Local Government Update, March 2019

Friday, March 29, 2019

Baldwin County Planning & Zoning - March 7, 2019

Conditional Use Permit Granted for Loxley Petting Zoo Venue

The Baldwin County Planning Commission granted a conditional use permit for property located at 29370 Loper Rd., in the Loxley area.  The 23-acre property is currently zoned RSF-E, and has an existing home and accessory buildings.  The primary use will remain residential, while the conditional use permit will allow owners to operate a business which will host kid’s parties and house a petting zoo.  The permit stipulates that no parking will be allowed on Loper Rd. and the hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

New Dental Office Building Planned for Lillian Area

The Baldwin County Planning Commission granted initial approval for a re-zoning request to construct a new 2,400 square foot dental office at the northeast corner of Ickler Ave. N., and Santa Piedro St. in the Lillian area.  The .4-acre property is currently zoned RSF-1.  The zoning change to B-1 received Planning Commission approval, and now heads to the County Commission for final approval.  The owner currently has a dental office on the adjacent parcel to the north, and is planning to move the practice to the new building site.  The existing home on the new site will be removed.


Orange Beach Planning Commission – March 11, 2019

Plans for Dollar General Store Rejected by Planning Commission

The Orange Beach Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny site plan approval for a proposed 4th Dollar General Store in Orange Beach.  The Broadway Group made the request for a 9,100 square foot retail store to be located at 26736 Canal Rd.  The property is zoned General Business and bordered on the north by Magnolia Ave.   The applicant requested reduced setbacks of 18 feet on the west boundary and a 5 foot setback from the parking lot.  The requests were not supported by the commission.  Complaints from residents of Magnolia Ave. and concerns over the ability of delivery trucks and emergency vehicles to maneuver and access the property were also factors in the denial.


Orange Beach City Council – March 12, 2019

Broken Sound PUD Approval Brings 40 Residential Lots

The Orange Beach City Council approved the Broken Sound PUD, following a January approval from the Orange Beach Planning Commission.  The residential development will be located at the northeast corner of Lauder Lane and Pelican Place.  The 7.5-acre property will house 40 single family homes, and contain 2.13 acres of open space.  Amenities will include a lake, walking trails, and gazebo.  Truland Homes is the builder of record and has agreed, at the request of council, to provide several varieties of exterior home designs.  The city agreed to 46’ lot widths with 5’ side setback, 18’ front setback and 8’ rear setback variances as part of the PUD.  There was some discussion about granting the setback variances.  It was decided that for this case, allowing the smaller setbacks in the PUD for single family residential was the better tradeoff considering the original zoning of the property was RM-2 which would have allowed for higher density apartments or condos/townhomes.  As a condition of the PUD approval rentals will be restricted to a minimum of 6 months by the HOA.


Fairhope Planning Commission – March 12, 2019

224-Unit Development Tabled to Allow Community Involvement

Residents of south Fairhope attended the Fairhope Planning Commission to voice concerns over a proposed 224-unit development. The Teacher Retirement Systems of Alabama owns the property and made the request for conditional annexation and zoning of TR (tourist resort district) of a 99.15-acre parcel located south of Twin Beech Rd. and west of S. Section St.  The property is currently un-zoned in Baldwin County. Plans for the property include a low-rise development of 225 units.  Under the definition of low-rise, a structure cannot exceed 35 feet in height.  Residents of the area voiced objections due to lack of notice and involvement in the planning process, concerns over wetland areas, and traffic.  Planning Commission members agreed that there should be more community involvement in the process and tabled the request.  They encouraged developers to set up a community meeting with residents prior to the request returning to the planning commission for consideration.

Minor 4-Lot Division Planned Within Fairhope Central Business District

The Fairhope Planning Commission approved of a minor subdivision plat of property located within the Central Business District and zoned B-2.  The .5-acre parcel located at the northeast corner of Magnolia Ave. and Church St. will be divided into 4 separate lots. Plans for use of the property have not been disclosed.


Spanish Fort City Council – March 18, 2019

Spanish Fort to Pursue Special School Tax District

Spanish Fort is proceeding with establishing a special school tax district which would potentially add a 3 mil property tax to property owners within the Spanish Fort school feeder pattern.  The measure will go before voters on a special election to be held September 10, 2019.  If voters approve the additional tax, the money would be spent to enhance academic programming.  City leaders agreed that the potential special tax revenue would not be spent on athletics, existing employee salaries, or construction.  The City of Fairhope has also agreed to put a 3 mil special school tax on the ballot for voters.  Both elections will be held September 10th.  The City of Daphne is considering whether to join.


Daphne Olde Towne Planning Workshop - March 19, 2019

Downtown Daphne Future Plans Discussed

The City of Daphne concluded its study of the Olde Towne Daphne area with a public presentation of the visioning results. The objective of the study was to determine how to preserve the charm and character of the area while factoring in growth and the needs of the community. The study looked at the existing conditions, bike and pedestrian connectivity, traffic and transportation networks, parking, streetscaping, architectural character, and placemaking.  Feedback from the public was obtained through a series of workshops where over 150 members of the community participated.

The feedback received from residents included the need for affordable housing, too much traffic, lack of parking, inconsistent sidewalks, safety for pedestrians, and a desire for architectural control.   There was a desire to do away with the above ground utilities which create an eyesore and hinder tree growth and create a risk during storms.  Residents also highlighted the need to brand the entryway to Olde Towne Daphne with some sort of Gateway feature.

