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Local Government Update, May 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fairhope Planning Commission – May 1

  • Senior Living Community Gets Approved 
    • Approval was recommended for a 48-unit senior living community. Property is located on west side of Bishop Road, north of Edwards Avenue, near Fairhope Intermediate School. A waiver was given on two LID requirements.
  • Review Requested for Four-Lot Subdivision
    • Property is located on the northeast corner of the intersection of North Mobile Street and Pensacola Avenue in downtown Fairhope. This is a gulley area with a 20 percent slope on the hillside; at the bottom is a streambed. The developer discussed the idea of maintaining the streambed as part of the HOA. Commission member Lee Turner expressed concerns over property owners having control of the streambed, citing environmental issues. The developer intends to start with four lots as a prototype, but the subdivision could go as much as 14 lots. Questions were presented to the commission as to the anticipated end of the Fairhope subdivision moratorium, as this would affect how the developer proceeds. The council deflected the question, saying it was out of their control. The current moratorium expires July 5, if not renewed. The September meeting of the planning commission would be the first opportunity to take action on applications. Applications will not be accepted until the moratorium is lifted.

Daphne City Council Meeting – May 1

  • Mayor Thanks and Criticizes Commission for Corte Road 
    • Mayor expressed appreciation that Baldwin County Commission agreed to assist Daphne with equipment, personnel, right of way acquisition, and transfer deed of right of way to Daphne on completion of Corte Road project. However, he was very disappointed that Baldwin County denied the request for $200,000. Mayor encouraged the public to vote for change at the county level in the next election.
  • Council Establishes Education Advisory Committee to Study Daphne Schools
    • Purpose is to focus on academics, work with school leaders to assess needs, and serve as a liaison between the schools and the city. There was public concern this group was being formed to initiate school re-districting. The council stated it was purely about academics.

Weeks Bay Planners – May

  • Private Subdivision HOAs Struggle with Water Detention PondsNuisance citations against all homeowners are the only remedy Foley has when an area is overrun with weeds, or becomes a mosquito breeding area. BP money was mentioned as a possible funding source to use for a city regulatory staff person, or to buy out HOAs and take over maintenance of ponds, and drainage areas. 
  • Leslie Gahagan, Environmental Manager for Foley, presented a presentation and discussion on private subdivision land problems. She explained the difficulties the city of Foley has had with citizen complaints over water retention and water detention ponds in private subdivisions that are controlled by HOAs. Complaints were made that homebuyers don’t seem to be educated over the HOA terms, which leads them to complain to the city. It was suggested that buyers should be made aware at real estate closings about the long term HOA responsibilities regarding ponds, storm water, drainage, etc. City leaders don’t feel that homeowners understand it is their responsibility to keep these areas maintained; not the city.
  • The group is starting the process to develop a countywide map system of future site develop to assist in regional planning.

Baldwin County Commission Meeting – May 2

  • County Road Delays Due to Fairhope Utilities 
    • County Engineer gave an update on various road projects across Baldwin County. Six county project sites are delayed due to waiting on Fairhope to locate and move the city’s utility lines. The bridge on County Road 32 is a major concern and cannot proceed further until Fairhope completes its work.
  • Future Road Projects
    • There is still hope for the Baldwin Beach Express north from Interstate 10 to Interstate 65. The estimate for a four lane is $190 million. Goal is to complete by 2020.
    • Existing signals on Highway 98 from County Road 32 to I-10 will be upgraded to “learn” and adapt to traffic demands in an effort to lessen delays. The county has spent $180,000 toward this project.
  • Commission Displeased with Daphne Mayor Remarks
    • Commissioners expressed their displeasure at the remarks made by Daphne Mayor Haygood for voting against the funding request for the Corte Road project to connect Highway 181 and County Road 13. Commissioners pointed out that the request was not timely and was not in the current budget.

Orange Beach City Council Meeting – May 2

  • Request for Homeowner Construction Variance 
    • A vote on a homeowner request for construction variance was postposed pending further discussion. The homeowner was acting as his own contractor and erroneously built to the wrong flood regulation height. He built to a federal flood regulation height of six feet, not knowing that Orange Beach has its own code requiring eight feet. The home is approximately 1/3 completed. The homeowner has $450,0000 (including a $70,000 lot) invested to this point. There was discussion of coming to a compromise involving raising the floor nine inches.
  • Thanks to Sen. Shelby for Snapper Season, Possible Port Deepening 
    • Appreciation was expressed to U.S. Senator Richard Shelby for getting the three-day red snapper season approved, and for fighting to gain possible approval to deepen the port in Mobile for increased economic and trade activity to the area.
  • Possible Overflow Parking for Turquoise Place 
    • A PUD application will soon come before council that involves a lease of property to develop a parking lot to help with overflow parking from Turquoise Place. Once Turquoise Place can develop its own long-term parking solution (possibly a parking deck) the PUD property would revert back to residential use.
  • Flora-Bama Pedestrian Traffic Obstructing Perdido Beach Blvd. 
    • Citizen complaints have been coming in regarding Flora-Bama pedestrian traffic obstructing the highway. Currently, there is a traffic guard that stops traffic, but council is hoping to work with the business owners and FDOT to create fencing or barricades to funnel walkers to a single crosswalk.
  • Two new liquor licenses were approved for Big Wave Dave’s Beach Bar and Grill and Blue Water BBQ Company.

