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Local Government Update, July 2017

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Daphne Planning & Zoning Commission – June 22

Re-zoning request for 24 hour service station denied recommendation

The property in question was located at the intersection of Johnson Road and Highway 98, near the Colonnade Apartments. The public hearing before the city council is scheduled for August 21.

 

Gulf Shores City Council - June 26

Aventura PUD rezoning for 404 lot subdivision approved

The development consists of 386 acres, 404 single family lots, and a 10-year build out plan. There will be exits on County Road 6 and Highway 59. Aventura will be a mixed use development with various sized lots, with the smallest being 127 lots which are 52 feet. Homes will range in price from $200,000 to $400,000, and will include 40 lots for senior living. The rezoning ordinance was approved over the objection of residents who voiced concerns to the council over traffic flow problems, environmental impact, and lot sizes.

 

Fairhope City Council – June 26

Continued dysfunction in Fairhope government

Mayor Karin Wilson was absent at the June 26 meeting due to attending the annual Mayors Conference in Miami. In her absence, she sent an attorney from Satterwhite & Associates to give a statement on her behalf. She proposed a resolution which would have allocated up to $15,000 to pay for legal representation for the Mayor. This attorney would act on behalf of the Mayor due to continued tension with the council, lack of cooperation, and exchange of information.

The proposal would have created a way for the mayor’s attorney and the city attorney to negotiate and communicate, and suggested non-binding mediation between the Mayor and council members, thereby avoiding the current stalemate.

The resolution failed due to lack of a motion. Council members commented that any questions or problems could be handled with the current city attorney, the Alabama Attorney General, or the Alabama League of Municipalities.

 

Fairhope Planning Commission – July 3

Park Place PUD gets favorable recommendation; proposed bank does not

The Planning Commission seemed conflicted at times over two re-zoning requests at the July 3rd meeting. The first was a request to rezone property located on the east side of Highway 98, across from Volanta Park. The property currently houses a trailer park. It is currently zoned residential, and the developers were seeking a PUD zoning with hopes to construct a mixed-use development consisting of several buildings, housing retail, office, and residential space. The city planning staff gave an unfavorable review to the planning commission citing that the planned development was not consistent with the comprehensive plan for that area. This was due in large part because there is currently no commercial activity that is contiguous to the site in question. After much debate, the planning commission voted to recommend re-zoning from residential to PUD. The recommendation will now go to the city council for consideration.

At the same meeting, the planning commission considered a request to rezone property located at 861 Edwards Avenue, which fronts Highway 98. The developers sought to re-zone the property from residential to business with plans to construct a bank.

The planning staff gave a favorable recommendation to the planning committee, citing that it was consistent with the comprehensive plan, and that the property was contiguous to existing commercial property. However, the planning commission voted to give an unfavorable recommendation to the city council.

Concerns were voiced about the Highway 98 area known also as “Greeno Road” Both of the rezoning requests are located in the Greeno Road area, yet they had opposite outcomes. Members acknowledged the need for more consistency in decisions in that area, and hope that changes can be made to the comprehensive plan regarding that area. The creation of a Greeno Road overlay district was suggested.

 

Daphne City Council – July 5

The following zoning cases have been set for Public Hearing on the August 7th council meeting:

-Fred Corte, southeast of Corte Road and County Road 13, requesting PUD zoning

-Malbis Plantation, east of County Road 13, north of Sehoy Subdivision, requesting high density family residential zoning and annexation into corporate limits.

-Dollar General, northeast of the intersection Highway 181 and County Road 64, requesting general business alternate zoning.

-Palladian, northwest of the intersection of Highway 181 and Sommerset Drive, requesting Apartment District zoning.

-Chevron Gas Station, southwest intersection of Highway 181 and Justina Avenue, requesting general business zoning.

-JMO Subdivision, northeast intersection of County Road 13 and Champions Way, requesting general business alternate zoning.

 

The following zoning cases have been set for Public Hearing on the August 21st city council meeting:

-WPNVA, LLC, Jay-E, LLC, John White-Spunner & Chester J. Stephan, southeast corner of Highway 98 and Johnson Road, requesting general business district zoning.

-The Citizens Bank, northeast corner of Highway 181 and Belgrove Avenue, requesting annexation into corporate limits.

