Local Government Update, December 2018

Monday, December 31, 2018

Gulf Shores City Council – December 3, 2018

Short Term Rental Ordinance Changes Enacted

 The Gulf Shores City Council voted to enact changes to the vacation rental ordinance.  In August, the city approved a 180-day suspension of the issuance of any new business licenses for vacation rentals of dwelling units located in R-3 and R-4 zoning districts to allow the city time to review and study the adoption of new regulations.  In 2009 Gulf Shores adopted regulations to prevent the short-term rental of single-family houses and duplexes, with the exception of the Tourist Rental Overlay District.  The 2009 regulations did not address short term rentals in multi-family or business zoning districts.  The new amendments will prohibit short term rentals in multi-family developments located in residential zoning districts.  The city is also providing a process where HOAs who vote to keep short term rentals in the affected areas can petition the city for a conditional use permit exception. There are approx. 39 existing short-term rentals operating in the affected areas.  Those rentals would be grandfathered, and the grandfathered status will be transferable upon sale of the property.  


Fairhope Planning Commission – December 3, 2018

Fairhope Ave. Roundabout Property Re-Zoning Not Supported

Property bordering the southwest corner of the Fairhope Ave. roundabout sought a re-zoning change from R-2 to B-4.  Owners of the 2.8-acre parcel expressed complaints over what they consider loss of a residential feel since the roundabout and gas station were put in place.  They also had complaints over the location of their driveway in proximity to the roundabout.  The Fairhope Planning Commission voted to deny the request stating that almost all the area to the south of the roundabout was residential and wanted to keep the residential nature of the south side, while noting that further expansion of businesses may occur to the north.  The Fairhope City Council will have the final vote on the re-zoning request.

Historic Church St. Property Has Plans for Restaurant/Bar

One of Fairhope’s historic properties has plans to become a restaurant and bar.  Details emerged at the December Planning Commission during a re-zoning request for the house at 51 S. Church St.  The house is located in the heart of downtown in the central business district with a B-1 zoning.  Plans include changing the zoning to B-2 to allow the restaurant/bar use, while the outside of the structure would remain mostly unchanged.

Founders Square Site Plan Approved

The third, and final phase of Founders Square has been approved by the Fairhope Planning Commission.  Phase three will sit on .2 acres, and it will join the existing structures at 76 S. Sections St., on the west side of Section St. in downtown.  Phase three will contain two separate two-story buildings, with each containing three residential units on the top floor.  Commercial space will be housed in the ground floor.


Baldwin County Commission – December 3, 2018

County Commission Makes Compromise of Dorgan Re-Zoning Request

Property owned by the Dorgan family along Scenic Hwy 98 in Point Clear came before the County Commission for a request to re-zone from B-2 to RSF-4.  The request was met with objections from Point Clear residents against adding RSF-4 zoning to the Point Clear area.  The .95 acre site sits on the east side of Hwy. 98, just south of County Road 32.  Development plans included adding three single family lots to the existing corner lot, which would remain zoned B-2.  After hearing many objections from residents, and taking time to re-evaluate the case, the Commissioners and developers agreed to change the request from RSF-4 to RSF-2.  In order to accomplish this, the request will have to go back to the Planning Commission and be re-advertised, then come back to the County Commission for a final vote.


Orange Beach City Council – December 4, 2018

Summer Salt PUD Bringing 112 New Residential Lots to Orange Beach

Final approval was granted for the Summer Salt PUD re-zoning by the Orange Beach City Council, following a favorable recommendation by the Planning Commission. The 42-acre site is located on the north end of Summer Salt Plaza Blvd., north of The Ruby Slipper and Flipdaddy’s restaurants.  The 112 residential units will be built out in two phases and include 58 cottage lots and 54 single-family residences.  Truland Homes is the builder, and properties are expected to have a price point of around $500k. 


Baldwin County Planning & Zoning – December 6, 2018

Loxley Transitional Housing Re-Zoning Denied by Planning Commission

The Baldwin County Planning Commission voted to deny a re-zoning request for 5 acres located at 21732 River Road in the Loxley area.  The applicant was seeking to re-zone the property from RA to B-4 to allow transitional housing and various commercial activities.  The applicant spoke at the pubic hearing and told commission members he was seeking the re-zoning request to provide transitional housing opportunities for people coming out of the prison system and trying to re-integrate into society.  He also had plans to provide work on-site doing auto repair and repurposing shipping containers.  In denying the request, commission members cited a dirt road access that was prone to flooding, and mostly RA zoning in the surrounding area. The request will proceed to the Baldwin County Commission, which has the final vote on all re-zoning requests.

Development Permit Approved for Elsanor Subdivision

The Baldwin County Planning Commission granted development permit approval for a 5-lot subdivision, despite some concerns over the entrance drive location and lack of visibility.  The 46-acre property is located on the north side of Brewer Rd., approximately ¼ mile west of Ard Rd., in the Elsanor community. 

Daphne Intersection Getting More Commercial Development

The northeast corner of the Daphne Intersection of County Rd. 64 and County Rd. 13 was the subject of another re-zoning request.  The Baldwin County Planning Commission voted to give a favorable recommendation to re-zone 8.74 acres from RSF-2 to B-1 to allow for the construction of four, 5,000 square foot office buildings on the site.  The request will move to the Baldwin County Commission, who has the final vote on all re-zoning requests.


Fairhope Board of Adjustments – December 17, 2018

Controversy Arises Over Boutique Hotel Proposal

The Fairhope Board of Adjustments heard a request from developers for a variance to allow a 4-story building on an iconic corner in downtown Fairhope.  The corner of Fairhope Ave. and Section St. is the center of downtown Fairhope, and home to the Fairhope clock. Developers are seeking to tear down the existing building and replace it with a 4-story boutique hotel which would house 9-12 rooms.  Current ordinances only allow for 3-story buildings with a 40-foot height limit.  The Board of Adjustments delayed taking action on the 4-story request, but seemed to agree that the usage as a boutique hotel fit within the zoning.


Daphne City Council – December 17, 2018

Daphne Names New City Council Member

Daphne resident, Angie Phillips has been named to fill the vacancy on the Daphne City Council created when former Daphne councilman, Joe Davis, won election to the Baldwin County Commission.  Phillips was a member of the Daphne Planning Commission prior to accepting the appointment to the city council, and works as an art teacher at Spanish Fort High School.  She was formally sworn in at the December 17th city council meeting and will serve out the unexpired term for District 7 in Daphne.


Fairhope City Council – December 20, 2018

More Park Land Coming to Fairhope

The Fairhope City Council voted to move forward to purchase 40 acres south of Twin Beech Rd, near the Young St. intersection.  Plans for the property include public park space to be used as baseball fields.  The cost of purchasing the land, which was disclosed as $48,000 per acre,  is being paid for by revenue generated by impact fees.

Greeno Road Moratorium Takes Effect

The Fairhope City Council voted to enact a moratorium on all re-zoning, site plans, and multiple occupancy permit requests for the Green Rd. (Hwy. 98) corridor until the results of the visual preference survey are completed and new land use policies are enacted.  Any property which has frontage on Greeno Rd. is included.  The planning commission and council have been discussing this for several months, and hope to have new rules in place soon.  Any applications which were pending prior to adoption will be allowed to continue.