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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Drainage Issues Dominate Second Planning Meeting

Fairhope, Alabama

ANOTHER BIG TURNOUT

Elementary School, Tuesday

An even larger crowd than the last turned out Tuesday for the second in a series of three town hall meetings this week to discuss Fairhope's future.

The final meeting will be Thursday, 5:30Pm at the Intermediate School.

(Those unable to attend -- or who may be shy about public speaking -- may submit written comments by using the form available here.)

In the end, the majority selected storm-water management the highest priority of issues brought up during the meeting, followed by building codes, and walk-ability.

(Drainage and pedestrian/bike-friendliness were top-three issue at the first meeting as well)

Citizens thought a comprehensive storm water management plan was needed to prevent neighborhoods from flooding and erosion of gullies and watersheds.

They thought building codes should be strengthened to improve drainage; others thought they may be too strict and drive up the costs of re-modeling or expanding businesses.

The city should be made more walk-able -- with more and wider sidewalks/bike-paths and higher density neighborhoods.


KEEP FAIRHOPE,  FAIRHOPE?

New to this meeting, facilitator Glen Leroy asked what it meant to Keep Fairhope, Fairhope -- a campaign slogan used by Mayor Kant beginning during the 2000 election cycle.

Replies were: "Not Mobile, Bay Minette or Daphne!"

He then asked what they wanted Fairhope be -- and was told a community with great schools that is safe, charming, progressive-thinking, euphoric, looks goodacts friendly, celebrates its entrepreneurial uniqueness, has a small-town feeling with big city options, and embraces and encourages 'the have nots' as well as the haves.

   VISION STATEMENT PERPLEXING FOR SOME

He also asked about the adequacy of the city's current vision statement; but found it was not well understood by those present.


"To carry on the dream of the founders and previous generations of Fairhopians by creating a future development pattern that is consistent with the City’s traditional scale, image and planning philosophy".



OTHER CONCERNS BROUGHT UP

Downtown bookstore owner Karin Wilson continued her campaign from the first meeting to use sales tax revenue to promote more tourist activities (ie. sports tourism) and for land-use zoning east of town, particularly along Hwy 181  (annexation?).  Wilson also recently founded the Fairhope Local organization, to promote local independent businesses.



A number of issues had been brought up at the previous meeting (see last post), but some new issues from the six relevant categories were:


Concerning the city's character:
Karin Wilson

A downtown historic commission is needed; architectural design standards as well; the city needs to assume some control of US 98, HWY 181 and other county-maintained roads (landscaping); more residential streets need to be made walkable.


Transportation:

A comprehensive plan for sidewalks needed; more street connections on east side; charging stations for electric vehicles; speeding in school zones addressed; improvements to main arterial roads; a free looping shuttle bus service.


Infrastructure: 

Storm water drainage; protect gullies from erosion.

Neighborhood Villages (What are they?): people; connections; more walk-ability; clustered businesses; local vs. 'giant' stores; cultural activities; supports a healthy lifestyle; proper zoning needed to bring them about.


Growth (desirable types?): 

higher density; no big houses on small lots; need jobs for younger families; slow it down by issuing fewer building permits; building codes too strict (costly); does Fairhope really have to grow?


City Services?:

Recycling not efficient; cost of electricity too high: new cable tv provider needed; plan for fire department growth; use the Dyas Triangle property for new recreation.



rating the issues

Glen Leroy

Mayor Kant, gray suit

5 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

K.W.W. loves her store more than her kids. Well, maybe not .....

Anonymous said...

Would that be said were she a "man". She has contributed a great deal to downtown which is the area of Fairhope most people enjoy and attract the tourists. Prefer fewer tourists, but they do contribute from an economic standpoint.

Anonymous said...

Tues meeting had entirely different "crowd", but similar comments. In general, people want the same thing for Fairhope, positive things. Glad "masses" pounding stormwater issues. Fairhope is a giant watershed and seems planning in past has always been in vacuum. Hopefully that can and will change for the sake of our fair City and if nothing else, a comprehensive stormwater study including a long range stormwater impact plan for future development/roads/sidewalks (anything that creates additional runoff) will be the outcome of the comp plan update including implementation. Most of what was discussed Mon and Tues relative to comp plan/development, is already included in current comp plan/zoning ordinances/subdivision regs., just not implemented. As to why not, I dare not speculate. Current plan needs to be assessed first including reasons for lack of consistent implementation prior to granting more regulatory powers.

SlowBike said...

Thank you, Fairhope Times, for covering this local news story. Not sure that any other news organization is doing so. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.