Local Government Update, July 2018

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Fairhope Planning Commission – July 2, 2018

Greeno Road Re-Development Plans Moving Forward

The Fairhope Planning Commission gave approval for a multiple occupancy permit for a mixed-use development which will contain a bank, retail, and six condos. The project, known as Ecor Rouge, will be located on the west side of Greeno Road between Edwards Avenue and Fairhope Ave., in what is commonly known as the Agave Shopping Center which housed the former Food World.


Conditional Approval Granted for Twin Beech Estates

The Fairhope Planning Commission granted conditional plat approval for Twin Beech Estates, a 72-lot subdivision located on the north side of County Road 44 (aka Twin Beech Road) just west of Hwy 181. The plat approval is conditional upon the City Council approval of re-zoning to PUD and annexation into the City of Fairhope. A mixture of lot sizes ranging from 52’ to 100’ are being proposed. Planning Commission members had concerns over the amount of usable common area space, and increased traffic on Twin Beech Road.


Orange Beach Planning & Zoning – July 9, 2018

New Phoenix Development Would Add 192 Units to Orange Beach

The Orange Beach Planning Commission gave preliminary approval for a zoning change from BR-2 (beach resort high density) to PUD (planned unit development) for Phoenix Gulf Tower, a Brett Robinson project. The zoning change must also be approved by the Orange Beach City Council. Phoenix Gulf Towers would hold 192 units in two 26-story condo towers. The 5.8-acre property is located on the west end of beach road between Sugar Beach condos and Palm Beach condos. Construction of the first tower could begin in four to five months.


Baldwin County Commission – July 17, 2018

Re-Zoning Denial Sparks RV Park Debate

Baldwin County Commission members denied a re-zoning request for property located on the south side of Hwy. 98, in Lilian. The 39.38-acre parcel is currently zoned RA (rural agriculture). The applicant was requesting B-4 (major commercial) for use as an RV park and RV storage. The request received an unfavorable recommendation from the June Planning Commission. County Commissioners followed suit with a denial, seeming to agree with public opposition to the re-zoning. Members of the public attending the hearing complained about traffic problems, insufficient infrastructure to support large numbers of RVs, frequent traffic accidents in the area, and fear of an unsightly development. There was also concern that the property is currently listed for sale, and if re-zoned could be used for others purposes allowable under B-4 zoning by a new owner. During the debate, County staff admitted the need to revise the County standards for RV parks due to the popularity of RV parks and the increase in new RV developments across the County.


Orange Beach City Council – July 17, 2018

Orange Beach Abandons Effort for Century Link Fiber Internet

For nearly a year Orange Beach has been trying to gain enough public support to bring Century Link fiber internet cable to city residents. The city is abandoning efforts with the company due to failing to gather enough sign up reservations. Orange Beach officials say they are not giving up on the effort to bring high speed internet to the city, and plan to start talks with another company in which they hope the public will have more confidence. Residents who signed up with Century Link will be refunded the $25 reservation fee.


Daphne City Council Special Meeting – July 23, 2018

Special School Tax District Being Considered for Eastern Shore Communities

Daphne is among several eastern shore communities considering asking voters to approve a special school taxing district. City leaders from Daphne, Spanish Fort, and Fairhope have all been considering the special tax district to supplement the funding for their individual school feeder patterns. If approved by local leaders, the taxing question could be posed to voters in each school feeder pattern. An increase in property tax from 1 mil to 3 mils is possible, depending on what amount each school district would request from voters. A 3 mil increase is estimated to raise a yearly property tax bill on an average home by $75. City leaders still have many questions about school needs, and how the money would be used. Most agree that any tax increase would only be used for academics, and not sports. Time is running out for local leaders to place the issue on the November 2018 ballot. But, it is a possibility for subsequent elections.


Fairhope City Council – July 23, 2018

Signs in Fairhope Flower Beds Spark Complaints

Citizen complaints have caused the City of Fairhope to keep a closer watch on the use of signs in the public right of way. This means Realtor signs, especially directional signage, is receiving greater scrutiny. The city has put the public on notice that it will be stepping up enforcement of the existing sign ordinance. The ordinance prohibits signs in the public right of way. This is usually understood to mean the area beyond infrastructure, such as sidewalks, utilities, landscaping, etc. And, the city flower beds are off limits! Watch your sign placement. The ordinance allows for the imposition of fines, and in extreme cases, even jail time.


Gulf Shores Planning Commission – July 24, 2018

New Gulf Shores Trailside Subdivision Plat Scrutinized for “Open Space”

Gulf Shores Planning & Zoning Commission members and city planning staff are stepping up their efforts to make developers provide open space that is usable by future homeowners. This was evident when commission members considered the preliminary plat approval for Trailside, a 205-lot single family subdivision off Coastal Gateway Blvd (formerly County Road 8). The 81-acre site is zoned R-1-5, which encompasses the smallest lot size minimums allowed. Regulations require at least 10% open space. Under the initial proposal, developers were calculating three lakes into the open space percentage. City staff and commission members held a lengthy debate as to whether the three lakes, which are also used to meet drainage and water handling standards, are usable amenities that can be counted as open space. Open space requirements are intended to improve quality of life in developments and act as an amenity. The lack of accessibility to the lakes and narrow strips of common area around the perimeter of the lakes concerned commission members. The commission initially had a tie vote which would have denied the plat. Upon further discussion, the developer agreed to a compromise plan which would require the installation on a trail system around one of the lakes to make it an accessible amenity to homeowners. In addition to the lakes, the proposed subdivision will include a clubhouse and pool.


New 400+ Lot Subdivision Possible for Gulf Shores

The Gulf Shores Planning Commission voted to give a favorable recommendation to the city council to re-zone a 162-acre site from AG (agricultural) to R-1-5 (single family residential). The property is located at 20747 County Rd. 8 (now known as Coastal Gateway Blvd). The proposed residential development would have a density of 3 units per acre, and a minimum lot size of 60’ x 140’, with larger lots placed next to two entrances. The complete build out would take six years and include a clubhouse, pool, lakes, and a park for owners. A traffic study recommended right turn lanes into two subdivision entrances. County Road 8, which is now known as Coastal Gateway Blvd., has plans to expand to a four-lane divided road, which will ease traffic to this growing area.


Daphne Planning & Zoning Commission – July 26, 2018

Daphne Planning Commission says No to Jacob’s Well, L.L.C. Re-Zoning

After over an hour of debate and four failed motions, the Daphne Planning Commission finally voted to give an unfavorable recommendation to the city council on the Jacob’s Well re-zoning application. Jacob’s Well, L.L.C. is a 6.22-acre tract located on the northeast corner of U.S. 98 and Halls Lane. Developer Craig Dyas has been trying to get the property re-zoned to a PUD to allow for construction of townhomes, retail, and mixed-use space. Daphne residents have attended multiple hearings on the re-zoning voicing their opposition. The city council has the final vote on any re-zoning.