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Local Government Update – February 2024

Baldwin County Planning Commission Meeting – February 1, 2024


Darby Ridge Subdivision Receives Conditional Approval

The Baldwin County Planning Commission approved the subdivision of 40 acres located on the north side of D’Olive Rd., adjacent to the Spanish Fort corporate limits to the north. Developers are proposing a 78-lot residential subdivision on the site.  There were safety concerns over the roadway entrance on D’Olive Road due to the hilly and curvy roadway conditions.  A condition of the subdivision approval requires the developer to dedicate an additional 40 feet of right-of-way along D’Olive Road and make improvements to the entrance parcel and adjacent properties to meet sight distance requirements to the satisfaction of the County Engineer.  Any additional improvements required to meet and maintain sight distance safety requirements that require additional right-of-way shall be provided by the developer by gaining adjacent property to dedicate to Baldwin County as needed.


American Self Storage Expanding

The Baldwin County Planning Commission approved the site plan for American Self Storage.  The existing self-storage business is located on the south side of Twin Beech Rd., just east of Greeno Rd. in Fairhope.  The property is a combination of enclosed mini-storage and outdoor open storage for boats and RVs.  The approval will allow for the expansion of the mini-storage buildings on the adjacent parcel to the east which is currently being used for outdoor open-lot storage of boats and RVs.  A 20-foot landscape buffer will be required. 


Fairhope City Council Special Meeting – February 1, 2024


Thomas Hospital Seeking Expansion

The Fairhope City Council met in special joint session with the Board of Adjustments and Planning Commission officials to discuss a proposed addition to Thomas Hospital.  Representatives from the hospital presented plans for a 25-bed addition that would include an enclosed parking area.  A three-story hospital expansion is proposed with a ground level of enclosed parking.  The addition would be connected to the existing hospital.  The first hospital floor would house 25 new patient rooms.  The top two floors would be available for additional expansion of up to 50 more patient rooms.  The new structure would sit on the northwest corner of the hospital campus, at the intersection of Morphy Ave. and Ingleside.  Variances will be needed for building height and setback limits or a possible amendment to the Medical Overlay Dist. guidelines to allow the structure.  The city officials seem receptive to the plan which is expected to come before the body for a vote in the future. Conceptual renderings below.



Conceptual Renderings Thomas Hospital

 

Baldwin County Commission Meeting – February 6, 2024


Industrial Park Approved in Spanish Fort

The Baldwin County Commission approved the Industrial Park designation for approximately 100 acres of un-zoned property outside the city limits of Spanish Fort.  The property is the location of longstanding business EverWood, which is a wood preservation and wood manufacturing facility located at 11349 U.S. Hwy 31, Spanish Fort.  With the designation the business property is protected from future annexation by the city.  EverWood has been operating on the property for 30 years as the city has grown around them.  Part of the designation includes covenants and restrictions which regulate the use and development of the property, which was seen by the Commission as favorable over the current un-zoned status.

 

Spanish Fort Planning Commission Meeting – February 12, 2024


Commercial Re-Zoning Approved

The Spanish Fort Planning Commission voted to send a favorable recommendation to the City Council for the re-zoning of 1.1 acres.  The property is located at 7080 Spanish Fort Blvd.  The property is currently zoned R-1.  The recommendation is to re-zone the property to B-2.  No plans for the property were disclosed.

           

Baldwin County Commission Meeting – February 20, 2024


County Commission Approves Belforest Re-Zoning

The Baldwin County Commission approved the re-zoning of a 19-acre parcel from RSF-2 to RSF-4.  The property is part of a larger 38-acre parcel located south of Larry St. Road and west of Rigsby Road in the Belforest area.  The re-zoning request received a recommendation of denial at the January Planning Commission meeting.  The County Commissioners saw the re-zoning in a different light and voted 3-1 to approve as being a compatible re-zoning.  The re-zoning is sought to advance a future application of residential development.  There will be separate approvals needed when a subdivision request is made for the property.  The re-zoning will allow for a smaller minimum lot size.

 

Foley Planning Commission Meeting – February 21, 2024


Re-Zoning Recommended for Medical Office Complex

The Foley Planning Commission gave a favorable recommendation for the re-zoning of a 12-acre parcel from B-1A and M-1 to a PUD and Medical Overlay Dist.  The property is located east of N. McKenzie St., north of East Berry Ave.  Fern Avenue Medical Office Park is seeking to use the site for bringing in new medical specialists and service providers to the community.  Plans include the addition of 24 office buildings completed in three phases.


Medical Office Complex Rendering

 

Daphne Planning Commission Meeting – February 22, 2024


Daphne Considers Design & Architectural Standards

The Daphne Planning Commission debated a draft ordinance which would impose design and architectural standards on new construction.  The Commissioners heard public comments on the proposal and took the matter under advisement.  The draft proposal can be found here.  Realtor members are encouraged to provide feedback and comments to the city.

