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Local Government Update, July 2019

Friday, August 2, 2019

Fairhope Planning Commission Meeting – July 1, 2019

Details Emerge on Proposed Hwy 181 Development

The Fairhope Planning Commission heard a request from Gayfer Village Partners to develop a 75-acre property located at the northwest corner of Hwy. 181 and Fairhope Ave.  The property is currently un-zoned in the County.  A request to zone the property as a PUD (planned unit development) conditioned upon annexation into the city of Fairhope received a favorable recommendation by the Planning Commission.  Plans presented include a mixture of 16 commercial/retail lots, 223 apartment units with a maximum of 3 stories, and 77 single family units with 50’ lots.  The plans were not well received by the large public crowd in attendance.  Objections from the public included an aversion to more apartments, increased traffic flow and congestion, drainage problems for neighboring residents, and adding to already taxed infrastructure, sewage, and schools. Planning Commission members pointed out that if the property stays in the County under its current un-zoned status anything could go there and the city would have little control.  Under an annexation and PUD zoning the city could exert more control over the concerns raised by the public.  The zoning and annexation request will now move to the city council for a final determination.  If approved by the city council, the development would still have to go through further site plan reviews and MOP (multiple occupancy permit) review.

Site Plan Approved for Pier Street Marketplace

The Fairhope Planning Commission approved the request of Wise Properties, LLC for the site plan of Pier Street Marketplace, a 3-unit multiple occupancy project.  The project is located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Pier St. and S. Mobile St. in Fairhope.  Plans for the .2-acre site include a three-unit mixed use building.  The ground floor would house a 1200 square foot office/commercial space.  The upper two floors would be residential.  The property is zoned B-3(b) (tourist resort commercial service dist.) and a 35-feet building height is allowable.

Plat Approved for 29-Lot Hill Top Subdivision South of Fairhope

Preliminary plat approval was granted by the Fairhope Planning Commission for Hill Top Subdivision.  The 19.39-acre property is located on the west side of S. Section St., between Twin Beech Rd. and Battles Rd.  There are 29 lots planned for the subdivision, with the smallest lot being 15,000 square feet, and the largest over 35,000 square feet.  The property is un-zoned.


Orange Beach Planning Commission Meeting – July 8, 2019

Entire Agenda is Deferred to August Meeting

The July meeting of the Orange Beach Planning Commission resulted in all agenda items being deferred for various reasons to the August meeting.  Items that were deferred include: Cotton Dunes Subdivision, Cotton Bayou Cottages PUD, Broken Sound PUD, and Hammock Dunes PUD Phase II.


Orange Beach City Council Meeting – July 9, 2019

New Tower Coming to Jack Edwards Airport

The Orange Beach City Council voted to support funding for the Jack Edwards Airport. The City will contribute up to $14,000 to partner with the Gulf Shores Airport Authority to pursue a grant through the Small Community Air Service Development Program to establish a new airport control tower.  The new control tower is expected to be seven stories tall, and be completed by January of 2021.  With the addition of the new control tower it will be possible to attract small commercial carrier service to the airport.  A new terminal is also in future design plans.

Orange Beach Conducting Wetland Study

The Orange Beach City Council approved the execution of a task order with GeoCon, Inc. to provide a soil study on property located south of the new Orange Beach High School.  The city is looking at a wetland area on 6.5 acres behind the new school to determine if the wetlands can be filled for possible future development use.


Baldwin County Planning Commission Meeting – July 11, 2019

Development Permits Approved for Three County Properties

Development permit approval was granted by the Baldwin County Planning Commission for Tensaw Estates.  The property is located on the west side of Hwy. 225, approximately 1 mile north of Bromley Rd.  Plans for the 86.72-acre property include 23 estate size lots.

Development approval was granted for Isabella Estates.  The property is located on the western side of County Rd. 112, between Horseneck Rd. and Phillipsville Rd. (CR 61).  Plans for the 31.3-acre site include 6 lots, with the smallest being 3 acres.

