Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Controversial Fly Creek Village Amendment Approved

Fairhope, Alabama

New plan for 4 apartment buildings at lower right

Original apartment plan (2015)

original 2006 plan for condos/townhomes


After another lengthy council meeting, by a 3-2 margin the city council approved an amendment to the already-approved (in 2006) Fly Creek Village PUD that would allow about the same number of apartments rather than just town homes/condominiums in the next phase of the development behind the Publix grocery store.

Population density remains about the same as well.

The developer has one year to begin the project or it reverts back to the original 2006 concept.

Councilmembers Boone, Mueller and Brewer voted in favor; Ford and Burrell against.

The Planning Commission had voted 8-1 for approval in January (Mayor Kant voted in favor then too).

(The city's Environmental Committee had informally discussed the amendment at its meeting last week and, citing more green space and a wider creek buffer,  the majority also concluded that it was preferable to the current plan:  They are asking for volunteers to help them monitor the creek during construction, though.)


Again, mostly residents of neighboring Rock Creek and Sandy Ford subdivisions spoke out against it citing concerns such as traffic, impact on Fly Creek, and potential reduced home values.

A smaller group spoke in favor, including designer Stuart Speed of the Leaf River Group citing  improved environmental friendliness (compared to current plan), better compliance with the city's comprehensive growth plan,  and the need for up-scale apartments in the city.

Before the vote, one frequent speaker who also publishes a weekly political blog, got applause after threatening to defeat the mayor and anyone who voted in favor of the project in the upcoming August municipal election; and council president Burrell referenced mayor Kant's famous 'Keep Fairhope, Fairhope' campaign pledges of 2000 and 2004 as a reason to vote against the amendment.

(Burrell ran for mayor in 2008, before councilman in 2012)


After the vote, when asked by a Times reporter if he felt any conflict of interests and ever considered recusing himself from the deliberations since he lives in the neighborhood as well, councilman Burrell became visibly agitated and denied it was a problem.

The Times had received several inquiries from citizens about the appropriateness of Burrell's participation given his close proximity: He lives on nearby Alice Lane off of Parker Road just west of  the Publix store; his home is not adjacent to Fly Creek, but only 3 lots over from it.

He said he did not know for sure if the apartments would adversely affect his home's value, but conceded they could.

(The Times had raised the issue with Burrell about two weeks earlier: the mayor said then that former councilman Stankoski, who also lived in the area, always recused himself for such neighborhood  matters)

State ethics laws prohibit elected/appointed officials from personally benefiting by actions they take in office; however in this case, since the motion was approved and Burrell opposed,  the issue is probably moot.


Before construction begins, the developer must present a detailed site plan to the Planning Commission and city council for approval.

Those meeting are open to the public too ... .



Anonymous said...

Kant v Burell round two? Interesting.

A battle of the big egos, but neither one will ever be awarded for high ethics standards.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone surprised by this?
Brewer never fails to disappoint.

If people in Fairhope want change you will only get that when you vote.
Yet, you people to continue to elect Can't and his crew over and over and over again.
You have no one to blame but yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Brewer does not seem qualified to make decisions for this town. I will vote against her. I am voting for Burrell if he runs! One member voting yes owns a paving company and another is an architect. They both have interests in supporting more building.

We all know that the developers could not build the original plan on that property and that building apartments allows them to build and run within a year. Single property and work / life is a community/village concept.

Fairhope will be sorry for this decision.

Anonymous said...

Burrell's new campaign...KANT AFORD 4 MORE.

First wave of signs will be available soon, please remember to have spot lights and cameras on all signs. We want to discourage the "kids" (wink, wink) from stealing the signs in the middle of the night.

Anonymous said...

Burrell is right and he is the most ethical person on the Council. He clearly has the right to vote on the issue and the property voted on is far from his house. The insinuations in the piece are shameful. I hope he is Mayor one day. We need him.

Publisher said...

Repetitive comments may be deleted.

Anonymous said...
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Randy said...

Brewer took the high road and made the right decision based upon facts and what is best for the whole city, not just a few greedy realtors who only want more property to sell, or the usual mob of elitists from Rock Creek.

Hopeless, old, senile Mike Ford took the low road again and played to the crowd as did Burrell who knowingly broke state ethics laws again.

Anonymous said...

Why are they all singling out Diana for this abuse? A problem with assertive women?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Anyone who voted to approve this apartment construction will never get my vote or support ever again. It in no way benefits Fairhope and the only rational reason any elected official would approve it would be $$$. There needs to be an investigation. The overwhelming voice of their constituents said very loudly NO to this...yet they approved it anyway. Why?

Anonymous said...

Why approve it? Because the city's comprehensive growth plan calls for high density housing within walking distance of commercial village centers ... instead of sprawling mega subdivisions like your Rock Creek where you have to drive everywhere ... clogging up the roads like US 98.

I would not call a hundred and fifty mis-informed people from one or two neighborhoods an overwhelming majority in a town of 18 thousand folks.

Your own POA's did not take positions on it so it may not even be a majority there either.

We did not have a traffic problem before the sprawling subdivisions like Rock Creek.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Burrell taking orders from Quinn? Interesting. Fairhope is sliding with the red mud in fly creek into the bay. Soon it will be a dump due to commute times.

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest concern here is not the apartments so much as it was approved for one thing, then bam! it gets approved for something entirely different. Makes you wonder who is paying who for these changes.

Anonymous said...

Let's remember folks, we have an election coming up. If you don't like how things are being run - get out and VOTE. Too many hands are being greased here for it to go from a 4-5 vote then an 8-1 vote. Too many things going on in this town that we don't know about. Sure wished someone was smart enough to REALLY dig deep enough. Sadly, too many people think the flowers are more important than how things really are. If you live in the fruit/nut district, please don't tell people in other areas how to try to manage their property. Campaign contributions are open to the public. Do a little research here and see who is making big contributions.

Anonymous said...

Campaign donations are irrelevant unless there is proof of a quid pro quo. Everyone in town has a say into how the city develops, not just one arrogant neighborhood or a few loud individuals.