Sunday, December 13, 2015

Councilman Wants N. Greeno "Commercial Corridor"

Fairhope, Alabama


'Sugar Kettle' owners
The owners of the Sugar Kettle restaurants (click) in Daphne and Bay Minettte approached the planning commission about converting an existing "historic" house at 546 N. Greeno road into their third store, but were advised by planning department staff that would require rezoning of the property from residential to commercial use -- or incorporation into a Planned Unit Development.

But Planning Director Smith advised  the property does not technically qualify for a PUD because the lot is too small: doing so would require a variance by the city's Board of Adjustments and Appeals; in his opinion a qualifying hardship (as required by ordinance) does not exist for the variance to be approved.

The possibility of including adjacent property into the PUD to reach sufficient acreage for a PUD was raised; but the applicants said they have already signed an intent to purchase agreement as is (R1).


Councilman Jackey Ode Burrell
Council President Burrell, who happened to be in the audience, spoke in favor of the plan because the highway is really "already a commercial corridor" -- and that in itself creates the hardship.

Member Roberds countered that the commission has been telling people for "over forty years that it is residential" according to the city's comprehensive plan; but conceded a commercial PUD had been approved for the first time nearby -- at their November meeting (It still needs city council approval though).


historic home?
In support of their proposal the applicants said one benefit would be the restoration and preservation of the historic old house, but when the Times consulted local historians after the meeting they indicated the structure had no historical value at all to their knowledge.

 Planning staff were to study the matter further.


Smith added the long-awaited update to the city's current "village" comprehensive growth planning map (click) has finally been completed, the result of almost two years of public meetings and many additional private ones with financial "stakeholders" and should be presented to the city council sometime next month for approval (click).

The first such "town hall" was held Oct, 20, 2014 (click).

(He said it had already been posted online to the city's website, but the Times could not find it there.)

The options most-popular with citizens who attended the town hall meetings last summer (Options 1 and 2) do not include any commercial development along north Greeno, according to previous statements by mayor Kant.

Airport Blvd.
Citizens overwhelmingly oppose truing the city's entrance into something like the infamous Airport Blvd. in the city of Mobile.

The Times has learned the entire length of HWY 181 through east Fairhope may be reclassified a commercial corridor as well: The mayor says more big-box stores there are "probably inevitable."

Plans announced earlier for a final town hall meeting conducted by planning consultant Thompson Engineering to present findings and recommendations to the public have been canceled -- for unexplained reasons.

Click here for more information.

(Note: The Times has requested to view the updated comp. plan proposal but so far has been unsuccessful: most written documents are considered a public record according to state records law. Likewise, we were unable to obtain the similar detailed strategic plan for the 'Alabama Communities of Excellence' program the city completed last Summer.)


Anonymous said...

I have a hard time finding anything on their web site.

Anonymous said...

He sold us out.

Anonymous said...

They just want commercial property for the price of residential property. There is plenty of commercial property available. Look at all the empty rental space available that includes an asphalt parking lot.

Anonymous said...

Why not the city buy it? Make it a park?

Mark Bernasconi said...

Is mass transportation being considered for the 98 commercial corridor? Bus lanes, overhead mono rail, anything to reduce the impending traffic nightmare.

Anonymous said...

It seems to be common here for people to purchase property and proceed with business plans even knowing that the plans violate the current laws/rules.

Pauline said...

The most important feature in Fairhope's comprehensive plan, the one that keeps Fairhope unique, is that Fairhope has not commercialized the major arteries. Making Greeni completely commercial would make that area look like anywhere USA.

Anonymous said...

Of course you have no problem creating a mixed zoning that makes peoples residential property worthless and pure hell to live on. Nobody will buy us out, but who cares as long as the snobs of Fairhope can flaunt their egos at all non-Fairhopians.