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Local Government Update, December 2019

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Fairhope Planning Commission Meeting - December 2, 2019

Watershed West Development Proposal in Point Clear Meets Public Opposition

The Fairhope Planning Commission heard a request from the Retirement Systems of Alabama to establish an initial zoning of TR (Tourist Resort) District conditioned upon annexation into the City of Fairhope.  Plans for the 7.23-acre property included subdividing it into 10 residential lots.  The property is located on the south side of Old Battles Rd. across from Poviner Place Subdivision, between Lakewood Azalea Golf Course holes two and three.   The proposals were met with united opposition from area residents in the Point Clear community.  Complaints stemmed from the negative impact on the environment, preservation of large historic oak trees, the precarious location in relation to the golf course, and a perceived abuse of the spirit and intent of the TR zoning district designation.  The Planning Commission voted 7-1 to send a denial recommendation to the city council for the zoning and annexation request.  Based on the denial, the developer chose to table the related agenda item seeking preliminary plat approval.

 

Final Plat Approved for Tracery Subdivision in Fairhope

The Fairhope Planning Commission granted final plat approval for the Tracery, a 43-lot residential subdivision located on the west side of Lawrence Road, just north of Sky Lane.  The total acreage is 31.93 acres, with the smallest lot 11,360 square feet and the largest lot 23,103 square feet.  Access entrance to the subdivision will be from Lawrence Road.

Last Phase of Firethorne Subdivision Receives Final Plat

The Firethorne Subdivision PUD, which was approved in 2014 is nearing complete build-out.  The Fairhope Planning Commission approved the final plat for Phase 5 of the development, which includes 30 lots on 13.9 acres. The Firethorne Subdivision is located on the east side Hwy. 181, south of Quail Creek Golf Course.  Upon final build-out, a traffic light is expected to be installed on Hwy. 181 at the subdivision entrance.

 

Orange Beach City Council Meeting - December 3, 2019

Zoning Ordinance Changes Approved in Orange Beach

The Orange Beach City Council gave final approval to several zoning ordinance amendments.  The definition of a “dwelling unit” will be changing with a focus on secondary living spaces.  The definition change will prohibit a dwelling unit with two separate kitchen facilities.  This would limit the ability to have a mother-in-law suite or independent living facilities within a building if there were separate kitchen facilities, unless the additional facilities are clearly accessories.  The determination of whether an area qualifies as a kitchen will be based on the presence of a stove.

 The amendments will also remove one-family dwellings, two-family dwellings (duplexes), and multi-family dwellings as permitted-by-right uses in the General Business (GB) zoning district.  In addition, it will remove dimension and height requirements for them in the General Business (GB) district.

 

Baldwin County Planning Commission Meeting – December 5, 2019

New Mini-Warehouse Standards Recommended by County Planning Commission

There could be new mini-warehouse standards coming if the Baldwin County Commissions votes to accept changes recommended by the Baldwin County Planning Commission.  The proposed text amendments to the Baldwin County Zoning Ordinance would expand the number of zoning designations where mini-warehouse facilities could be located.  It would also establish procedures and standards for review.  Those standards would include obtaining a land use certificate prior to a building permit, establish a minimum land area of three acres, roadway and driveway specifications, and a 30-foot landscape buffer.  The facades which are visible from a public right-of-way would require construction of masonry, wood, or other material which presents a pleasing appearance.  Additional requirements would call for fencing, lighting, and other design and use specifications.            

 

Orange Beach Planning Commission Meeting – December 9, 2019

Orange Beach Looking to Prohibit Metal Siding on Mini-Warehouse Buildings

The Orange Beach Planning Commission voted to send a favorable recommendation to the City Council on proposed text amendments that would remove the allowance for min-warehouse buildings to have metal siding as an exterior building material.  The recommendation will now move to the city council for a final determination.

Ocean Edge PUD Raises Parking Concerns

The Orange Beach Planning Commission heard a request for preliminary and final PUD (planned unit development) approval to re-zone 3 acres of Romar Vista Subdivision located on Romar Vista Place from RM-2 (multi-family residential high density) and NB (neighborhood business) to PUD.  Plans include a residential subdivision with 14 lots.  There are 6 beachfront lots which would house 3-story, 8-bedroom homes.  The back tier would include 7 lots which would house 2-story, 3-bedroom homes.  The final lot would include a hammerhead drive for turn-around, and a 4-bedroom home.  Planned amenities include a pool, restrooms, dune walkover, and beach access.  Planning Commission members questioned the parking design which did not have any overflow parking, and required owners and guests to stack vehicles underneath homes and in the driveways.  Despite concerns, the commission voted to send the request to the city council with a favorable recommendation.

More Mini-Golf Coming to Orange Beach

The Orange Beach Planning Commission approved the site plan from Lakewood Holdings, LLC to construct a mini-golf facility on Lot 2B of the Summer Salt Plaza Subdivision.  The property is located on the west side of Slipper Blvd., and north of The Ruby Slipper Restaurant.  Plans include 18 holes of mini golf, with an office, lobby, and restroom area.

