Saturday, January 3, 2015

Updated: Ground Breaking Set For New Fire Station

Fairhope, Alabama

Update: The amendment to permit apartments instead of townhomes at the Village At Fly Creek development was removed from this evening's Planning Commission agenda -- by request of the applicant, Arthur Corte. It is expected to come up again at a future meeting.

Fire station site

Site preparation has begun for the city's fourth fire station, to be located on Parker Rd. behind the Publix grocery store.

The Fairhope Volunteer Fire Department Inc. is funding its construction with a $500K bank loan, donations and its share of county property tax revenue (1.5 mils); the City will take possession of the property after completion (after the loan is paid off, presumably).

Update: The city has also budgeted $86,000 for the station, from its impact fee fund.

The official ground-breaking is set for Jan. 14th.

The station is needed to keep the department's ISO house fire insurance rating low: currently 4.

The FVFD is a 501(c) non-profit corporation governed by its Board of Directors, under contract with the City to provide fire protection; many firemen are city employees and the city supplies vehicles and other equipment -- as well as the salaries of three station-keepers ($134K for all three).

The city also provides "fire call payments" to individual firemen: a total of about $50K every year.

Fire chiefs are elected by the firemen: currently Chris Ellis.

In 2013, the FVFD had total revenue of $217,786 and expenses of $175,372; total assets were $1.7 million. Ellis was President of the Corp. that year, with Dale Kelly and David Sterndorf as VPs, Richard Morris Treasurer, and Mark Pollucci Secretary. (According to public IRS records.)

The land was deeded to the VFD in 2008 by Arthur Corte, developer/owner of the Fairhope Village At Fly Creek  PUD development.

The station was planned for 2011 to service the fast-growing area north of town (click), but a federal grant to help fund it did not come through as expected and bids for construction were too high.

 The city council purchased a new fire truck for the new station that year in anticipation (click) for $350K.

Additional volunteers are being solicited from the north side of town to help man the station.

22810 High Ridge Rd.

Ironically, a house on nearby High Ridge Rd. burned recently; it is possible having a station closer could have saved it, according to informed sources.

The property is owned by David Leiser, according to county land records.


Parker Rd.
Phase Two of the Village At Fly Creek PUD approved by the city council in 2007 is expected to get underway this year as well; the developer (Corte's Fairhope llc.) is asking to amend the already-approved zoning designation of town homes (R-3TH) to apartments (R-5).

Both are considered high density, residential, but have different technical zoning designations.

(The amendment will be considered at Monday's Planning Commission meeting.)

(The "Publix" retail center -- aka Shoppes At Fairhope Village -- was considered Phase One.)

The city's Village-type Comprehensive Growth plan encourages such mixed-use, walkable, high density villages -- over conventional more automobile-dependent strip mall type development, all along main roads.

Since the proposal is not yet considered a public record, the Times was unable to determine specific details; but the 2007 approval was for 181 town home units, 132 condos, and 11 live/work units.

Phase 2
(It is not know if all of the town homes would become apartments instead.)

511 single family homes have also been approved: for Phase Three of the project, whenever it begins.

(A total of 811 'residential units' of various types in all.)

Parker Rd. is eventually expected to connect with CR 13; and other connections are possible as well to relieve congestion on Hwy 98..

(A number of area residents expressed reservations at that time; mainly over traffic-related issues. Some just opposed it completely.

The Parker/US98 intersection was a concern then, but that was before a traffic signal was installed there by ALDOT. 

Others had concerns about potential damage to the Fly Creek watershed during and after the construction process; a lawsuit was filed in 2009, but dismissed in 2013)

New residences will be to the east and south-east of the Publix store,  in the heavily-wooded area.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the city will not take possession of the property as you have stated in your blog.