Monday, December 1, 2008
Planning and Zoning Meeting: Dec. 1, 2008
(1) A 4 lot subdivision(Saint Joseph Place on White St.) was approved 7-1, on condition the fire hydrant be upgraded. Gary Moore dissented over "non-conforming easement" and access concerns. (2) A review of the previously approved site plan for the new Faulkner State University Science and Allied Health Building's parking requirements was conducted. City Planner Mimms suggested an effort be made to save downtown "green space" and trees on the campus and that a survey his staff had recently done revealed no new parking was now needed. Members Clark and Charles--citing numerous vacant spaces they have been observing-- agreed; and also suggested: "A big problem is store owners wanting to park in front of their stores." Moore thought some additional input from the Downtown Merchant's Assn. might be beneficial (none were present). Newly appointed commission Member Jenny Fidler advised the City was looking into several ways of building 5 new angled spaces on Fairhope Ave. and 5 more on Bellangee (possibly); but that cost was a consideration. University President Gary Branch asked to speak and revealed "we have no intention of building any new parking" on campus, anyway; and "the City had agreed from its (school) beginning here (1970s) to provide parking" for the school's needs. Branch also said Faulkner is growing rapidly (one of 50 fastest in U.S.) and that parking "will be an issue" with the addition of the three or four hundred new students expected. Commission Chairperson Jean Wilson pointed out the site plan already required "on site " parking but Planner Mimms admitted it could not be required-- since "the State of Alabama needs no City building permit." It was noted no one from the City's Parking Authority Board was present and their input "might be helpful." Also, Commissioner Fran Slade suggested a "trolley" to additional remote parking be considered. A motion was made by Dick Charles to remove the requirement for "on site" parking from the original site plan and it passed 8-1 (Moore dissenting). No direction was given to Ms. Fidler concerning the various, new on street parking proposals around the campus. In other business: City Planner Mimms sought guidance reconciling differences between Fairhope's Comprehensive Plan and the new Baldwin County Comprehensive Plan (now under consideration)-- specifically within Fairhope's Planning jurisdiction--in time for a County meeting scheduled Dec. 11. "Connectivity" specifically is an issue(among others). The Mayor complained the "Council" was arbitrarily(seemingly) changing the heights of approved site plans and threatened to veto one it approved recently on (West) Parker Rd. Member Lee Turner countered it's always been a "politically charged issue." Chairperson Jean Wilson promised to "forge ahead into dangerous territory full of sharks"-- and work with all involved to clarify the height restriction zoning ordinance. The City's attorney revealed the court had just reversed (summary judgement) the Commission's Sept. 2007 denial of a minor subdivision on (East) Parker Rd and had also dismissed any "damages" incurred by the city as well. An adjacent resident (Paul Ripp) complained the developers of the new Publix had been allowed to "destroyed Parker Rd." and asked for an investigation.