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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Silverhill Heritage Day Festival 2017

Fairhope, Alabama

Our eastern neighbors held their annual Heritage Day Festival yesterday.

"Silverhill was founded in 1897 by Oscar Johnson, C. O. Carlson and C. A. Valentin of Chicago, Illinois. Oscar Johnson was an immigrant from DalarnaSweden. The Svea Land Company in Chicago, which advertised land for sale in Silverhill, was founded by Oscar Johnson. Land was acquired by purchase from a Mr. Harford, the first block of land being 1,500 acres (610 ha), which was added to from time to time as the colonization work progressed. Scandinavian settlers came to Silverhill from virtually every state in the Union and began the development of what is now the Silverhill district."

Mobile Bay Earth Day 2017

Fairhope, Alabama

The annual environmental event was held Saturday at the pier in Fairhope (click).

"Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. Worldwide, various events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day events in more than 193 countries[1] are now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network."


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mobile Baykeeper Opposes Trump's Environmental Cuts

Fairhope, Alabama


Casi Callaway, Director of the Mobile Baykeeper organization asked Congressman Byrne to oppose proposed cuts to local environmental protection programs in the President's new budget.

Callaway: "ADEM would see a 44.5% cut ... the EPA ... NOAH ... water quality monitoring... and we are already 49th in the nation for funding ... ."

"We need a strong state agency because the environment is our economy in coastal Alabama ... 30% of the state's revenue is generated here."

"It may not be popular in your party, but we need you to stand strong ... ."


Byrne replied that the president had only presented a "skinny" budget so far -- a more detailed one will follow.

Daphne council chambers
Byrne: "Its aspirational ... we never accept the president's first budget ...  appropriations committees are where the rubber really meets the road ... where money is spent.""

While conceding that some cuts could be made to programs like federal oversight of fisheries, he said he "opposed cutting what protects the water, woods, and air of southwest Alabama" and have to "keep it clean."

He mentioned some "wonderful federal programs" at the Weeks Bay Reserve and Dauphin Sea Lab as examples.

Byrne said he has already written letters of support for such programs to various appropriations committees "where the money really gets spent" and intends to "continue to be that kind of advocate."

Friday, April 14, 2017

Presbyterian Church School Plans Expansion

Fairhope, Alabama

Eastern Shore Presbyterian


The Planning Commission approved the request of Wendell Barnhill to rezone a small portion of his 12 acre 'East Park Subdivision PUD' property to B-2 (general business) to allow construction of personal storage on the northwest side; the rest of the property is to be sold for additional classrooms for the Bayshore Christian School next door -- if the church congregation approves the purchase (the site is north of Publix grocery).

A 47-lot townhouse development (PUD) was approved for the site in 2006 Barnhill said, but the economy went bad and nothing was  built; before that, the East Park Mobile Home Park operated on the site for many years.

Initially, only about 11 of the lots will be needed for the new "high school level" classrooms; but eventually a gymnasium and/or other church campus needs could be located there, according to church representative Rick Skinner.

Churches and schools are a permitted use in R-1 residentially-zoned property, according to Planning Director Wayne Dyess -- but a plant-buffer will have to be installed around the proposed new commercial area where it abuts residential.

Vehicular access is also an issue.

Private schools are often mentioned as a way to supplement public schools which are having a hard time keeping up with population growth.

The city council will have to approve the zoning change; new site plans will have to be submitted and approved later as well.

Parker Rd. entrance

Old trailer park

The large parcel in center

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Another Big Residential Development Approved On N. Hwy 98

Fairhope, Alabama

This post has been updated.

north is up


US 98 at Rock Creek Parkway.
The Planning Commission approved rezoning seventeen lots on 53.94 vacant acres (north of the creek) within city limits along the west side of Hwy 98 in the Montrose Village subdivision from R-1 residential to a Planned Unit Development containing seventy-seven residential lots of various sizes in a "cluster-style" design.

Access will be by the existing traffic signal at the entrance of the Rock Creek neighborhood only: it will have no other entrance as is usually required by the city's comprehensive plan to reduce traffic on major highways, a connection to Scenic Hwy 98 was included in two earlier design-versions (one a connection to existing streets, the alternate an entirely new road to Scenic 98) but did not make the final cut due to objections by some Montrose-neighborhood citizens (including former council member Debbie Quinn).

Traffic congestion along Hwy 98 has become a major issue in recent months, the state is currently installing synchronized adaptive signals all along the road north to I-10 in an attempt to speed things up.

A conservation easement along the north side of the creek itself is to be maintained by a homeowner's association, according to the project's engineer Dewberry/Preble Risch.

Maintaining natural buffers and obtaining all necessary permits from Baldwin County, ALDOT and ADEM were  conditions of approval as well.

Attorney Alan Chason represented the property owners Burgess Thomasson et al.


Since this is a PUD zoning-change ordinance, it is not covered by the the current moratorium on subdivisions but it will need city council approval; the mayor has no vote but may veto ordinances.

Detailed drainage and site plans will have to be approved at some point as well.

(This project has also been called the Thomasson PUD)

north is up

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fairhope Fire Department Training Burn Conducted

Fairhope, Alabama

The Volunteer Fire Department burned an old house at 546 N. Greeno Road donated by its owner for the training this morning.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fairhope Schools Get Supplemental Funding From City

Fairhope, Alabama


The city council appropriated $349,085 according to the EAC's recommendations for supplemental funding for the five Baldwin County schools in the area.

School funding is one of the yearly "community development" items, funded by profits from the city's three utilities: water, electric and natural gas.

Items funded are in compliance with the recommendations of a study commissioned by the council last Spring, according to statements made during the council meeting.

In addition, the council approved funding of about $70K to provide a full time school resource officer: Sgt. Nolte.