Local Government Update, August 2019

Friday, August 30, 2019

Baldwin County Planning & Zoning Meeting – August 1, 2019

Charter Boat Business Seeks Re-Zoning in Ft. Morgan

The Baldwin County Planning Commission heard a request to re-zone 1 acre from RTF-1 to MR.  The property is located on the north side of Hwy. 180, west of Boykin Court in the Ft. Morgan area.  The property is adjacent to a marina to the west.  Owners presented plans for a charter fishing boat business and a single-family residence to be developed on the property.  The favorable recommendation from the Planning Commission will now move the County Commission for a final vote.

 Fairhope Planning Commission Meeting – August 5, 2019

Revised Plan for Live Oak Estates Passes Planning Commission

Developers tweaked their plans for a re-zoning request in hopes of gaining support for a new subdivision to be named Live Oak Estates. The 38-acre property is located on the southwest corner of Bay Meadows Dr., and Hwy. 181 in Fairhope.  Developers requested a zoning change from RA to PUD to build a 99-lot single family subdivision on 33.66 acres, and reserve 4.3 acres along Hwy. 181 for a future commercial parcel. The original plans were paired down by 8 lots and the access points on Bay Meadows Dr. were reduced to 1.  The changes were met with less resistance than the original request, and the planning commission voted for a favorable recommendation.  The re-zoning will now go before the City Council for a final vote.

Re-Zoning Sought for Future Real Estate Office

The Fairhope Planning Commission voted in favor of a zoning recommendation for a .4-acre site located at 303 Fels Ave.  The property is just northeast of the intersection of Fels Ave. and Church St., within the Central Business District.  The current zoning is R-2.  The requested zoning is B-1.  The listed applicant is Anil Vira, and plans for the property include converting the existing residence into a real estate office. 

15-lot PUD Requested for South Section St. Development

The Fairhope Planning Commission voted to send a favorable recommendation to the city council for a zoning change from M-1 to PUD.  The 5.2-acre property is located just south of Pecan Ave. and Section St., on the west side of Section St.  The location is across from the Fairhope Public Works Dept.  Currently the site is wooded and vacant with a gulley located on the southeast side of the property.  If the zoning change is approved by the city council, developers are planning a 15-lot residential subdivision


Baldwin County Commission Meeting – August 6, 2019

Baldwin County Considering New Comprehensive Plan & Impact Fees

The Baldwin County Commission voted to take the first step in possibly creating a Master Plan/Comprehensive Plan for Baldwin County by sending out a Request for Proposals.  With rapid development in Baldwin County, the Commission is trying to prepare for proper planning of the growth while enhancing the livability and quality of life for residents and visitors.  Baldwin County has the authority to institute County planning and zoning, and pursuant to that authority a long-range plan is being suggested for the physical development of the unincorporated areas of Baldwin County.  A Master/Comprehensive Plan is a geographic framework for growth and development in the County that would express the community’s desires about future development and policy decisions in the future, such as zoning, re-zoning and subdivision decisions.  It would create a framework to coordinate future development decisions in concert with future public infrastructure investment such as roads, water and sewer.

In conjunction with these discussions, the County is also considering impact fees. Currently, five municipalities (Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Robertsdale, Summerdale and Fairhope) collect impact fees.  Alabama law allows impact fees to be collected to offset the impact of new growth on public infrastructure. By law, impact fees are limited to 1% of the estimated fair market value of the new development after completion.


Orange Beach Planning & Zoning Meeting – August 12, 2019

Cotton Dunes Minor Subdivision Approved

The Orange Beach Planning Commission gave approval for the preliminary and final minor subdivision containing 5 lots.  The property is located at 26009, 26023, and 26021 Perdido Beach Blvd. and is in the GB and RM-1 zoning districts.