Plans for Vehicle Showroom Move to City Council with Favorable Recommendation

JG Concepts, LLC went before the Orange Beach Planning Commission for approval to subdivide one lot into two lots on property located at 24401 Canal Road.  The minor subdivision of the lot was approved.  A modification to the Orange Beach Golf Center PUD Master Plan was also requested. Plans for the site include constructing a motor vehicle showroom on the east side of Easy St., and north of the West Marine retail store.  Plans presented showed a two-story, 9,300 square foot building.  A majority of the building will be a glassed display area to showcase a private collection of high-end cars. The Orange Beach Planning Commission voted to send a favorable recommendation for the PUD modification to the City Council, with a condition that the design plans be revised to incorporate a “coastal” look. 

 

Orange Beach City Council Meeting – December 12, 2019

Final Approval Granted for Tom Thumb Contingent Upon “Coastal” Design

The Orange Beach City Council granted final approval for a major PUD modification to the Wharf PUD which will allow the construction of a Tom Thumb convenience store on 3.94 acres northeast of the intersection of Canal Rd. and Wharf Parkway East.  The plans include a gas station, convenience store, fast food restaurant, and car wash.  The project will have a full-movement driveway on Wharf Parkway East, and a right-in, right-out driveway on Canal Rd.  The approval is contingent upon a change in design plans to incorporate a “coastal” look in the exterior building materials, style, and color.

Cotton Bayou Cottages Moving Forward with Final PUD Approval

Plans for Cotton Bayou Cottages received final PUD approval from the Orange Beach City Council.   The approval finalizes the re-zoning on 4.38 acres from RM-1 (multi-family residential low to medium density) to PUD (planned unit development).   The property is located on the north side of Perdido Beach Blvd., between Cotton Bayou Condominium and Sheriff’s Landing.  It is across from Admiral Quarters Condominium.  A total of 34 cottage lots are planned for the site.  Three housing types will be built, which include 3,5, and 6-bedroom plans.  The proposed homes will have a metal roof and hardie-board siding with a mix of neutral and coastal colors.  There will also be 34 boat slips which will be for the exclusive use of the residents of the development, which cannot be rented to non-residents.  Short term rentals of the homes will be allowed with a 2-day minimum.  

 

Gulf Shores Planning Commission Meeting – December 17, 2019

Final Plat Approved for 18-Lot Ft. Morgan Development

The Gulf Shores Planning Commission granted final subdivision plat approval for an 18-lot single family subdivision to be located south of Ft. Morgan Rd., at Middle Brigadoon Trail.  The 20-acre property is the first subdivision to utilize the city’s Conservation Subdivision Regulations, which allow more flexibility in lot size and setbacks, in exchange for preservation of the natural features of the land.  Half of the site (10 acres) will be preserved wetland areas, and another 4.5 acres will be common greenspace.

 

Baldwin County Commission Meeting – December 17, 2019

County Commission Approves Re-Zoning East of Daphne

The Baldwin County Commission voted to approve a re-zoning request for 17 acres from RSF-E (residential single-family estate district) to B-2 (neighborhood business district).  The property adjoins Pleasant Rd. to the south and County Rd. 13 to the west.  The property is currently vacant.  Plans for the property are to create commercial offices and/or build office and storage rental spaces. 

Re-Zoning Approved for 122 Acres in Belforest; Concerns Persist Over Dirt Pit

The Baldwin County Commission voted to approve the re-zoning of 122 acres located northeast of County Rd. 54 and County Rd 64 in the Daphne/Belforest area.  The re-zoning will change the property to RSF-2 single family residential zoning.  The zoning was requested in anticipation of a 327-lot Planned Residential Development (PRD) to be named “Savannah Estates”.   The Commission had concerns over an active dirt pit on the site.  A substantial portion of the property had been used for excavation, and the existing pit will have to be filled prior to development.  Questions arose over the composition of fill dirt and compaction issues which could affect future roadways and home foundations.  The Commission wanted more information about the dirt pit operation and fill plan.  As a result, the Commission voted 2-2 on the PRD Site Plan approval.  Commission rules are such that a tie vote results in a denial.   When a request for a PRD Site Plan is denied, the applicant can re-apply at any time.  The developers have the option to bring back more information to the Commission for a future vote on the PRD Site Plan for the proposed residential development.

 

Fairhope City Council Meeting – December 23, 2019

Council Approves Re-Zoning for Future Fairhope Restaurant

The Fairhope City Council gave final approval for the re-zoning of property located at 309 S. Ingleside St. from R-2 to B-3(b).  The corner lot at the northeast corner of the intersection of Nichols Ave. and Ingleside St. currently has an older residential home on the property.  Plans include renovating the existing home and making additions which would allow the property to be used as Mexican themed restaurant.  The property is part of Fairhope’s Medical Overlay District and is in a transition zone between residential neighborhoods and commercial properties.

Greeno Road Moratorium Extended

The Fairhope City Council voted to extend the current Moratorium on any new re-zoning, site plan approvals, and multiple occupancy project applications within the Greeno Road Corridor.  The moratorium, which was originally enacted in December of 2018, is being extended to May 1, 2020.  The city continues to consider revisions to the Zoning Ordinance to implement a Greeno Road Overlay District.  Up to this point the city has obtained input from the public through a visual preference survey, drafted possible amendments, and held public meetings, but has been unable to implement revisions within the current time frame of the Moratorium.  The City Planning Department is working to further develop draft amendments for consideration.