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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Downtown Fairhope Parking Lot Trees Re-located

Fairhope, Alabama




Trees re-located to Hwy 104

Several small oak tress that had been growing in a parking lot median behind the French Quarter (adjacent to community park) downtown have been re-located to the area adjacent a new sidewalk being installed along Highway 104.

The parking lot will be paved and re-striped next week to provide 12 more parking spaces -- by reducing their size slightly (shorter and narrower).

The trees will provide shade and help prevent erosion along the new sidewalk, where city crews recently widened the shoulder and made drainage improvements.

Eventually it will extend all the way to the Rock Creek neighborhood, but that project has been delayed again according to a city official.


downtown parking to be paved

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Fairhope City Marina Repairs Sticker Shock

Fairhope, Alabama




Bids to repair the aging seawall in the city's Fly Creek marina at the end of Sea Cliff Drive came back $100K over the $50K budgeted for repairs this year.

City engineer Jinright said the specifications calling for modern construction techniques and more durable materials for the area that is frequently inundated may have accounted for the discrepancy,

Some limited dredging will be included as well.

At its last meeting the city council discussed possibly holding off a while on awarding the bid to low bidder Asphalt Services of Spanish Fort to allow the additional money to be included in next year's budget beginning October 1st.

The low bid was $149K and the second lowest $214K.

Money for repairs is to come from rental fees for the slips and other marina property.





Senior Fairhope Councilman Misses More Meetings

Fairhope, Alabama

Mike Ford
Seven-term councilman Mike Ford was absent from another council meeting on June 20th, his fourth absence in a row since suffering a stroke (including one special meeting).

Councilman Boone told the Times Ford is still recovering in a local nursing home on Church Street, but had no idea when or if he would return to his council duties or committee assignments before the municipal election on August 23rd.

Councilman Burrell told the Times weeks ago that Ford was having difficulties walking but was anxious to get back to work as soon as possible; Mayor Kant said he was anxious to return to work as well.

Ford has not yet indicated if he intends seek re-election, to out knowledge.

At least two recent council meetings had to be postponed because of the absence of a 3-member quorum.

Former Baldwin County revenue commissioner Phil Nix has announced he is seeking the place 4 council seat in the August 23rd election (click).


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fairhope Avenue Roundabout Sneak Preview

Fairhope, Alabama





PROGRESS REPORT

The city's first roundabout on a main street, at the intersection of Fairhope Avenue and Oberg Road,  is now expected to be completed around August 1st; based upon a recent test drive, it is of sound design and construction so far.

The one million dollar project will be the county's third roundabout according to other media reports (click): a joint project of the county, city and ALDOT.

12 - 15 thousand cars normally pass through the intersection daily; that has been diverted to side streets during construction.

Landscaping has not been discussed yet to our knowledge, but presumably visibility is an issue so low growing plants only would be used.

The intersection has been closed since March 21st.





Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fairhope Mayor's Mother Passes Away

Fairhope, Alabama

Before Monday's council meeting, Councilman Boone announced that Mayor Kant's mother, Jane Kant, had passed away Monday morning in a local nursing home.

She was 86 years old.

Visitation will be at Wolfe-Bayview funeral home on July 1st at 9AM and services at 10, Boone said.

Jane M. Kant was a long-time resident of the Eastgate Village neighborhood; she was married to New Jersey-born William Kant who passed away in 1979.

The family has a burial site at Catholic Cemetery in Belforest.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Fairhope High School Expansion Update

Fairhope, Alabama



new wing location


'PAY GO' PROJECT

Twenty additional classrooms and new cafeteria space are still planned and construction could begin as early as this Fall -- or early next year -- according to school superintendent Eddie Tyler.

Plans for the $4.1 million project are being held up in the state's busy architectural review office, he said.

The new wing is to be on the south side in the area of the staff parking lot and black box theater.

The nine temporary classrooms on the north side are to be removed.


AIR CONDITIONING REPAIRS UNDERWAY

Also,  an air conditioning chiller unit is now being replaced at a cost of about $150K.

The unit failed some time ago and a temporary one was installed until the end of the school year.



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Controversial Fairhope Apartment Project Gets Extension

Fairhope, Alabama


Corte addressing June 6 meeting


TECHNICAL ISSUE ARISES

The city's Planning Commission approved a request from Angelo Corte to extend the time limit to record the plat for the controversial Fly Creek Village PUD apartment amendment for another 180 days, because of a lawsuit attempting to block the project.

The city council approved the plan for the Retreat At Fairhope Village last April; but the normal sixty days allowed to record it properly may not be enough time.

The lawsuit against the city council, planning commission, Corte,  and others alleges the approved changes will damage the creek;  it also seeks unspecified "compensatory damages."

(Proponents of the amendment countered that since the new plan's total "footprint" is lower, there will be less rainwater runoff than the original plan: the amended version is better for the creek.)

Actual construction must begin within  one year.


ANOTHER "FRIVOLOUS" LAWSUIT?

One commissioner, George Roberds, said that considering "all the abuse we took" during the approval process, he wished the commission itself could "consider filing against them for a frivolous lawsuit."

Planning Director Smith replied said he had been directed to make no comment whatsoever about the matter.

The city was dismissed from a similar, 2009 lawsuit (click).


apartment plat

Friday, June 17, 2016

Updated: New Baldwin School Tax Districts Approved

Fairhope, Alabama

Updated to include video of the vote (below)


June 16, 2016 Board of Education meeting.

MORE TAX  REFERENDUMS COULD FOLLOW

By a 5-2 vote the Baldwin County School Board approved a resolution creating seven special tax districts where the communities involved may choose to enact extra taxes for their school feeder patterns -- by voter referendum.

Before the vote, only two existed.

Before this vote, JaNay Dawson was appointed to replace Norm Moore, who had resigned.

Members Cox and Myrick argued against the resolution because they thought it may hinder renewing of the expiring penny tax and could encourage breakaway school systems; but others thought the opposite: it would prevent breakaways and help renew the penny tax because that is used to operate and staff possible new facilities.

Cox and Myrick also called it not fair and equitable to their less wealthy districts -- but others countered voters in those districts chose to vote down recent tax renewal proposals and it was not fair to the other (more affluent) districts not to have the option of enacting special taxes on their own to address their needs.

Fairhope representative Christenberry: "Some areas are going to always vote no (tax renewals) ... and other areas will suffer. This allows us another option to do it ... ." 

The new zones roughly follow existing school board districts but are not numbered with the same designations. 

Orange Beach/Gulf Shores and Fairhope feeder patterns have discussed special tax districts: it was one of the options mentioned in a recent education study commissioned by the city's Educational Advisory Committee (by Akrobos Consulting Group).

The money raised could be used for new school construction or any other purpose stated in the referendum before the voters of the district.

The beach cities need $65 million to relieve overcrowding with a new high school, according to a Orange Beach councilman who attended this meeting.

Akrobos is expected to make a presentation of its findings at a Fairhope city council meeting later this month.

The new Fairhope feeder pattern special tax district is shown in green below: