Local Government Update, February 2019

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Fairhope Planning Commission - February 4, 2019

Plat Approval Granted for Two Fairhope Subdivisions

The Fairhope Planning Commission granted preliminary plat approval for two new subdivisions east of Fairhope.  The properties are adjacent, but divided by a wetland area, so there will not be connectivity between the two subdivisions.  The properties are being developed by 68 Ventures and will be called Riverhorse Subdivision and The Tracery Subdivision.  Riverhorse will contain 25 lots on a 22-acre parcel located ¼ mile north of Gayfer Ave. on the east side of Blueberry Lane, just north of North Station Subdivision.  The Tracery Subdivision will contain 43 lots on a 31-acre parcel located ½ mile north of Gayfer Ave., and on the west side of Lawrence Rd.  The average lot size for the subdivisions is 12,000 square feet, and the properties are zoned R-2.

Fairhope Greenspace Requirements Amended for New Developments

The Fairhope Planning Commission amended the requirements for greenspace in new subdivision developments.  The goal of the new standards is to provide an adequate amount of greenspace that is in proper context considering either the urban or suburban nature of the development.  They also focus on integrating the greenspace into the design of the neighborhood with a purpose of recreation.  The greenspace required will be based on the density of the development.  A sliding scale will be used, with the least dense (less than 2 units per acre) having a greenspace requirement of 10%, and the highest density (more than 6 units per acre) will have a 25% greenspace requirement.  In order to count a drainage pond as greenspace, it must be integrated into the design, and create a usable amenity to residents.  The new greenspace requirements will now apply to R-1 and MOP developments as well.


Foley City Council, February 4, 2019

Re-Zoning Approved for 612-Lot Subdivision

The Foley City Council approved a zoning change for property located west of the Foley Beach Express and south of Keller Rd.  The property is a total of 274 acres, which is split between Foley and Gulf Shores, with 169.28 acres in Foley.  The Foley city council changed the zoning from GPH-1 (residential garden patio home) and R-1C (residential single family) to PUD (planned unit development).  A 612-lot subdivision is being planned for the site by Southern Lifestyle Development.  The subdivision is to be known as Waterly.

Baldwin County Planning & Zoning, February 7, 2019

Development Permit Extensions Granted

The Baldwin Count Planning & Zoning Commission granted extensions for two development permits. Development permits are valid for 24 months.  If not completed, the developers must apply for an extension.  The Silver Lake Subdivision located on the northeast corner of the intersection of County Road 48 and West Blvd. in the Silverhill area was granted a 24-month extension.  The Verandas, located on the south side of State Hwy 104 just west of Lawrence Road, was also granted a 24-month extension for Phase I. 

Final Site Plan Approved for Whispering Pines RV Park

The Baldwin County Planning Commission approved the final site plan for a 115-unit RV Park known as Whispering Pines.  The RV Park will cover 26 acres of un-zoned property located on the south side of County Rd. 8, just west of State Highway 59 in the Gulf Shores area.

Development Permit Granted for Magnolia Acres – Phase I

The Baldwin County Planning Commission granted development permit approval for Phase I of Magnolia Acres Subdivision.  The 47.6-acre property is un-zoned and located on the south side of County Rd. 28, west of County Rd. 55.  The initial subdividing of the parcel will result in 11 lots.  Ten of the lots will front County Rd. 28, with a large lot to the rear.  The large lot may be developed in a future phase.  An access point is reserved for a future roadway to connect the large rear lot with County Rd. 28.

Newport Property Denied Re-Zoning Recommendation

The Baldwin County Planning Commission denied a request to re-zone 20 acres from RA to RSF-3. The denial recommendation will go to the County Commission, which has the final vote on all re-zoning requests.  The applicants were seeking to develop the property into a 46-lot single family subdivision, although planning officials pointed out that RSF-3 zoning would give the potential for 87 lots. The property is located in the Belforest area north and east of County Rd. 54, in the Daphne extra territorial jurisdiction.  Planning Commission members had concerns of the RSF-3 request being inconsistent with surrounding development patterns which were mostly rural agriculture.  There were also safety concerns raised due to the proposed entrance location near a curve in the road.


Fairhope City Council Work Session – February 11, 2019

Special School Tax District Discussed

During the Fairhope City Council Work Session city leaders heard from the chairman of the city’s Educational Advisory Committee.  The committee is recommending a special school overlay tax district which would add 3 mils to property tax bills for those residents who reside in the Fairhope school feeder pattern.  On an average home costing $300,000 the additional tax would add approx. $90/year to the property tax bill.   It is estimated that the school tax would bring in an additional $1.8 million per year, which would be earmarked for Fairhope schools and split between the five schools within the Fairhope feeder pattern.  The city council seemed receptive to allowing the issue to be placed on a ballot for voters to decide.  The Baldwin County School Board is in the process of completing paperwork which would allow the issue to be placed before voters.  Mayor Wilson has proposed an alternate scheme for funding which she proposes be done first before asking voters to decide on a property tax increase.  An election date has not yet been set, but it is expected to occur before the end of 2019.  Daphne and Spanish Fort have also expressed interest in exploring special school tax overlay districts in their communities as well.

Orange Beach Planning & Zoning Commission – February 11, 2019

The Shores Townhouses Site Plan Approved

The Orange Beach Planning Commission voted to grant site plan approval for The Shores, a residential development located at 23727 Perdido Beach Blvd.  The residential development will contain three buildings with seven units, on a 4.34-acre site.  Units are expected to have three floors, with 4 bedrooms and a bunk room.  The property is located in the GB zoning district and vacation rentals are expected to be allowed.

