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Local Government Update, June 2019

Monday, July 1, 2019

Fairhope Planning Commission Meeting – June 3, 2019

Re-Zoning Request Upsets Neighboring Bay Meadows Residents

The Fairhope Planning Commission heard a re-zoning request for a 38-acre parcel located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Bay Meadows Dr. and Hwy. 181.  The parcel is currently zoned RA.  The requested zoning is PUD with a plan to develop  107 single family homes on 33.62 acres (to be named Live Oak Estates), and retain a 4.34 acre parcel on the northeast corner for future commercial development.  The request was met with opposition from the residents of Bay Meadows Dr. who complained about the proposed 52’ and 75’ lot sizes, and the vehicular connection from Bay Meadows Dr.  Residents did not want traffic from the proposed development coming through their quiet narrow lane.  Developers told the planning commission that ALDOT had denied drive access on Hwy. 181 and had no choice but to access a connection through Bay Meadows Dr.  The application was tabled, and no action taken at this time.

Minor Subdivision Requests Gain Approval

Two requests for minor subdivisions of property were approved by the Fairhope Planning Commission.  A 2-lot minor subdivision was approved for a 1.99-acre parcel located on the south side of the intersection of Cains Lane and Laraway Lane with the conditions that an existing shop on lot 1 will be removed and a pedestrian easement will be added in lieu of a sidewalk.  A 4-lot family division of property was approved for a 10-acre parcel located at the southwest corner of the intersection of River Park Rd and Meadow Rd. 

River Place Subdivision Moving Forward South of Fairhope

Preliminary Plat approval was given by the Fairhope Planning Commission for a 23-lot subdivision on 24.2 acres.  The property is located on the west side of River Place Rd., just south of County Road 32. All lots will be .5 acre or larger.         


Orange Beach City Council Meeting – June 4, 2019

Orange Beach City Council Rejects Park Models at Pandion Ridge

The Orange Beach City Council heard a request for a modification to the PUD at Pandion Ridge seeking to allow park models.  Park models are large RV type units built on a chassis and designed for long-term or permanent placement.  The applicants were seeking to amend the PUD to convert 70 of the existing traditional RV sites to park models, to be owned by Pandion Ridge and rented out on a short-term basis. The park models would be less than 400 square feet and stay affixed to the site long term.  The applicant explained that they were seeking to offer an option for people wanting the campground experience, without having to own and transport an RV. The request was met with united opposition from the mayor and council.  The council had concerns that the park models did not meet the fortified building standards, and would be a danger during hurricane events, and compared them to mini mobile homes.  Ultimately the request was denied by a unanimous vote.


Baldwin County Planning & Zoning Meeting – June 6, 2019

Another RV Park Planned for South Baldwin County

The Baldwin County Planning Commission gave a favorable recommendation for a conditional use permit to allow for development of an upscale RV and motorcoach park on property zoned B-3.  The property is located on the west side of Roscoe Rd., north of Burkowski Lane, generally between Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Phase 1 of the development includes 118 units, a clubhouse, laundry, and washroom facilities. 

  Re-Zoning Request Could Lead to 392-Lot Subdivision Outside Daphne

 The Baldwin County Planning Commission voted to send a favorable recommendation to the County Commission for a request to re-zone 145 acres to RSF-2 to allow the development of Savannah Estates Subdivision.  The property is located on the north side of County Road 64, and the east side of County Road 54, east of Daphne.  The planned residential development would consist of 392 units, 60 of which would be townhomes and the remainder single family lots. Concerns were raised about large dirt excavation pits currently on the site.  The County engineering dept. stressed that the quality of fill dirt, and means of reclaiming the area must meet structural integrity standards.  The recommendation will now move to the County Commission for a final vote.

Loxley Re-Zoning Request Ignites Community Opposition

The Baldwin County Planning Commission heard a request to re-zone 26.93 acres from RA to RV-1 to allow for the development of a potential 110-lot RV park on the site.  The property is located on the south side of County Rd. 68, west of County Road 71, in the Loxley area. The request drew an almost standing room only crowd to the June meeting.  The crowd came to voice their opposition to the re-zoning request and the potential RV park. Neighboring property owners were not happy about the possibility of an RV park near their property and questioned whether the property would be property maintained.  The planning commission voted to send a favorable recommendation to the Baldwin County Commission, which is expected to review the request sometime in July.

Spot Zoning Request Denied

The Baldwin County Planning Commission voted 4-3 to send a denial recommendation to the County Commission for re-zoning request outside of Foley.  The applicant was requesting to re-zone 4.5 acres of a 25-acre parcel from RMF-6 to B-3.  The property is located on the south side of County Road 12, south and west of James Road.  The intended use was a boat and RV storage business on the parcel.  The Planning Commission and staff recommended to deny since there was no commercial zoning in the surrounding area.

Another Denial for Elberta Re-Zoning Request

The Baldwin County Planning Commission heard another re-zoning request for a 22-acre property located on the north side of U.S. Hwy. 98, west of Breman Rd., in the Elberta area.  This request was to re-zone the property from RSF-1 to RSF-3 to allow for the development of a 58-lot residential subdivision. The staff and planning commission felt a more gradual transition in zoning was necessary and were not in favor of RSF-3 in the area.  The same property has been the subject of unsuccessful attempts to re-zone to RSF-4 and an RV Park. 

