Local Government Update, October 2018

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Daphne City Council – October 1, 2018

Jacob’s Well Re-Zoning Passes Council, Gets Mayoral Veto

Daphne citizens packed the council chambers again to protest the re-zoning of the Jacob’s Well property adjacent to the Olde Towne neighborhood.  It initially seemed like a win for developer, Craig Dyas, when the council narrowly voted in favor of the re-zoning to PUD with conditions that would limit the development of the smaller 1.8-acre parcel to 6 detached residences and reserved right of way as common area to ease concerns over possible vehicle connectivity.  But, the PUD approval was short-lived.  At the next council meeting Mayor Haygood exercised a mayoral veto.  The council did not have enough votes to override.  So, the veto stands.


Fairhope Planning Commission – October 1, 2018

Favorable Recommendation for Greeno Rd. Re-Zoning

Another property along Greeno Rd. (Hwy. 98) in Fairhope received a favorable recommendation for re-zoning from the Planning Commission.  The 1.2-acre property located at 814 N. Greeno Rd. is seeking a change from RSF-1 to B-2.  The property is sandwiched between the Hayek PUD and the Park Place PUD, across from the Fairhope Recreation Center.  Planning Commissioners had concerns due to there not being a specific use or site plan at this time.  To ease concerns over what may be located on the property, commission members added conditions that there be no drive-through lanes, no auto repair shop, and parking for any development be located at the rear of the building. The request will now move on for final consideration by the city council.

Pinewood Subdivision Granted Plat Approval After Problems Corrected

The first time developers presented plans for Pinewood Subdivision it was met by criticism by the Planning Commission over lack of usable green space and connectivity and received a denial.  Since that time, developers took into account the issues raised by planning commission members and added more usable green space to the design, and added more paths throughout the 18-lot subdivision to connect homes with the green space.  The future subdivision is located on the south side of Manley Rd., between Saddlewood Subdivision, and the Fairhope Soccer Complex.  The property is currently un-zoned in the county and is awaiting final approval of zoning and annexation into the city of Fairhope.

Development Growth Coming to Highway 104 Area Outside Fairhope

Three items on the October Fairhope Planning Commission agenda were located on Highway 104.  This area which has traditionally been more rural and open land, is the subject of several potential development requests.    

A re-zoning request was presented for a 35-acre tract located on the south side of Hwy 104, approximately ½ mile east of County Road 13.  The property is currently un-zoned in the county.  A favorable recommendation was given to establish R-2 zoning.  While no specific site plan was presented, under R-2 zoning 145 lots are possible for that acreage.  But, due to natural features of the land which would prohibit development, only about 45 lots would be practical.

The second request was for a 96-acre parcel located halfway between County Road 13 and Hwy. 181, on the north side of Hwy. 104. The property is currently un-zoned in the county.  Developers are seeking to establish a mix of R-2 and R-1 zoning.  Preliminary plans are to develop North Hills Fairhope, a 112-lot subdivision which would adjoin to a portion of The Waters Subdivision.

Developers are still considering a 264-unit apartment complex along Hwy. 104, at the northeast intersection of Hwy. 104 and Higbee Rd.  The concept has been presented to the Fairhope Planning Commission as an informal review.  Since the property is located in un-zoned Baldwin County, the city of Fairhope has limited control over the project unless it is subdivided, at which time city subdivision regulations would apply.  The Baldwin County Planning Commission would also have to review the project under its own regulations.  Developers presented a concept plan of a mixture of apartments with some commercial and retail space mixed together.  Traffic access would be from Higbee Rd.  Planning Commission members voiced concerns over the added traffic to an already congested area. 