 

Daphne goes forward with Independent City School System study

The council voted to appropriate another $35,000 to fund a feasibility study of an independent city school system. The vote was not unanimous, with council member Tommie Conaway and council president Ron Scott voting “no.”

 

Foley City Council – July 5

PUD Modification granted for Kensington Place

Located south of County Road 10, west of Highway 59, the property consists of 37.98 acres, and will be divided into 116 single family lots, with a density of 3 lots per acre.

 

Baldwin County Planning & Zoning Commission – July 6

Planning & Zoning Commission approves full docket of applications

Graystone RV Park was given a favorable recommendation for variances to the County Subdivision Regulations. The property is located on the northwest corner of the intersection of County Road 36 and the Baldwin Beach Express. Variances were requested for a crushed stone roadway construction, increased density, and smaller site width. Developers are proposing 86 RV sties on the 8.75-acre property. The site plan was approved, contingent upon removal of the existing entrance on the Baldwin Beach Express.

Styx River RV Park received final site plan approval for a 150 unit RV park on 57.62 acres located on Waterwork Road, approximately 1 mile east of County Road 64.

London’s Landing received final site plan approval contingent upon upgrades to the private roadway. The applicant is proposing a 52-unit condominium project on the west side of Plash Road on Plash Island in the Gulf Shores area. This would be a seven story building with condos ranging from 1,300-1,600 square feet, which would include boat slips.

Happy Hollow received development permit approval for a 7-lot subdivision located on the northeast corner of County Road 64 Extention and Happy Hollow Road.

Kelsey Estates received approval for a variance to the County Subdivision Regulations relating to the depth to width ratio of three lots which are oddly shaped due to the topography of the land. This will be a 5-lot subdivision on approximately 27 acres located on the east side of Highway 225, just north of Blakely Forest Subdivision.

Bon View development permit was approved for a 6-lot subdivision on 2.41 acres located on the south side of County Road 10, between Bon Secour Highway and Frith Road. The 6 homes would share 3 common driveways which all front County Road 10.

Getaway Farms received approval for a development permit for a 12-lot subdivision located on the north side of Jernigan Lane along County Road 64 Extension. This is an unzoned parcel of 57.95 acres. There was public concern that there was nothing prohibiting mobile homes on the site.

Phase 2 of the Reserve at Daphne, located on the north side of County Road 64, received a favorable recommendation to the County Commission to rezone 53.33 acres for single family.

Chunchula Energy Property received a favorable recommendation to rezone 4 acres to allow multi-family development. The property is located on the south side of Parker Road, west of Highway 98 in Fairhope. The applicant, Richard Cobb, is proposing a 24-unit platinum level townhome community.

Prescott/Alabama Capital Property received a favorable recommendation to rezone 6.53 acres to allow single family residential development of the parcel. The property is located on the southeast corner of Highway 180 and Pontoon Lane in Fort Morgan. The applicant, Tim McCrory, is proposing a 17-lot single family subdivision. Approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Dept. will still be required due to the Alabama Beach Mouse habitat.

 

Fairhope City Council – July 10

Fairhope national leader in Fortified homes

Fairhope has the largest number of homes built to the “Fortified” building standard in the nation, 714. This certification will allow homeowners significant reductions on their homeowner’s insurance. Grant money is available up to $10,000 for existing homes to install a new roof that meets the Fortified standard. Information on grant funding can be found at strenghtenalabamahomes.com

 

Fairhope Public Meeting for Construction Industry Professionals – July 12

Planning Director tells public what Fairhope is considering for future

The public forum for construction and real estate industry professionals provided a forum for public input and gave city leaders the opportunity to address the public on things the city is looking at changing in the future. Planning Director Wayne Dyess, outlined some issues that are being debated within the city. Those include: requiring less engineering work upfront for site plans, holding pre-application conferences with all necessary people present, requiring a meeting with the surrounding property owners before the design aspect starts, better coordination with the utilities, accessory dwellings, enlarging the overlay downtown district, creating a unified development code to combine zoning and subdivision regulations in one document. Look for more updates on these issues as the city continues to move forward.

 

Orange Beach City Council – July 11 & July 18

Improvements coming to Beach Express Bridge

The Council received an update on the Beach Express Go program. Goals of the program are to lower rates and move traffic more efficiently and quickly. There will be reduced toll fees July 29 through the end of Labor Day week.

