Sunday, January 31, 2016

UPDATED: Another Contentious Planning Commission Expected

Fairhope, Alabama

UPDATE; Last night (Monday, Feb 1st)), the Fly Creek PUD amendment was approved (8-1) and the 546 Greeno Rd. rezoning was not (Sugar Kettle restaurant).

Because of a technical, legal loophole by failing to approve or disapprove the  PUD project at its December meeting, the commission did not officially take any formal action then -- and applicant A. Corte was able to submit an entirely new application (new fees too). This  loophole has been applied to other projects in the past as well, according to Times' observations.

Speed's presentation

Designer Stuart Speed of the Leaf River Group presented more details about the proposal this time and Corte himself spoke at length as well.

Mayor Kant and two others changed and voted for the PUD amendment: It still will have to be approved by the city council.  A separate, detailed site plan would have to be approved at some point in the future as well. The new presentation by Speed influenced the mayor and at least one other member, they said.

Also, the Commission proposed re-considering a zoning overly district for N. Greeno road that could eventually allow other uses there than residential. The idea was tried about 5 years ago, but went nowhere.

The entire meeting lasted over 4 hours. 



After already being heard once at the December meeting, two controversial items return to Monday's  Planning and Zoning Commission meeting agenda Monday at 5PM.

PUD amendment rejected in Dec.
In zoning matters, the commission acts only in an advisory capacity, the city council makes the final decision.

First,  modified amendments to phase two of The Villages at Fly Creek PUD behind the Publix grocery are to be considered: by a narrow 5-4 vote last December  a previous amendment that would have allowed more density (but about the same total number of units) and rental apartments over townhouses/condominiums was rejected -- and never considered by the full city council.
At that time, surprisingly Mayor Kant (admittedly a personal friend of property owner A. Corte) in his capacity as ex officio commission member, voted against the proposal because of potential damage to Fly Creek and no detailed storm water drainage plan was presented.

In another twist, councilman Mike Ford (another personal friend of the applicant) but who also voted against it in the first go-round, has been replaced on the commission by councilman Kevin Boone (normal rotation cycle).

Publix grocery
And as always, one of those leading the charge against is  citizen-activist Paul Ripp  who lives on Parker Road, the development's main entrance.  His weekly 'Freaky Friday Ripp Reports' often rant against the mayor or city employees (the latest lays out an elaborate conspiracy theory about this issue) -- and usually advocates for election "clean sweeps" of politicians if they don't do his bidding. He has opposed the so-called "Publix" project on various grounds, including damaging Fly Creek.

Rock Creek and The Woodlands neighborhood property owners association representatives opposed the first amendment as well at the December meeting -- over traffic concerns and the negative perception of rented apartments versus owner-occupied townhouses (reduced property values).

At the December meeting, some Rock Creekers seemed to confuse this Fly Creek PUD with another one proposed directly across from their neighborhood's main entrance, though.

Some Woodlanders cite this apartment development as one reason to block a proposed walking trial along US 98 past their neighborhood.

Sources tell the Times new information about traffic and drainage may be presented at Monday's meeting, as well as clarifications of state law defining the differences between apartments and town house -- but such information is never made available to the general public beforehand.

Engineers for the project and city staff counter that since the new plan's "footprint" (impervious surface area) is less than the existing plan, storm water runoff into Fly Creek will actually be considerably less; and since the total number of housing units is about the same, traffic counts will not be any greater either.

(Sources say some commission members have been coming under immense pressure to change their votes, both ways.)

December meeting

Also, a request by Jon McMurrary to rezone the property at 546 North Greeno road from residential to commercial will be heard formally: some potential business owners who may want to locate a restaurant there brought it up informally the first time in January but this time the property owner will make a formal request.

Councilman Jack Burrell is spearheading the effort behind the scenes to make N. Greeno a "commercial corridor" (click) for his constituents there, notably Mr. and Mrs. Green who have been trying for years to rezone their  Green Nurseries property across the street to commercial.

He was instrumental in getting a commercial PUD approved on the Hayek property (click) about a half mile north last Fall; but that proposal still must be approved by the full city council.

Opponents worry about making the city's entrance like Mobile's Airport Boulevard and the traffic congestion it could bring.

546 N. Greeno


Updated comprehensive plan
The latest, final version (click) of the updated 183 page comprehensive growth plan effort that began almost three years ago has received its last "tweaks" according to City Planner Smith, and is still posted online for review: it will be screened at a joint session of the City Council and Planning Commission on February 25th at 5:30. (unless plans change again).

Several town hall meetings were held for citizens in 2014 and meetings have been continuing with council members and financial "stakeholders" since then behind the scenes.

The eventual four-laning of parts of east Morphy Ave. and Gayfer Rd. are some of its interesting findings.

The N. Greeno issue is likely to come up again then as well: changes to zoning there may be contingent upon the update.

Smith said the Planning Commission is expected to take immediate action at that meeting (approve/disapprove) and the City Council may choose to act immediately as well.

The Comprehensive Plan is used only as a guide, not legally binding itself -- but about about two years ago the mayor criticized the city council for never enacting the tough legislation to successfully implement the current village plan. (click)

Councilman Burrell

Airport Blvd. in Mobile


Anonymous said...

Burel has become Rip's lap dog. will do whatever he is told .

Anonymous said...

What are they going to do with the Dyes triangle property.