Development approval was granted for Silver Pines.  The property is located on the east side of County Road 49, between Woodpecker Rd. and North Blvd. Plans for the 72.33-acre site include 7 lots, with the smallest being 6 acres.

Possible Dollar General Re-Zoning Request Pending Near Beach Express

The Baldwin County Planning Commission narrowly voted 3-2 to send a favorable recommendation to the Baldwin County Commission for a re-zoning request by the Broadway Group, LLC.  The Broadway Group, LLC is the applicant name under which Dollar General stores operate.  The request is seeking to re-zone 1.45 acres out of a 3.6 acre total parcel from RSF-E to B-3 for a retail store.  The property is located on the east side of the Baldwin Beach Express, north of Oakdale Lane in the Loxley area.  Vehicular access would be from Oakdale Rd. The re-zoning request will now go to the County Commission for a final determination.          


Baldwin County Commission Meeting – July 16, 2019

County Contributes to Coal Ash Education Film

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program requested funding from the Baldwin County Commission for an educational film being produced to educate elected officials and the public.  The intent is to provide information about the coal ash pond that contains the used coal ash from the Alabama Power Plant located near the Mobile River.  Two options are being considered for containment and disposal of the coal ash pond, which contains the toxic waste laden with mercury and arsenic that remains after coal is burned. One option would cap in place the existing pond, the other would remove the coal ash and relocate for disposal.  The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program seeks to provide information through the film on both methods and the environmental impact of each method. The Baldwin County Commission voted to approve up to $15,000 to fund production of the film.  This money will be combined with other funds being requested from the Baldwin County Legislative Delegation, the Mobile Legislative Delegation, and the Mobile County Commission.  The film is expected to be completed by the end of August.

Re-Zoning and Site Plan Request for 392-Lot Subdivision East of Daphne Withdrawn

Applicants withdrew their request for re-zoning and site plan review for the Savannah Estates Subdivision.  A total of 392 single family lots had been proposed for the 148-acre property located slightly northeast of the intersection of County Road 64 and County Road 55.  Since the request to withdraw came less than 7 days prior to the commission meeting it had to go before the commission at the public meeting, at which time the request to withdraw was approved. Under County rules when an application is withdrawn, it can be brought back for consideration at any time. 

Proposed Elberta Area Subdivision Denied Re-Zoning

The Baldwin County Commission voted unanimously to deny a request to re-zone a 22.9-acre property from RSF-1 to RSF-3.  The property is located on the north side of Hwy. 98, and west of Breeman Rd, in the Elberta area.  The applicant was proposing a 58-lot single family subdivision with 80’ lot width.  The RSF-3 request was made after a prior request for RSF-4 was withdrawn due to lack of support.  The Commission believed that the area needed a more gradual transition from the large rural lots already existing in the area, to the smaller lot sizes requested.

Orange Beach City Council Meeting – July 16, 2019

Moratorium Approved for New Business Licenses Selling CBD Products

The Orange Beach City Council, citing public safety concerns, enacted a 90-day moratorium on all new business licenses for businesses selling CBD products. Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is made from industrial cannabis.  Some products with CBD contain a small amount of THC, the intoxicating compound contained in cannabis.  Due to recent changes in federal and state law, products containing CBD oil are legal if the dry weight is .3% or less.  In addition to recreational purposes, there are many medicinal and therapeutic uses for CBD oil.  Several area residents spoke in favor of the CBD oil products health benefits and encouraged the council to allow the businesses.  The police chief spoke of the difficulties CBD oil presents to law enforcement since the legal substances test positive on police drug tests for illegal cannabis, and they have difficulty determining the difference.  During the moratorium period the city will be creating a new ordinance to address issues that have arisen since the products have become legalized.  The city identified four points that they want any new ordinance to address.  Those include: (1) Does it fit the values of the city (2) What do the police do when they get a positive test on roadside stops (3) How to handle drug testing of city employees (4) How to verify the contents of the products for consumer protection. In addition, the city is also looking at addressing zoning in the new ordinance. The new ordinance is expected to apply to any business deriving more than 10% of its sales from CBD products. Due to the passage of the moratorium two requests for business licenses pertaining to CBD sales on the council agenda were tabled.