Re-Zoning Moves Forward on Cotton Bayou Cottages PUD

The Orange Beach Planning Commission voted to send a favorable recommendation to the city council for preliminary PUD approval to re-zone 4.38 acres from RM-1 to PUD.  The re-zoning would allow plans for a residential development containing 34 cottage lots. Plans call for various cottage sizes of 3, 5, and 6-bedroom plans.  The proposed development would also have 34 boat slips and contain 40% open space.  The property is located on the north side of Perdido Beach Blvd. across from Admiral Quarters Condominiums.  Vacation rentals would be allowed.

Beachfront Property Re-Zoning Request Denied

A re-zoning request for 1.74 acres located at 23916 and 23926 Perdido Beach Blvd. (commonly known as the “blue house”) was met with a unanimous denial recommendation by the Orange Beach Planning Commission.  The property is one of a few beachfront lots still zoned as RS-1.  Owners were requesting the zoning to be changed from RS-1 to PUD and were seeking to include the property in the Hammock Dunes PUD Master Plan and add 11 cottages to the property. The property is sandwiched between Phase I of Hammock Dunes and the Phoenix West.  Developers argued that due to the high density surrounding the property, the current single-family zoning has become untenable.  The property is surrounded by BR-2, PUD, GB, and RM-1 zoning.  Councilwoman Annette Mitchell, who also sits on the planning commission, articulated the council’s commitment to not up-zone any property in Orange Beach. Under the current RS-1 zoning the property can accommodate two houses or one duplex.  The city council has the final vote on all re-zoning recommendations.  

New Public Works Facility Coming to Orange Beach

The Orange Beach Planning Commission gave approval to zone 19 acres that was recently annexed into the city to GB (general business).  The property is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Roscoe Rd. and Russian Rd.  A new pubic works department facility is planned for the site.

The Bluffs of Orange Beach PUD Could Bring 10-Lot Cottage Subdivision

The Orange Beach Planning Commission recommended approval for a re-zoning of 2.01 acres located at 25768 Perdido Beach Blvd. from BR-2 to PUD, and to subdivide the property into 10 cottage lots.  Development plans include a single-family residential subdivision with lots 1 and 2 having a 5’ beach access easement. The property is the former site of Against the Wind.  Vacation rentals are expected to be allowed.

Preliminary PUD Approved for 14-Lot Robinson Grove

The Orange Beach Planning Commission voted in favor of a preliminary PUD approval to re-zone 1.69 acres from MR (marine resort) to PUD.  A single-family residential subdivision containing 14 cottage lots, known as Robinson Grove, is planned for the property located at 4576 Walker Key Blvd.  The subdivision will have a common pool and boat access to Terry Cove, with boat slips for owners only.  Access to the development is planned for Canal Road, through a Walker Key Blvd. easement. Vacation rentals will be allowed for the property.

Baldwin County Commission Meeting – August 20, 2019

Re-Zoning Approved for Dollar General Near Baldwin Beach Express

The Baldwin County Commission gave final approval for a re-zoning request which will allow a new Dollar General Store. The re-zoning of 1.45 acres from RSF-E to B-3 was requested by the Broadway Group, which represents Dollar General Stores.  The property is located on the east side of the Baldwin Beach Express in the Loxley area.  The 9,100 square foot store will use Oakdale Dr. as a vehicular access point.                       


Orange Beach City Council Meeting – August 20, 2019

Fiber Internet Coming to Orange Beach Residences

Island Fiber is currently installing a full fiber network to residential homes in Orange Beach.  A full build out of the city is expected by December of 2020.  In addition to existing homes, Island Fiber is running the fiber infrastructure to every lot line, so future new construction will have an existing box and splitter available.  All installation is being done underground.  The City of Orange Beach is providing $350,000 to Island Fiber upfront as part of an economic development agreement.