 

Site Plan Approved for Bayshore Middle School

The Daphne Planning Commission approved the site plan for Bayshore Academy Middle School.  The 20-acre property is located southwest of the intersection of Belrose Ave. and Old County Road.  The building is being renovated to accommodate a middle school upon the completion of the new high school facility currently under construction on County Road 13.  Additional parking will also be added to the Belrose property.

           

Fairhope City Council Meeting – February 26, 2024


Fairhope to Require Annexation for Water Connections

The Fairhope City Council approved an ordinance that will require the annexation of property outside the city limits, but contiguous to the city limits, as a condition to accessing the city’s water system.  By requiring annexation, the city can ensure that its regulations are followed in new development.  It will also help the city claim lost revenue and help with burdens on the system.


Gulf Shores City Council Meeting – February 26, 2024


Canal Park Condo Site Plan Approved

The Gulf Shores City Council gave final approval for the Conditional Use Permit and Site Plan for Canal Park Condo.  The property is located at 416 24th Ave. East. There are currently two existing homes on the site which are in the process of being renovated and converted to duplex units.  Another single-family home on the site is planned for demolition.  In its place a 6-plex building is planned for construction.  In total there are 10 multi-family units planned with a condominium form of ownership.  A Conditional Use Permit was approved to allow for short-term rentals.  The property is zoned R-4 and within the Waterway Village Overlay Dist.


Canal Park Condo Rendering

 

Gulf Shores Beach Overlay Dist. Expansion Approved

The Gulf Shores City Council gave final approval for a zoning ordinance amendment that will expand the boundaries of the Beach Area Overlay Dist. The Beach Area Overlay Dist. was created in 2005 to encourage property development which maintains the unique characteristics of the beach area as envisioned by the Future Land Use Plan.  The Beach Area Overlay Dist. was applied to the Tourist Business Zoning Districts along Gulf Shores Parkway that were in place in 2005.  When the Beach Tourist Zoning Dist. was expanded northward, the overlay Dist. was not expanded with it.  The northward expansion of the Beach Area Overlay Dist. will now include properties zoned BT-1-N located north of W. 5th Ave. and having frontage on Gulf Shores Parkway.


The Beach Area Overlay Dist. is intended to provide suitable locations for walkable, mixed-use developments consisting of hotels, condos, multiple-family dwellings, and compatible commercial uses that provide residents and tourists with services, conveniences, and amenities.


The Beach Area Overlay Dist. creates an incentive-based overlay that incentivizes new development in the district to voluntarily achieve extra units, height, or floor area by providing certain public benefits.  Property owners may choose to provide beach access, public parking, or cash contributions for public amenities in exchange for additional intensity.


The new northward expansion will include 30 additional properties (6 vacant and 24 commercial) and 11 acres of land.  The expansion area is depicted in blue on the map below.



Gulf Shores Beach Overlay Dist. Expansion in Blue

           

Gulf Shores Planning Commission Meeting – February 27, 2024


TownePlace Suites Site Plan Approved

The Gulf Shores Planning Commission approved the site plan for TownePlace Suites.  The 95-room hotel is planned for the Midtown PUD in the 1500 block of West 2nd Street.  The hotel will be located on a 1.4-acre parcel that was added to the PUD on the east side of 2nd St. in 2023. It will complement the larger Midtown PUD project which will include a total of 298 parking spaces, and two mixed-use buildings that will house a combination of commercial space on the ground floor and three residential units on the second floor. The mixed-use buildings are planned on the west side of West 2nd St. on land that is currently wooded.


 

New Subdivision on Ft. Morgan Road Receives Denial

The Gulf Shores Planning Commission heard a request for a PUD Master Plan Overlay on 41 acres located in the 17000 block of Hwy.180, in the Ft. Morgan area.  The site has some existing roadway infrastructure that dates back to an old plan that never materialized.  Besides the un-paved roads, the site is vacant and attracts a variety of wildlife.  Developers sought to construct a 69-lot single family subdivision, to be named Oak Alley.  The request included the construction of 3-story craftsman cottage homes on pilings on lots that were 35’ wide in a cluster formation with pocket neighborhoods.  Short-term rentals would not have been allowed.  After hearing from neighboring residents, the Planning Commission voted to deny the application due to concerns over increased density and already stressed traffic conditions in the area.


Oak Alley Concept Drawing

 

Boat Parking Zoning Amendment Recommended

A zoning text amendment received a favorable recommendation from the Gulf Shores Planning Commission.  The amendment would allow waterfront boat docking spaces to count toward the city’s parking requirements.  This would apply to commercial businesses located on waterfront property.  A business would have to maintain a docking area with 10’ spaces per boat with cleats for tying up.  No overnight docking would be allowed.  One boat docking space would offset one automobile parking space with a cap of 20% of the required automobile parking.  The intent of the amendment is to incentivize boat parking and encourage boating as an alternate form of transportation.


Boat Parking Example

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