Summer Salt Granted Final PUD Approval

The Orange Beach City Council voted to approve the Final PUD plan for Summer Salt.  The Summer Salt development will be located on the north end of Summer Salt Plaza Blvd., and north of the Ruby Slipper.  The 42-acre development will house 54 single family homes and 58 cottage lots, and preserve 14 acres of wetlands.  The approval followed debates over parking and setback requirements.  The council reasoned that relaxing the setback requirements for the lower density development was in the best interest of the city, considering the property was originally zoned GB and high density condos could have been built by right.


Gulf Shores Planning Commission Meeting – July 23, 2019

Long Range Planning Update for Gulf Shores

During the Gulf Shores Planning Commission meeting an update was given about the long-range planning goals for the city and how the scope has changed.  What began as a planning project for the Coastal Gateway area north of the Intracoastal Waterway, has now evolved into a broader planning process called “Small Area Plans”.  Under the Small Area Plan seven zones have been identified around the city.  Those zones include the State Hwy. 59 Gateway, Beach Express Gateway, Plash Island/Bon Secour River, Intracoastal Waterway West, Intracoastal Waterway East, Downtown Gulf Shores, and Gulf Beach Area.  The long-term planning is focused on areas that have major development opportunity, are experiencing imminent changes in land use or pattern of development, face infrastructure deficiencies, or need to plan for the introduction of new uses or districts.  The benefits outlined for the Small Plan Areas include providing a more detailed foundation to guide growth and development in key areas of the city.  It will also provide an opportunity to address and test broader planning goals established through the visioning process and identify necessary street and infrastructure improvements.


Baldwin County Commission Special Called Meeting – July 25, 2019        

Mega-Site Receiving $7M in Improvements

The Baldwin County Mega-Site located in north Baldwin County will be receiving improvements for design, engineering and construction costs that will include railway site prep, roadway access, and utility infrastructure improvements.  The money will be coming from grant opportunities made available by the legislature and other donations secured by the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance (BCEDA), and not from County funds.  Under terms of the grant funding agreement it was necessary to temporarily transfer title to the property to the BCEDA.  Upon completion of the work title will be conveyed back to the County. 


Daphne Planning Commission Meeting – July 25, 2019

Olde Towne Daphne Dist. Map Amended

The Daphne Planning Commission approved an amendment to the Land Use and Development Ordinance to amend the boundary of the Olde Towne Daphne Dist. Map to include parcels west of Main St. and east of Sixth St.  All parcels contiguous to Sixth St. are excluded.  The result of the amendment is the addition of 10 lots in the Olde Towne Daphne Dist.  The benefits to property owners within the district include the qualification to request non-residential zoning changes for commercial or mixed-use, and reduced requirements for parking, landscaping, and signage area. A final draft of the Land Use Development Ordinance is expected in August. 

Storage Facility Approved on Hwy. 90

The Daphne Planning Commission approved a site plan for the Rock-It Self Storage facility. The business is to be located on a 2.98-acre site at the southeast corner of Renaissance Blvd and Hwy. 90 in the Malbis Place Subdivision.  Access will be on Hwy. 90 between the inactive traffic light and the entrance to Lowes.  The property is zoned B-2 and required approval for use as a storage facility.

New Office Development Planned for North Belrose in Daphne

The Daphne Planning Commission granted site plan approval and a revised landscape plan for a proposed 3-story office building to be located northwest of Main St. and Belrose Ave.  The .39-acre site is currently zoned R-2.  The approval is subject to the property being re-zoned to B-3.  The site plan shows the building located near the road, with parking in the rear.  Parking would include 20 onsite and 3 on the street.  A 6 foot masonry wall on the western border is being required as a buffer between existing residential areas.