Daphne Planning & Zoning Meeting – August 22, 2019

Main St. Re-Zoning for Grocery Meets Denial

The Daphne Planning Commission heard a request to re-zone a .91-acre parcel located at the southeast corner of Ryan Ave. and Main St.  The request was to re-zone the property from R-1 to B-1(a) and to include the property in the Olde Towne Daphne Overlay Dist. by amendment.  The stated reason for the requests was to develop a neighborhood grocery market with a walkable feel, to coordinate with the Judges Square area.  The request was met with complaints from residents of Pinewood Subdivision.  There was also concern over the potential large range of allowable uses under B-1(a) that could result if the stated plans of a neighborhood grocery market were not successful.  The Planning Commission voted to send an unfavorable recommendation to the City Council.

Storage Facility Receives Favorable Recommendation Outside Daphne

The Daphne Planning Commission voted to send a favorable recommendation to the City Council for a re-zoning and annexation request.  The 8.74-acre property is located northeast of the intersection of County Roads 64 and 13, just north of the roundabout.  Currently the property is zoned B-1 in the County.  The requested zoning is B-2(a) in the city upon annexation.  Plans for the property are to construct a storage facility.


Fairhope City Council Meeting – August 26, 2019

Greeno Road Moratorium Extended

The Fairhope City Council voted to extend the Greeno Rd. Corridor Moratorium which was set to expire on October 1st.  The extension will continue the moratorium to 12-31-19.  The proposed changes to the Greeno Rd. Corridor are still pending before the Planning Commission, with another public hearing scheduled for 9-10-19 at 5:00 p.m. at council chambers.   The first opportunity the planning commission could vote is 10-7-19.  After a vote by the Planning Commission, the proposed ordinance changes will go to the City Council for final approval.  The Moratorium covers all re-zoning, site plan, and multiple occupancy permit requests within the Greeno Rd. Corridor.


Gulf Shores City Council Meeting – August 26, 2019

Council Hears Wetland Waiver Request

The Gulf Shores City Council heard a request from Fisheye LLC, for a wetland waiver to fill .24 acres of wetland for the purpose of constructing a commercial building on property located at the intersection of W. 20th Ave. and E. 2nd St.  The council ultimately tabled the request without a decision.  The request initiated a discussion about wetland waivers. The Wetland Protection regulations prohibit the filling of wetlands and require a minimum 30-foot wetland buffer. Article 3 authorizes the City Council to hear appeals and grant or deny waivers to the Wetland Protection regulations.  The 1-acre property is composed of .59 acres of uplands and .41 acres of wetlands. The applicant is seeking to encroach into the required 30’ wetland buffer and fill .30 acres of wetlands.  An analysis of the wetland area shows the wetlands are classified as low functional value and may have been influenced by the offsite water directed to the site from neighboring roads and developments. The owner argued that when the property was purchased in 2005 a wetland delineation indicated a small area of wetlands on the southeast corner of the lot. The owner is once again interested in developing or selling the property and had another wetland delineation performed. The new delineation indicates a larger wetland area is now in existence on the lot. Neighboring property owners are opposed to the wetland waiver.  


Gulf Shores Planning Commission Meeting – August 27, 2019

South Point Cottage Subdivision Site Plan Approved

The Gulf Shores Planning Commission approved the site plan for a 6-lot cottage subdivision.  The .97-acre property is located on the beachfront at 545 E. Beach Blvd. and zoned BT-4.  Five 2-bedroom units will front a private roadway, with one 6-bedroom unit fronting the beach.  The development will include a pool and a dune walkover.


Eastern Shores Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting  – August 28, 2019

Eastern Shore MPO Effectively Kills Toll Bridge

The Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) voted on 8-29-19 to remove the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project from their transportation improvement plan (TIP).  Through an obscure rule in which the MPO must include any transportation project receiving federal funding as part of their TIP, the MPO was able to effectively stop the project.  By voting to remove the Bridge and Bayway project from the TIP, no federal funds can be used, effectively killing the project as proposed.  The overwhelming public sentiment was opposition to tolling of the proposed project, and what some saw as a more extravagant engineering plan than was really necessary.  Projections by ALDOT were anticipating a toll up to $6 one way.  It is yet to be seen whether the project can be re-worked without the tolling option.