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Monday, May 4, 2009

Courthouse Expansion/Trees Discussed at Planning and Zoning Meeting

County Commissioner "Ed" Bishop and the County Engineer attended an "115211" (review and approval) of "location, character, and extent" of the proposed Satellite Courthouse expansion on Fairhope Ave. Monday night. Bishop characterized the expansion as part of the County's 20 year financial strategic plan to provide public services to the rapidly growing county. Essentially, the old building is to remain; and the addition for the Departments of Revenue, Planning, and Legislative Delegation Offices (all connected by a lobby) constructed to the west -- as well as extensive new parking space to the east and west (on what Bishop called "premium" priced land formerly owned by A. Corte and Fairhope City Councilman Mike Ford). The use of some "pervious" pavement for the new parking and "underground water retention " (instead of the usual surface ponds) will help save existing trees, according to the County Engineer: including the huge live oak on the corner of Courthouse Dr. (although plans are to close the current Courthouse Drive entrance and re-locate it considerably to the west). When City Planning Commission Chairman Wilson then questioned whether a 4'4" circumference Darlington(?) Oak tree-- in the location of the proposed new west entrance-- could be saved by re-configuring the entrance somehow-- Mr. Bishop replied it was his understanding via past discussions with Mayor Kant, "that all those trees were to be removed anyway when Fairhope Ave. was widened." Mr. Bishop and City Planner Smith opined they thought that the property had already been deeded to the County anyway by the City Council at it's last meeting--but he (Bishop) and the County Engineer would work with City Staff to try and save the tree. Wilson concluded: "If that tree comes down, it could be World War III around here." Planning Commissioner Jennie Fiddler expressed concerns about the large live oak (at the current west entrance) and suggested no deep "curb cuts" be made there (to reduce root damage) as well as using "pervious" paving material over its root zone. The motion passed unanimously to approve the plans-- with the caveat that "all possible efforts" be made to save the oak tree at the proposed new west entrance (the re-located Courthouse Dr.). [PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The request for re-zoning property on HWY 181 by Klump Family Enterprises (across from Wal-Mart) was postponed until next month's meeting]

1 comment:

Papa Bear said...

WW III huh?