Multiple Development Permit Approvals Granted Around Baldwin County

The Baldwin County Planning Commission granted the following development permit approvals at its June meeting:

-A 7-lot subdivision of a 34.76-acre parcel located on the east side of Jimmy Faulker Dr., between Bromley Rd. and U.S. Hwy. 31 in the Spanish Fort area.  The property is unzoned.

-A 2-lot subdivision of a 6.29-acre parcel located on the east side of County Rd. 99 approximately 2.25 miles south of U.S. Hwy. 98 in the Perdido Bay area.  The property is zoned RSF-1

-A 6-lot subdivision of a 60-acre parcel located on the west side of County Rd. 91, approximately 2 miles north of U.S. Hwy. 98.  The property is zoned RA.

-A 20-lot subdivision of a 21-acre parcel located on the east side of Whitehouse Fork Rd. Extension, approximately 2 miles west of State Hwy. 225.  The property is un-zoned.

-A 9-lot subdivision of a 27.69-acre property located on the east side of Fish River Rd., approximately .10 miles north of U.S. Hwy. 98 in the Fairhope area.  A variance from the Baldwin County Subdivision Regulations asking for a gravel road instead of the required paved road was denied.


Baldwin County Commission Meeting – June 18, 2019

Special School Tax Election Date Set

The Baldwin County Commission approved the request of the Baldwin County Board of Education and the municipalities of Spanish Fort and Fairhope to set an election date for a special school tax proposal.  Spanish Fort and Fairhope school feeder pattern districts will be voting on 9-17-19 whether to approve an additional 3-mil property tax.  If approved the additional money generated would stay within each respective school feeder pattern, and be split between the schools in that pattern.  The Fairhope ballot question will be asking voters to approve the 3-mil tax for a period of 30 years.  While the Spanish Fort ballot question will be to approve the 3-mil tax for 10 years.  You must reside within the respective school feeder pattern to be eligible to vote in that election.  If approved the average property tax bill on a $300,000 home would increase by $90/year.

Foley Planning Commission Meeting – June 19, 2019

Will Braham Holdings, LLC Bring Life to Forgotten PUD?

It’s not often you see a planning commission agenda item that involves a 1,767-acre property.  The Foley Planning Commission approved a request for a PUD modification for the large acreage at its June meeting.  The modification sought to increase the allowable units per acre from 2 to 4.  The modification was approved and amended the original PUD from 2004.  Since the original approval in 2004, the property has been undeveloped.  Now, there seems to be the possibility for new life in the site with Brahman Holdings, LLC as the potential buyer.  Plans presented to the Foley Planning Commission include a village concept with a 15-year build-out that would include a mixture of single family, multi-family, mixed use, institutional, commercial, parks, fire station and a possible school site.  The property is generally located at the northeast corner of the Foley Beach Express.  The Foley Beach Express provides access to the property at its southwest corner, and County Road 32 provides another access point on the north side of the property.  Utility access is still being determined.  Time will tell as to how plans materialize.

Preliminary Approval Granted for 30-Lot Subdivision

The Foley Planning Commission granted preliminary approval for Marlin Place, located south of County Road 26, and west of Thames Dr.  The 30-lot subdivision will be on a 38.82-acre parcel with two detention ponds.  A flood prone portion of the property which abuts Cape Fear Rd. will be protected by a conservation easement through Weeks Bay Foundation.


Gulf Shores City Council Meeting – June 24, 2019

Zoning and Annexation Approved North of County Rd. 8

The Gulf Shores City Council gave final approval to zone a 42-acre parcel  R-1-5 single family residential, along with annexation into the city limits.  The property is located between Grund Lane and Viola Rd, north of County Rd. 8 in Gulf Shores.  The approval came with a list of conditions which included improvements to Grund Lane,  Grund Lane must be used as the construction entrance, red clay must not be used for construction purposes, a playground will be incorporated into the open space, mature trees on the western side of property will be preserved, density will be capped at 82 lots, the minimum lot size will be 9,150 square feet, as well as various stormwater management requirements.


Gulf Shores Planning Commission Meeting – June 25, 2019

Site Plan Approved for West Beach Outdoor Café

The Gulf Shores Planning Commission approved a site plan for West Beach Café, a 1,065 square foot open air café to be located at 408 W. Beach Blvd.  The proposed Café would sit on a small 3,000 square foot lot fronting the north side of W. Beach Blvd. and would be built to the front lot line, so as to cater to the pedestrian and bicycle patrons of W. Beach Blvd.  The structure is being built to floodproofing standards, so it will not be raised on pilings. There would be no inside dining.  All patron seating will be outdoors.  An end user for the business has not been determined, so what dining options or food/drink varieties served are yet to be known.

Embassy Suites Moving Forward with Site Plan Approval

The plans for an eight-story mixed-use development were set out before the Gulf Shores Planning Commission.  The development to be located at 112 West Beach Blvd. will consist of a 247-room Embassy Suites Hotel, restaurant, retail space, pool, conference space and parking garage.  The parking garage will hold 261 parking spaces.  In addition, the city will convey 30’ of right of way on the west side of the development to allow for an entrance drive and valet area.  In exchange, developers will pay the city $1.2 million to construct 150 additional overflow public parking spaces around the perimeter of the development area on city owned property.  Everything will be floodproofed and built at grade-level to encourage the family-friendly, pedestrian environment in the beach district.