The previously presented 481-lot subdivision on the south side of Hwy 104, adjacent to the 3-Circle Church property has been withdrawn,


Baldwin County Planning & Zoning – October 4, 2018

Sonoma Ridge Phase II Problems Resolved

Problems with Sonoma Ridge homeowners which delayed permit approval of Phase II seem to be resolved.   The Baldwin County Planning Commission granted permit approval for the 108-lot Phase II, located off County Road 49 in Silverhill and granted a variance for sidewalks.  Residents of Sonoma Ridge who had come out to protest the development at the last meeting, causing planning commission member to delay any action, now seem pleased with compromises made by developers.  Builder, DSLD Homes, corrected problems with maintenance of common areas and turned over authority to establish an HOA.  Changing County regulations which now require sidewalks in Phase II, caused concerns with existing residents that the two subdivision phases would not look consistent since sidewalks were not included in Phase I.  An agreement was reached between DSLD Homes and residents that street lighting will be added to Phase I, and the planning commission granted a variance for no sidewalks in Phase II.

Scenic Hwy. 98 Property Subject of Re-zoning Request

Property located on the east side of Scenic Hwy. 98, just south of County Rd. 32, in the Battles Wharf Historic District was the subject of a re-zoning request at the October County Planning Commission.  The applicant requested to re-zone .95 acres from B-2 to RSF-4 to allow residential use of the property by dividing it into three single family lots.  This was a rare request before the Planning Commission to down-zone a property from a business to residential use.  Still, it was met with opposition from neighbors.  The Point Clear POA objected to the request saying they did not want a precedent of RSF-4 zoning due to the smaller lot sizes.  The Baldwin County Planning Commission voted to approve a favorable recommendation to the County Commission to re-zone the property to RSF-4.  The Baldwin County Commission has the final vote on all County re-zoning requests and will vote on this request at a future meeting.


Orange Beach Planning Commission – October 8, 2018

Ono Island Re-Subdivision of Lots Approved

Approval was given by the Orange Beach Planning Commission to re-subdivide three cul-de-sac lots into two lots on Ono Island Subdivision.  The property is located at 33188 Marlin Key Dr., in the Orange Beach Planning jurisdiction, and is zoned RSF-2 under Baldwin County. 

Site Plan Approved for RV and Boat Storage on Canal Road

The Orange Beach Planning Commission approved a site plan for Keel Boat and RV Storage facility. The proposed property is located at 27045 and 27085 Canal Rd in the general business zoning district.  Four buildings with a total of 40,0000 square feet will be housed on the 6.9-acre site and offer 32 storage bays. 


Orange Beach City Council – October 16, 2018

New Rules Adopted for Window Signs in Orange Beach

The City Council made changes to the sign ordinance to address problems with window signs at various businesses that take up the entire window area, essentially becoming permanent fixtures.  The new amendments revise the definition of a sign to include any device that has commercial or non-commercial messages containing letters, numbers, or pictures.  Window signs will be limited to only 25% coverage of the window or door space.  Existing signs in violation will not be grandfathered.  Staff explained that the city will not be actively pursuing violations, but will respond to complaints.  The city explained that this is being done not only to improve aesthetics, but also as a safety measure to ensure visibility and sight lines into buildings to aid law enforcement and first responders.


Fairhope City Council – October 22, 2018

Fairhope Council Gives Approval to Twin Beech PUD

After some initial concerns over density and green space, the Fairhope City Council approved the Twin Beech PUD.  The 72-lot subdivision (down from 78) will be located on the north side of Twin Beech Road just west of Hwy. 181, on a 22-acre parcel. The development will house a mixture of lot sizes, with the larger lots fronting Twin Beech Rd., and will contain a total of 19% green space.


Gulf Shores Planning Commission – October 23, 2018

Cottage Subdivision Approved for West Lagoon Ave.

The Gulf Shores Planning Commission gave site plan approval for a 13-lot cottage subdivision to be located at 963 W. Lagoon Ave.  The lot is zoned BT-3 and is currently vacant.  Developers are planning two-bedroom units with a bunk room, in two-story cottages located around a central common area with a swimming pool.  The site plan was approved despite some concerns over the poor road condition of W. Lagoon Ave., adding traffic to the area, and lack of sidewalks.

The Track in Gulf Shores Expanding

The Gulf Shores Planning Commission gave site plan approval for a new amusement ride at The Track located at 3200 Gulf Shores Parkway.  The expansion will include a new go-cart slick track and a canopy structure on the northern most section of the property.