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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pier Passenger-shuttle Set To Roll Again Legally?

Fairhope, Alabama

'Shux Shuttle'

At Monday's council meeting, a majority of the city council is expected to consummate a deal worked out in private earlier this year between the mayor, council president Burrell and (possibly) two other council members  to amend an existing pedestrian-safety  ordinance prohibiting any vehicles on the pier -- to exclusively allow famous restaurateur Rick Gambino  permission to operate one to ferry customers out to his new 'Shux' seafood restaurant located at the marina.

According to the mayor, being able to operate the shuttle was Gambino's only condition before agreeing to assume the city-owned building's lease from Bob Pope, who operated his 'Yardarm' there for many years; but it was never discussed in public meetings at the time  or specifically addressed in writing in the lease-agreement itself.

Maintenance and supply delivery-vehicles only are permitted by the current lease.

 Gambino seated in blue shirt
When the issue finally came up at recent council meetings,  some citizens objected citing safety concerns, including long-time walking/biking advocate Charlene Lee; members of the city's Pedestrian Committee voiced concerns at one of their meetings last summer - click.


Twenty-year 'Fruit n' Nut' neighborhood resident Wanda Bell "begged" Burrell not to "take our pier away from us" by allowing the shuttle; and pointed out that the many seniors/handicapped citizens who have to use walkers/canes there for their only daily exercise would be the most affected if he approves it.

Addressing Gambino directly, she said she "wants his restaurant to be successful ... just not that cart ... on the pier."  (video below)

Gambino countered saying the shuttle is very important and only a "small group" with a vendetta against him is objecting: He had said earlier not having a shuttle will "put him out of business" -- and waved a petition of support with "hundreds" of signatures. (The petition was never formally submitted to verify the city residency of signatories.)

Council members Ford and Brewer voted  against considering amending the existing ordinance when it first came up three weeks ago: Ford told the Times he preferred an entirely new one instead (vs an amendment) and Brewer declined to comment. (She said she would have more to say about it later.)

(Note: Pope's 'Yardarm' was listed 'for sale' for $465,000 last year, but the actual amount Gambino paid has not been revealed.)


Anonymous said...

From a 30 year Fruit N Nut neighbor.
I’ve encountered that shuttle enough that I now avoid the pier.
All of what was so good about Fairhope has been destroyed by the Southern born carpetbaggers.
There’s so much traffic and noise from so many sources.

Anonymous said...

it is a shame , I agree, they try to cram too much crap activities on the bay that it is not enjoyable ! I get so tired of the very rude group of exercise class of middle age women down there in the morning , they take up sidewalk and act like you are suppose to get out of their way. I would think the instructor would need some sort of permit and stay OFF OF SIDEWALK!!! I have had them come towards me kicking their legs in the air like a bunch of FOOLS! I just laugh because that's all you can do old women trying to look young I suppose.

Anonymous said...

I find it annoying when they close the bay for races. It is always the beautiful days and tax paying citizens are not allowed to enjoy what they are paying for . It seems to happen way too often!!! Downtown is not accessible nor are the roads around bay area. NOT FAIR!!!! Most of these people are out of town people and we have to give up our relaxing mornings and routine!

Anonymous said...

Let us all pray for Jesus to help our city leaders start doing the right thing. It is the only answer. Amen.

Anonymous said...

I walk there myself on a twice daily basis and see no problems with it . The driver is always polite and courteous to us.

Anonymous said...

Just a few of the things some people have no problem with.
Public nudity
Driving while intoxicated
Defecating in public
Running red lights

Anonymous said...

King Kant has Spoken. It's a done deal

Anonymous said...

Where is Mr. Gambino famous other than Fairhope?

His restaurant will fail not because of a lack of the shuttle but because the food is mediocre and the service is horrible. Using this logic you would have to make the assumption that the majority of his customers are disabled or seniors.

Once again, backroom deals made in private are changing the landscape of Fairhope.

Charge him a hefty annual fee to utilize the shuttle - negotiable every year based on his revenue. I'll bet he changes his tune about how necessary it is.

Anonymous said...

It seems that Fairhope is losing it's uniqueness, but in an entirely different way. Instead of being inclusive, it seems that many people feel that people with disabilities are no longer welcome to visit the Fairhope pier. People with walkers and in wheelchairs and that suffer from asthuma are only a few of the many disabled that are served by the shuttle.
Further, I do not believe it is a backroom deal. I assess (from personal experience) that the council has no right to even vote on the ordinance. The ADA laws are clear. Gambino has to provide ADA access to patrons. if not, he (and the city by the ordinance) are breaking the law.
Doesn’t matter how you feel about the law. It is the law.
So why don't we embrace the shuttle and the service it is providing for the disabled. If people are not disabled and take advantage of it, then too bad for them. But we, as Fairhopians, do not want to be known as the city that welcomes everyone... well... except for those disabled people.

Anonymous said...

Well said! If you aren't one of the "beautiful" people - don't come to Fairhope cause we don't want you.

Anonymous said...

Gambino doesn't "own" the Pier. The ADA applies to his restaurant not public property.

Anonymous said...

Fairhope has already lost it's uniqueness, the dollar is king, the mayor is King, the tourist is king. The backdoor deals have always gone on.

Anonymous said...

There are a number of other ADA approved means for getting to a door front that are ADA approved that all other business use. Only one business wants to use what amounts to a small car driving on a sidewalk full of pedestrians.

Anonymous said...

We do not mind the restaurant out there so much it is the new bar that worries us.

There will be more drunkeness and trouble in a place that used to be family oriented.

Anonymous said...

I have said this many times, Fairhope is just another small town . Nothing pretty or unique about it other than the very small postage stamp size view if the bay. As far as the shuttle being for handicap people , that is a joke. If this was the case you would have a shuttle for around the duck pond and access to beaches and the such, this shuttle is simply for the one business and simply not fair. My father can not walk due to health problems and I thought what a wonderful idea to have a shuttle for people who can not walk far to access beach . So come up with another bogus excuse to pacify people for what my opinion is favor to one specific person ( Gambino)

Anonymous said...

So what happened at the meeting yesterday?

Publisher said...

The shuttle was allowed, but only for individuals qualifying under the federal 'Americans with Disabilities Act' ... ADA.

Anonymous said...

Thank God, now maybe we can move on with more important matters.