Baldwin County Planning & Zoning Commission – May 4

  • Zoning commission business on Highway 225
    • Six acres of an 82-acre parcel are being granted a zoning change from RSF-1 (single family) to B-3 (general business district) to allow development of climate controlled storage buildings and boat & RV storage. The commission compromised by approving a change to RR (rural district).

Fairhope City Council – May 8

  • Ecumenical Ministries is expanding.
    • A request to rezone the property from R-2 (medium density single family residential) to B-2 (general business district) approved unanimously.
  • “Unified Land Development Code” coming to Fairhope.
    • The city has approved the selection of a professional consulting firm for technical writing to assist the Planning Director to unify the planning codes. This will codify multiple codes which are now segmented, such as zoning, subdivision requirements, maps, etc., into one document.

Daphne City Council Work Session – May 8

  • Eastern Shore Chamber gives report to Council 
    • Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce President Casey Gay Williams gave a synopsis of her trips with Coastal Alabama Partnership, and that they have partnered with PARKA. They were in Montgomery recently and one thing they were looking at was lodging taxes and what Coastal Alabama brings. She recently went to Washington and had discussions regarding AMTRAK Long Distance Service. They are thinking of having service from New Orleans to Mobile. The group met with the Department of Transportation and discussed the bridge, and found out that it is primarily a state issue, and the bulk will come from the state. She mentioned they are looking at widening the channel for container ships, and they also talked with NOAA about the snapper season situation. They also had talks about Austal and the work they are doing and will be doing. She spoke of the rolling out of the first small business academy, and the different academies that they will have.

Orange Beach City Council Special Meeting – May 9

  • Large crowd turns out for Red Snapper Season Resolution
    • The Orange Beach City Council convened a special meeting to approve a resolution in support of extending the red snapper season for recreational anglers. They are proposing 46 days over a series of three weekends.

Daphne City Council Meeting – May 15

  • Votes on 914 lot subdivision coming in June.
    • The mega subdivision being proposed, known as Jubilee Farms, is inching closer to votes on pre-zoning and annexation requests. The pre-zoning vote is scheduled for June 5, with the public hearing on annexation into the city of Daphne coming on June 19. The property is currently under Baldwin County zoning as RSF-2 (single family), and RA (rural agricultural district), Baldwin County extraterritorial planning jurisdiction. The owner, Bertolla Properties, LLC, is requesting pre-zoning as PUD by Daphne, prior to possible annexation into the city of Daphne.
  • Developer seeks to change Daphne skyline 
    • The coastline area near D’Olive Bay is the subject of a proposed amendment to the land use and development ordinance regarding the residential high-rise overlay condominium district. The item passed the planning commission, and is awaiting a vote by the city council.

Baldwin County Commission – May 16

  • County creates new residential designation 
    • The county voted unanimously to amend the text of the Baldwin County Zoning Ordinance to create a new residential designation of “HDR” (high density residential). HDR will allow up to 12 units per acre. County leaders hope this will give developers the opportunity to remain in the County, without annexation into city municipalities. Commissioners were all in agreement that the HDR designation would not be appropriate for the Ft. Morgan area due to unique environmental concerns, and it’s their job to recognize the specific needs of each area.
  • County seeks to fix communication problem between Board of Adjustments and Home Owners Associations
    • County leaders are proposing an amendment to the submission requirements for Board of Adjustment applications. In the future, the variance applications must be accompanied by documentation showing approval from the homeowner’s association. The county wants clear communication with neighborhood associations, and homeowner associations to prevent the county from approving something that would be contradictory to recorded covenants and restrictions.

 

 

 

Orange Beach City Council – May 16

  • Controversial conditional use permit tabled for now
    • The council chose to hold off on a vote until the full council could be present. It is now scheduled for the June 20 meeting. The applicant is requesting a conditional use permit to allow a Dollar General store at 4225 Orange Beach Blvd. Discussion by the council was critical of the location, due to traffic problems in that area and the possibility of a median being installed there in the future, which would restrict it to only right turns in and out.
  • Turquoise Place getting more parking.
    • After narrowly passing the planning commission by a 4-5 vote, the matter was approved unanimously by the city council. The council approved a PUD subject to a voluntary temporary use restriction of three years. The PUD is for a temporary overflow parking lot which will be used until Turquoise Place can build a permanent solution, such as a parking deck.

 

Fairhope City Council – May 18

  • Subdivision Moratorium to be discussed at next work session.
    • The next scheduled work session for the city council is June 12 at 4:30 p.m. The current subdivision moratorium is set to expire 7-5-17, if not renewed. This will be a discussion about the issues surrounding its enactment, and whether the goals for instituting the moratorium have been met, or need more time.
  • 53-acre site requesting zoning change.
    • The site is located on the west side of Adams Street to just south of Ledyard Street. It is currently zoned R-1 low density single family residential district, with the developers are seeking to change to a PUD, with the intention of developing a 77 lot subdivision in the future.

 

 

Gulf Shores City Council – May 22

  • Mobile Vending Courts approved.
    • The zoning ordinance is being expanded to allow mobile vending court conditional use permits in the Tourist Business District and the Waterway Village Overlay District. The property must have a minimum of three mobile vending units, which operate in motorized vehicles or moveable units. Mobile vending units must be a component of a mixed use development, and must have many of the same features as a traditional business, such as landscaping, bathrooms, parking, open space, and drainage.
  • No action on 441 lot Aventura subdivision.
    • The PUD rezoning request for Aventura subdivision was withdrawn from the meeting agenda without explanation. The next time the issue can come before the council again is June 26.