Friday, March 25, 2016

Updated: Big Changes Imminent For North Greeno Road?

Fairhope, Alabama

Update: At Monday's council meeting, no vote was taken on either of the proposals.  The Hayek PUD was pulled from the agenda by the applicant -- and the Fly Creek laid over for two weeks until the next meeting. The Hayek is to be changed slightly and re-submitted in about a month.

Fly Creek PUD project highlighted


A proposed plan to allow commercial development at the city's north Greeno Road entrance for the first time -- and a separate proposal to change already-approved plans (in 2006) for condominiums/townhomes behind the Publix grocery store to "luxury" apartments instead are expected to draw a big crowd for Monday's city council meeting -- to be held in the civic center at 6PM.

By majority vote, the council could approve or deny one or both -- or choose to let the Fly Creek one lay over for two weeks more before voting.

The new Greeno PUD should be voted on though, since it was introduced at the last meeting.


958 N. Greeno Rd.

The rezoning request (R-1 residential to commercial PUD) being proposed by Fred Hayek (east side of road, just north of Volanta Park) would allow commercial activity on N. Greeno for the first time, and would consist of four, two story buildings to be used for professional offices and some limited retail activities .
"residential looking" buildings
The plan could serve as a model for similar developments all along the highway; but it does not fully conform with the city's current or proposed comprehensive growth plans.

The Planning Commission did approve it anyway however, with only one dissenting vote.

The ordinance was introduced at the last council meeting but allowed to lay over two weeks without a vote.

Councilmen Ford and Burrell have publicly supported it, as did mayor Kant; opinions of the other three council members are unknown.

Hayek property 958 N. Greeno
Burrell has called N. Greeno a "commercial corridor."

Proponents say the area along the highway is no longer suitable for residential use and landowners cannot sell their property as residential --  but critics worry about changing N. Greeno into another congested Airport Blvd. -- and point to Colonial Acres and Plantation Pines as successful residential neighborhoods there.

The Hayek property drains into the Fly Creek watershed.

Permitted commercial uses include:


Fly Creek PUD with Publix grocery at left

Also on Monday's agenda (not coincidentally according to some long-time city hall watchers) is the controversial amendment to phase two of the Fly Creek PUD to allow about the same number of "luxury" apartments (with some flats and townhomes)  -- instead of all condominiums/townhouses called for in the current plan. 

Rent for the proposed 240 apartments was estimated to be from $1,000 to $1,600 per month.

Phase one of the two-phase amendment will be the four apartment buildings at the lower right in the above photo. adjacent the creek.

Since the building "footprints" of the new proposal are smaller than those of the existing plan, it would be more environmentally friendly to Fly Creek (less rain runoff). according to city staff.

By increasing density near the village center, the amendment does conform to both the current and proposed comprehensive growth plans.

A conservation/wilderness buffer and walking trail are to be constructed along the creek as well.

Proponents cite being more environmentally friendly and  better conformity to the Comp. plan; but opponents (mostly by the adjacent Rock Creek and Sandy Ford neighborhoods) worry about the increased traffic and the effect of (non-owner occupied) apartments on their property values.

Others have claimed the hilly terrain makes the site completely inappropriate for development.

At a meeting last December, the Planning Commission voted 5-4 against the amendment; but after the project was re-submitted and more details were revealed by its designer (Leaf River Group's, Stewart Speed), voted 8-1 for approval at the January meeting.

No reason has been given for the long delay before coming to the council; there were no previous public discussions in the interim.

Again councilmen Ford and Burrell have already publicly opposed the amendment; mayor Kant voted against it at the December meeting, then for it at the second one in January.

Councilman Boone, the council's current planning commission representative, voted for the amendment at the January meeting; opinions of the other two council members are not known.



Anonymous said...

A condo/town home development would be much better for Fairhope than a big apartment complex for two reasons: 1 ) over time apartment developments always move downscale as they age and deteriorate and get less appealing. Rents go down over time at aging apartment complexes and crime goes up. 2) allowing one large apartment complex in an area always breeds many additional apartment developments because a precedent has been set via zoning and local political process. Likely very hard to stop what could be a watershed moment in Fairhope history. Allowing this land so close to the bay to become a large scale commercial strip is short sighted and may permanently lower land values in all of Fairhope as well as significantly increasing congestion and crime over time.

Anonymous said...

So, urban sprawl like you have in Rock Creek is better? I do not think so, sprawl is the enemy. Higher density with smaller footprints and more green spaces is better for the environment... and Fly Creek.

Do not let the angry mob intimidate and rule the day Monday ... Should be approved, but our so-called city leaders need to get off their duffs for a change and start addressing traffic woes, or get better leaders?

Anonymous said...

Agreed! More huge, sprawling suburbs like Rock Creek are the worst case scenario.

Why I moved here from Atlanta to get away from.

We can do better here with the right leadership!

Anonymous said...

Just do not make a mess of n greeno like you did to south greeno. we even have a used car lot there now! :(

Anonymous said...

Apartments will only bring in more undesirables from Mobile , like in Arbor Gates.

Anonymous said...

Cant wait to see old slick politician mike ford do this one... always plays to the crowd! especially an election year! ;)

Anonymous said...

Population density, no matter what the living format, will destroy Fairhope. Population density causes increased crime, etc. But, who cares, as long as a buck can be made.

Anonymous said...

Wrong! What is ruining Fairhope is mega subdivisions and suburban sprawl ... like Rock Creek. Have to drive everywhere vs walk or bike ... clog up the roads. (see US 98)

Anonymous said...

Mayor Kant and his good ole boy friends cooked this one up i bet ...

Teenaboppaweena said...

What is an "undesirable"?

Anonymous said...

Why don't the police enforce the speed limits there?

Anonymous said...

My rental in rock creek will be affected. Just curious, how many homes in rock creek are rented out?

Anonymous said...

We are losing the small town image and that is why most people live here. We like Small town image and what about our schools? Overcrowding!

Anonymous said...

No to all of it! Home subdivisions are bad enough but NO condos, NO apartment dwellings, NO businesses. I did move here because of the small town aspect. I can walk to the p.o., library and the market. The pool, vet and Doctor are nearby. Why do you politicians see a piece of wooded land and desire to rip it up?

Obviously, it's time to replace this mayor and council with Citizens with Fairhope values instead of the one we have with strip mall mentalities.

Anonymous said...

It's easy to condemn new development after your subdivision has been developed.

It's easy to say "no new developments" after you were able to develop your property.

It's easy to say "let's keep the small town atmosphere" after you and your friends have moved here.

It's easy to call people you don't know "undesirables" from your lofty penthouse view.

Anonymous said...

We did not have any traffic problems until there was a Rock Creek.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. Look what they are doing on south Greno. Look at there plan for the airport. So sad.

Anonymous said...

When does Publix and a mini mall constitute a village? Where does our plan day apartments? Maybe the land around the store is fragile? Maybe there is a reason this change to a "never should have been approved " PUD keeps getting put on every committee meeting agenda then being postponed? We have heard the consultants argue for repeatedly. The community argues against apartments. Are the committees just waiting for less people to show up before voting? No apartments! If you live in fairhope : invest in fairhope!