Rezone from Agriculture to Single-Family Residential
The Board approved Resolution Z-13-14, approving ZOM-11-13, a request to rezone from Agriculture (A) to Single-Family Residential (R-1C).

Personal Wireless Service Facility
The Board approved Resolution Z-13-15 allowing construction of a 170 uni-pole personal wireless service facility on parcel number 06318-000-000.

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Alachua County Advisory Boards

The Alachua County Commission is committed to citizen involvement on its advisory boards and is soliciting applications for the following vacancies:


Get Involved - Click here for an application: http://www.alachuacounty.us/government/bocc/advisoryboard.aspx

Applications are also available at the County Manager’s Office on the Second Floor of the County Administration Building, 12 SE 1st St., Gainesville. For more information, call (352) 264-6904.

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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

Community Update is produced by the County Manager's Communications Office.