The study firm incorporated the feedback from residents into their recommendations for the city.  Some of the recommendations include putting cobblestones on the roadways as a traffic calming device and creating the perception of narrower lanes.  This could also be created with stamped concrete.  Other recommendations are lowering the speed limit to 25 m.p.h., and adding bollards along the sidewalks to act as traffic calming to provide a safer experience for pedestrians.  Two roundabouts were recommended.  A combination of mixed-use buildings that bring upstairs living spaces to downtown was recommended to activate the downtown.  There were also recommendations to locate parking to the rear of businesses, develop architectural standards, and a landscaping code. 


Foley Planning Commission – March 20, 2019

Subdivision Planned Near Foley Wetland Area

The Foley Planning Commission gave a favorable recommendation to a request by Blue Marlin Investments LLC, to establish initial zoning of R-1C and annexation into the city limits.  The 38-acre property is located south of County Rd. 26, west of Hickory St.  The property is currently un-zoned in Baldwin County.  Developers are proposing a 30-lot subdivision. The proposal brought objections from neighboring property owners due to flood concerns.  Over 1/3 of the property is in a flood zone and is currently wetlands.  The project engineer stated that there would be no development of the wetland area of the property, and no fill dirt would be used.  Two detention ponds are planned to route the flow of water from the development.  The planning commission approval was subject to placing the wetland area of the property in a conservation easement.  The decision is subject to final approval by the city council.

Foley Subdivisions Receive Phase Approvals

The Foley Planning Commission granted approval for Phase III of Primland Subdivision.  Phase III consists of 23.65 acres, and 50 lots.  The property is located at the southeast corner of County Rd.12 and Wolf Bay Dr.

The Foley Planning Commission also granted approval for Phase III of Riverside at Arbor Walk.  Phase III consists of 46.83 acres, and 38 lots.  The property is located east of County Rd. 65, and north of County Rd. 12.


Baldwin County Commission – March 19, 2019

Ft. Morgan Property Granted Re-Zoning

The Baldwin County Commission granted final approval by a 3-1 vote for re-zoning 2.74 acres located on the northwest side of Hwy. 180 and Ewing Place in the Ft. Morgan area. The property was zoned RSF-1.  A portion of the property was granted re-zoning to GB (general business).  The owner has expressed an intention to operate a seafood restaurant and store on the site.  The Ft. Morgan Advisory Committee approved of the plans, and the Baldwin County Planning Commission issued a favorable recommendation as well.  A neighboring property owner had concerns over introducing business zoning into a residential area.  A 25’ landscape buffer will be required between adjoining residential property.

3-Lot Property Division Approved in Ft. Morgan

The Baldwin County Commission granted final approved for a 3-lot subdivision and re-zoning of a 1.4-acre parcel after a compromise was reached over the zoning classification.  Originally the requested zoning was RSF-4.  That request was met by objections at the Planning Commission stage, and the request was re-submitted under RSF-2.  The RSF-2 zoning will allow for three single family lots on property located on the south side of Ft. Morgan Trail.

Extra Territorial Jurisdictions Cause Confusion in Billboard Denial

The Baldwin County Commission spent a lengthy portion of their regular meeting sorting out conflicts that occurred over a request by Justin Pate for a billboard on property located at 28396 State Hwy. 181.  The property is located in un-zoned Baldwin County, but still within the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) of Daphne.  The County is tasked with permitting when the property is within the County; but has to enforce the rules of the municipality when the property is located within that municipality’s ETJ.  Daphne rules do not allow billboards.  Initially the Baldwin County Planning Dept. issued a building permit for the billboard, basing its decision on a local court ruling which was erroneously believed to be precedent.  Later the County building department rescinded the building permit for the billboard, based on the law currently in place.  Justin Pate appealed the denial to the County Commission.  A lengthy debate highlighted frustrations about the differing rules between municipalities and the County, and which authority controls in the ETJ.  Ultimately the County Commission voted unanimously to uphold denial of the billboard permit based on the law currently in place in the City of Daphne.


Gulf Shores Planning Commission – March 26, 2019 

More Development Possible for Coastal Gateway Blvd.

The Gulf Shores Planning Commission heard a request from Raley Farms Phase I, to subdivide property located on the north side of Coastal Gateway Blvd., across from Osprey Landing.  The subdivision plat proposed the 29.98-acre property be divided into 90 single family residential lots with a minimum lot size of 8,450 square feet, 60’ wide, with some lots being larger.  Proposed amenities include a clubhouse and pool on the north side.  A 5-acre lake currently on the property will accommodate drainage and showcase the mature oak trees at the site.  The subdivision is planning additional phases which could total 450 lots when complete.


Daphne Planning Commission – March 28, 2019

Volleyball Venue Denied Conditional Use Permit After Residents Complain

The Daphne Planning Commission heard a request from Tropics Volleyball Bar & Grill for a conditional use permit to allow a volleyball venue on property located northwest of Walmart Dr. and U.S. Hwy. 98.  The 3.75-acre parcel has frontage on Hwy. 98 and Main St.  Part of the property is zoned B-2 and part is zoned R-2.  Developers sought a conditional use permit for approx. 9 open air sand volleyball courts to be located on the B-2 zoned portion of the property.  The plans also included a bar and grill concession area which is allowed by right and did not require conditional use approval.  Many local residents attended the meeting to voice objections to the venue citing noise, lighting, and disapproval of the bar element.  Some felt that a volleyball venue was needed in Daphne, but felt the proposed location was inappropriate and did not fit with the surrounding land uses. The Planning Commission voted 4-1 to deny the conditional use permit for the volleyball courts.