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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Sewage Lift Station Repair Begins

Fairhope, Alabama

Work is beginning on replacement of the 41-year-old Fels sewage lift station on Mobile Street (at the foot of Fels Avenue).  This station is critical for collecting and conveying sewage from the southwest part of town over the hill to the treatment plant.

The old pump and underground tank will be dug out and replaced with new ones slightly closer to the street; the sidewalk will be re-located on the west side.

Cunningham Delaney Construction was the low bidder at $561,500; the tank and other new components had to be specially-made.

This is the first of several sewage collection system improvements this year and next.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Revised Volanta Park Plan Proposed

Fairhope, Alabama

Updated for clarity.

New Volanta plan proposed (top is north)


More fields here
A new plan to add 4 youth baseball league fields and parking (600 spaces?) on the east side of  Volanta Park could be approved during the next city council meeting; and up to $1.5 million added to the 2020 budget for design and construction.

This plan would replace a more-costly one adopted by council two years ago that proposed adding the new fields on the west side; both plans remove one existing field on the south (Volanta Avenue) side and replace it with more parking there, too.

The city's Recreation Committee voted unanimously for the revised plan earlier this month.

Recreation Committee liaison Jay Robinson: " The Recreation Board met and heard a presentation for renovations at Volanta ... some short term assistance while we are working on longer term plans ... and voted unanimously to support those improvements .... recommend them to the city council."

Robinson said he does not have a vote there, but said he supports their decision; the full council will have to approve the revised plan by majority vote.

(An alternative would be constructing the new fields instead on the new CR 13 recreation land the council is considering purchasing for $2.6 million. )

Old Volanta Mater Plan (right is north)


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

New Development Approved In Tatumville Watershed

Fairhope, Alabama

S. Section St. PUD location


The city council unanimously approved the 'Summer Lane' Planned Unit Development on 5.2 acres previously-zoned for M-1 use (light industrial) on south Section Street, south of Pecan Avenue. The property is owned by the Myrtle Bung Living Trust.

Waivers requesting private roads and gates were not granted for the "innovative," circular, 15-lot neighborhood.

Entrances are to be from Section Street and Summer Lane, currently a dead end road on the west side.

The environmentally-sensitive Tatumville Gully runs through the southern part of the property; questions about the exact location of the FEMA floodplain still need to be determined, according to engineers. (An amendment to the plan may be needed later.)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Mayor Wilson To Attend City Planning Workshop

Fairhope, Alabama


Mayor Karin Wilson
Mayor Wilson will be attending a two-day workshop with six other small and medium-sized city mayors next week in Columbus, Indiana: all expenses paid by a federal grant.

"The Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD) is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors. Since 1986, the Mayors’ Institute has helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities. MICD achieves its mission by organizing technical assistance workshops where mayors engage leading design and development experts to find solutions to the most critical planning and design challenges facing their cities ... ."

Other mayors attending will be:  Stephanie Orman of Bentonville, AR; Bruce Wilkerson, Bowling Green KY; Paige Brown, Gallatin, TN; Jake Day, Salisbury MD; Michael Vandersteen, Sheyboygan, WI.

Each mayor is asked to bring and present a critical issue facing their city to the group: Wilson declined to say specifically what her's will be beforehand, only that it was "more about the process than anything." She said she would have more to say about it when she returns.

From the MICD website: "Participation in each two-and-one-half-day session is limited to eight mayors, eight preeminent design and development professionals, and MICD partners. Many complex design topics have been addressed in recent years include downtown and neighborhood revitalization, transportation planning, creative placemaking, district visioning and branding, main street and commercial corridor redevelopment, affordable housing, historic preservation, and sustainable development. Following each presentation, mayors and design professionals identify important issues, offer suggestions, and discuss potential solutions. The interchange sparks lively debates, generates new ideas, and inspires creative thinking."

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Future of Popular Fairhope Eatery Uncertain

Fairhope, Alabama


The future of the former Ben's BBQ at 552 N. Section Street remains uncertain at this point; new owner Pace Keyser, Llc. replaced the building's roof earlier this year and a building official says the interior was to be remodeled as well ... but that has not happened yet: it remains frozen in time inside.

Pace Keyser, Llc. purchased the restaurant about a year ago from long-time owner/operator Kennth Lee, and plans to continue operating as Ben's announced on Facebook, but that did not happen; inquiries sent by the Times have not been answered.

The registered agent  of Pace Keyser is William Fusaiotti, one of the founders of the Foosackly's chain of chicken restaurants in the Mobile area.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

City Judge's Project Up For Final Approval

Fairhope, Alabama

North is up


On Monday, October 28th the city council will hold a public hearing and begin considering final approval of the application submitted by owner Gayfer Village Partners for a three part planned unit development on 76 acres of mostly farm land on the northwest corner of Fairhope Avenue and Hwy 181 consisting of:

Unit 1: 16 commercial lots (B-2).
Unit 2: 232 multi-family apartment units (R-5). (pink on the diagram)
Unit 3: 77 lots single family residential (R-3). (green on the diagram)

The property is currently outside of city limits in the un-zoned county; it will be concurrently annexed into the city on approval ... and city impact fees will be collected accordingly.

Exact site plans for phases one and two will still need the city council's approval before construction could begin.

Developer for the project is listed as Tom Mitchell.


According to probate court records, Municipal Judge Haymes Snedeker is the sole member of Gayfer Village Partners, Llc; his law/business partner Ray Hix is its organizer. Hix served on the city's Airport Authority until last year.

They also own Hix Snedeker Companies, a nationwide commercial development business (click).

The property was previously owned by the Klump family, where an unpaved airfield by that name operated for many years.

(Usually, the city council will introduce an ordinance then let it "lay over" until its next meeting where the final vote will be taken.)

Klump PUD diagram (north to right)

Gayfer Village Partners

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Speeding Warning Signs Coming To Gayfer Avenue?

Fairhope, Alabama

Driver feedback signs

Chronic speeding on Gayfer Avenue


The city's Street and Traffic Control Committee approved two so-called driver feedback signs (aka "smart" signs) that will monitor and indicate passing vehicles' speeds ... for installation on Gayfer Road between Greeno Road and Section Street.

After receiving complaints from neighbors worried about the safety of their children walking to the elementary school, a study was conducted to determine if a 4-way stop is warranted at Patlynn Drive; but results were negative and other solutions for the problem sought.

Cost for the solar powered signs should be around $2,700 according to public works director Johnson; but active enforcement by police will also still be needed to insure long term effectiveness, he said.

Councilman Burrell called it a "small price to pay" for improved safety there.

Police chief Hollinghead says the devices can collect other data as well (ie. traffic counts) and may be used in other parts of town where speeding is problematic if successful here.

The city council must give its final approval before the installation.

October 2019 Street and Traffic Committee

Magnolia Springs Driver Feedback Sign