Engineering work is beginning on a $5M project to widen the Beach Express just north of the toll plaza, add two additional tollbooths, and create a “fast lane” for Orange Beach residents. Completion is expected by mid-2018. There are also plans to widen the two-lane bridge to three lanes, with the center lane being reversible depending on the flow of traffic.

 

“Good Neighbor Fencing” Ordinance adopted

Citing the recommendation of staff and many complaints from residents, the council voted to amend the zoning ordinance to require the finished part of a fence to face the outside. This is an effort to improve the aesthetics of neighborhoods.

 

Controversial Dollar General store still on hold

At the July 18th Orange Beach city council meeting the conditional use approval for a proposed Dollar General store, seeking to locate at 4225 Orange Beach Blvd., was ultimately withdrawn by the applicant. The applicant withdrew the request, and the issue was tabled until a later date so the developer can study changes to the current location, or find another piece of property. Council members had voiced concerns over the location being too close to neighborhoods, and adding traffic to Highway 161.

 

Baldwin County Commission – July 18

CSX Railroad gives “Select Site” designation to Mega Site.

The South Alabama Mega Site, which is made up of over 3,000 acres, is the largest site that CSX has certified. CSX has certified 23 sites so far. Of those it has certified and marketed, 19 are active now. The Select Site program started in 2011 to identify the best sites for marketing to attract manufacturing companies, who will become rail customers. The County Commission is hopeful this partnership with CSX will help attract manufacturing industry to the Baldwin County South Alabama Mega Site, located in Bay Minette.

 

Baldwin County School Board – July 18

School Board unveils site plans for $60M building plan

Eddie Tyler, Baldwin County Superintendent of Schools, set out the building plan for school expansion across Baldwin County at the July 18 school board work session. He outlined plans for seven projects, which will be paid for over the next four years. The new plans allow for a total increased capacity of 4,300 students.

Gulf Shores Elementary School: addition of 12 classrooms and a larger gym

$3.8M, construction starting Feb. 2018, completed Oct. 2018

Will also include moving 121 students to Orange Beach K-8, creating 6 additional classrooms on Gulf Shores Middle School campus

Orange Beach K-8: 7th and 8th grade additions, gym and cafeteria, renovate 7,805 sq. ft. into classrooms, $6.3M, construction to start Dec. 2017, completed Dec. 2018.

New Foley Elementary School: $15.5M including cost of demolition of existing building. Construction to start Jan. 2018, completed March 2019. The new school will have a capacity for 1200 students, and is expected to face 9th Ave.

Bay Minette Elementary: K-6 expansion of 35 classrooms, $9.3M including demolition of old building. Construction to start Feb. 2018, completed June 2019.

Fairhope K-6: Expansion of current Intermediated School building to add 14 additional classrooms and new gym. $4M cost which includes demolition of the old school on the south end of the property. Construction to start April 2018, completed June 2019. Once completed the school would house K-6 and there would be re-zoning of Fairhope to make the existing Elementary school a K-6 school also.

New Elementary K-6 School Eastern Shore: Location is expected to be somewhere along the 181 corridor between Spanish Fort and Fairhope. It is expected to house 1200 students at a cost of $15M, timeline and exact location to be determined.

Daphne Middle School: addition of 14 classrooms. Plans and timeline are to be determined, mostly due to the uncertainty of Daphne’s interest in forming a city school system.

 

 

Gulf Shores Planning Commission – July 25

Re-zoning recommendation approved along Highway 180 West for bike rental

Mr. Wallace “Buddy” Mullis asked the planning commission for approval to rezone 4.22 acres from BN (neighborhood business) to BG (general business). The property is located at 15827 – 15849 Highway 180 West. The property is currently occupied by Dollar General, a gas station, Coastal Plumbing and Heating, and a commercial building. The applicant wishes to bring a bicycle rental business to the location. The recommendation will now go to the city council for approval.

 

Sidewalk grant and city school study coming to Gulf Shores

In other business, the Gulf Shores City Council is proceeding with a study to determine the feasibility of a city school system. The city was disappointed that the Baldwin County School District building plan did not include more resources going to Gulf Shores schools.

Sidewalks and pedestrian lighting will soon be coming to Gulf Shores due to a TAP grant of $400,000. The 8-foot sidewalks will extend from Gulf State Park to West Lagoon Ave. Construction should start after Labor Day.