Harbor Club Site Plan Approved

The Orange Beach Planning Commission granted site plan approval for Harbor Club, a multi-family residential development located at the south end of Griffith Marina Rd. in the Marine Resort zoning district.  The 22.29-acre site will house three, four-story buildings and a total of 71 three-bedroom residential units.  Improvements to Griffith Marina Rd. are being planned in conjunction with the project.  The property has 100’ fronting the water and developers are hoping to get a permit for a pier to be used as an amenity for residents.

Daphne City Council – February 18, 2019

Daphne Mayor Weighs In On Proposed Senate Bill 23

Daphne Mayor Dane Haygood discussed the Senate Bill being proposed by Sen. Chris Elliott which would eliminate extended police jurisdictions and planning jurisdictions for municipalities.  Under the proposed bill the municipal jurisdiction would end at the city limits.  Currently a municipal police jurisdiction can extend 3 miles, and the planning jurisdiction can extend 5 miles outside the city limits. During Mayor Haygood’s comments he stated that himself and the majority of mayors in the Mayor’s Association were opposed to the bill. 


Foley Planning Commission – February 20, 2019

Zoning Recommended for Majestic Manor, LLC

The Foley Planning Commission voted to give a favorable recommendation to the mayor and city council for the initial zoning of 34 acres along with annexation into the corporate limits. The proposed zoning is R-1D (residential single family).  The property is located at the Southwest corner of County Road 20, and south of Hickory St. 

Favorable Recommendation for 400-Lot RV Park

The Foley Planning Commission voted to send a favorable recommendation to the mayor and council for PUD zoning and annexation into the corporate limits.  The 41-acre property is located south of County Rd. 20, west of James Rd.  The applicant, Alabama Armada, LLC/Stacey Ryals, is proposing an RV Resort Park with over 400 RV lots for the property.

Primland Subdivision Phase II Granted Approval

The Foley Planning Commission granted preliminary approval for Phase II of Primland Subdivision.  Phase II contains 57-lots on a 19-acre parcel.  The property is located south of County Rd. 12, and east of Wolf Bay Dr.


Fairhope City Council – February 25, 2019

Fairhope City Council Passes Resolution Opposing Senate Bill 23

The Fairhope City Council voted unanimously for a resolution opposing Senate Bill 23.  The resolution will be sent to Montgomery in hopes of defeating Senate Bill 23, which would end extra territorial jurisdictions for municipalities.  Under Senate Bill 23, being proposed by Sen. Chris Elliott, the police and planning jurisdictions would end at the corporate limits.  Under current law a municipality can extend its police jurisdiction 3 miles outside the corporate limits and planning jurisdictions can extend 5 miles outside the corporate limits.  Council President, Jack Burrell estimated that passage of the bill would mean approximately $1.5 - $1.75 million in loss of tax revenue for the city.  Under current law municipalities are able to collect sales tax and use taxes in extra territorial jurisdictions (not property tax).  The Council also wants the Fairhope Police Dept. to continue to serve the residents located in the extra territorial jurisdictions to maintain the same level of service and safety, instead of relying on the Sheriff’s Dept.

Mayor Wilson, however, is in favor of the proposed legislation.  She does not agree with the Council in terms of the police jurisdiction.  She would like to see the police jurisdiction end at the corporate limits.  She cites expenses as the reason for wanting to end service to the extra territorial jurisdictions.  She feels that the expense of providing police service to those areas is not financially sustainable, and limiting the police jurisdiction would be a money saver for the city. She did not comment on the planning jurisdiction.

Zoning & Annexation Approved for Subdivision on Hwy. 104

The Fairhope City Council voted in favor of annexation and initial zoning for a 96-acre

site located on the north side of Hwy. 104, approx.  ½ mile east of County Road 13.  The Fairhope Planning Commission had previously granted site plan approval for North Hills at Fairhope, a 112-lot subdivision to be built on the site.  The proposed subdivision would have a mix of R-1 and R-2 lots with sizes ranging from 14,000 square feet to 55,000 square feet, and contain 13% green space.  A traffic study determined that left and right turn lanes would be necessary at the entrance on Hwy. 104.


Gulf Shores City Council – February 25, 2019

R1-5 Lot Sizes Changed

The Gulf Shores City Council voted to change the regulations for R1-5 lot sizes as follows:        Lot sizes will increase from 6,000 sq. ft. to 8,000 sq. ft.

                     Lot width will increase from 50’ to 60’

                     Side yard setbacks will increase from 10’ to 15’

                     Front setbacks will increase from   30’ to 35’


 Gulf Shores Planning Commission – February 26, 2019

New Hire Coming to Gulf Shores

 A light planning commission agenda allowed for an extended discussion period of the future direction of planning in Gulf Shores.  The city has hired a new Planning & Community Development Director, which starts the job April 1st.  The new director is being charged with re-writing the zoning ordinances for Gulf Shores. The re-write will focus on creating a Highway Corridor Overlay District for North Gulf Shores.  The overlay district will attempt to create common development regulations which will focus on building design, site plan, landscaping, signage, connectivity, future land use plan, maximizing human activity, and maintaining the character and unique appearance, while limiting strip commercial development. The subdivision regulations will also be examined to improve the quality of new subdivisions.