Anonymous said...

As Russell Crowe said, "are you not entertained"

Anonymous said...

I doubt seriously that Jack would be Ripp's lap dog. Even Ripp is smart enough to not let Jack get that close to his privates unless he wishes to become Caitlin Jenner.

Anonymous said...

Ripp always wins.

Anonymous said...

I find the lack of actual real facts in the release of medical info that is NOT true.Mr Ripp did NOT receive a head injury.No matter his form of physical disability the release of ones medical info may be deemed a HIPPA violation by this article.However I find it odd that most of Fairhope can't see past the interior corruption of Emperor Kant.
Bet no one knows that he interned over 60 remains to the land fill while city manager in the 80's from the Colony Cemetery during the installation of the then new sewage treatment plant.They said they couldn't locate the families (all black mind you)yet many came forward after the deed.What happened to the jewelry?

Anonymous said...

Wow! I don't doubt it. I don't put anything past this corrupt administration. Is there proof of this?

Anonymous said...

Wow. I have heard Kant has a house on the bay he bought with dirty money he got from real estate folks. The place stinks to high heaven. Ripp is definitely on to something

Unknown said...

Ripp is doing a wonderful job of getting the truth out about our politicians on all levels. I am very proud that he is on my side! Crystal R. Vinson

Anonymous said...

he also has a private bank account in a private bank in Missouri,that was found out during the Wal-Mart deal that was supposed to NOT allow the Murphy gas station but somehow that part became a part of the county,but Wal-Mart is in Fairhope.
Have also noticed that the new city limits sign was moved past RiverPark but the Fairhope Police Dept will NOT work any accidents in front of the store.Baldwin co Sheriff was called to work a n accident because Fairhope said it was out side the city.Quote from employees.
Can't wait to see the results of the lead testing by new residence in fruit and nut district.No new pipe work but all the trees (Corte Farms)and flowers one can stand.

Anonymous said...

Jack is a good man when he is sober but he has now fallen in with a bad crowd.

Anonymous said...

Burell does watever Debbie Green tells him to do. Not real sure exactly what is gong on behind the scenes there. Strange.

Jack Burrell said...

I am Jack Burrell, and I don't hide behind the name anonymous. I find it incredible to read that "Councilman Jack Burrell is spearheading the effort behind the scenes to make N. Greeno a "commercial corridor" (click) for his constituents there, notably Mr. and Mrs. Green who have been trying for years to rezone their Green Nurseries property across the street to commercial."

I simply stood up at the December Planning Commission meeting to state that anyone who owns R-1 zoned property on North Greeno Road is at a disadvantage, I believe I stated living in R-1 on Greeno Rd is a "hardship". Can you dispute this? Anyone who spoke on the matter last night that is on the Planning Commission stated they wouldn't want to live directly on Greeno Rd, either. I also stated something could be done to prevent it looking like gasoline alley or full of fast food restaurants - something that no one in town that I know of wants, yet give relief to the property owners, and we don't have all the answers as to what that would look like. No mention was made of anyone specific, and nothing has been said since. I believe the city can come up with zoning regulations that give relief to the people "stuck" in R-1 on Greeno road without compromising aesthetics. Stop trying to make it look as if I support anything other than what was stated.

As for the lapdog post, this person obviously doesn't know me very well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Burrell. The property owners on N. Greeno are "stuck" as far as R1 zoning. Anyone that lives there, can not sleep there. The median running down the middle also makes it a hardship case. I believe in your integrity and hopefully soon, those people can get some relief.

Anonymous said...

Jack glad to have you chime in. How long until you stand up to mayor Kant? Or is that prohibited in your airport board contract?

Anonymous said...

Corte and Kant won't be happy until every square inch is developed.
Yet, I'll bet when elections come around again all these dissenters will vote them in again.

Anonymous said...

Not me! Been trying to get him out for years!

Anonymous said...

Well Jack It's great to see you chime in and let the people that you seem to be the only one that takes the time to read the responses here and elsewhere.However it is well know that the Kant house has and does intimidate city employees with termination if they so much as say a word to anyone. Well known that he hires his friends and buddies from the Rotary and other venues so they have something to do as well do his bidding.That's why the anonymous tag is used.At one time even the PD was completely under his control.Those of us that have lived here from an extended period of time,out side of the retires, have had enough.

Anonymous said...

Burell needs to grow some balls and stand up to the good old boys for a change.

Anonymous said...

Anything is better than more and more of miles and miles of isolated sprawling suburbs like Rock Creek.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jack, as before mentioned, alot of us have to stay anonymous due to repercussions. Anything you can do to stop some of this corruption is greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha! he is up to his neck in it hiomself now, along with the others. canr beat em join em.

Francis Ripp said...

CORRUPTION and breach of contract by the city to its citizens.

Anonymous said...

In Baldwin Co= A good lawyer know the law, and a better lawyer knows the judge.
A councilman votes and a citizen is discounted.
Friend of friends,employs friends,

If this is not a true statement,visit any public council meeting or attend any court hearing, or serve on a jury.Must be a new episode of the TV series filmed hear not so long ago,Sweet Home Alabama.Similar to Flint Michigan who now has no clean drinking water,and no where to go but down and out.They know and will do there own bidding behind closed doors covered by smiles,handshakes,and generous donations.Kinda like the Catholics hiding the guilty,and blaming the victims.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.