Sunday, October 9, 2016

Controversial South Side Apartment Project Approved

Fairhope, Alabama

CR3 at Old Battles Rd. site

Shortly after a much bigger one on the north side was denied last Monday, the city's planning commission approved a smaller apartment complex on the south side of town by a 4-2 vote.

duplex rendering
Phase one of Old Battles Place will consist of 110 duplex apartment units on land already zoned R-5 within the city limits at the northeast corner of Section Street (CR3) and Old Battles Road: the approval requested by HMR Engineering was voluntarily tabled from the September meeting to allow more time to address concerns raised then over traffic, landscaping and sewage utility service: all of those issues had been resolved according to planning director Smith.

The applicant also requested a waiver from the commission of the Low Impact Development storm water drainage requirements, because natural soil conditions do not permit its full implementation on this site.

Smith said that additional conventional drainage methods met the city's usual standard that post construction runoff from the site be be no more than pre-construction.

(The new LID standards were adopted by the city council about a year ago)


Wilson at left
As with the project on the north side, Mayor-elect Karin Wilson spoke in opposition because the minimum drainage requirements had not been met, 10 of 15 LID methods were not implemented; she also questioned how a proper traffic study could have been done since CR3 is closed for repairs.

Wilson: "The application is incomplete ... a minimum of 10 are required ... this is an unusual development ... need an independent study done ... if going to waive our requirements ... ."

Project engineer Scot Hutchinson replied that the traffic study was done using county data obtained well before the road was closed for repairs and it found that traffic volume was not sufficient to warrant improvements to the roads at this time: no turning lanes or 4 way stop at the intersection needed.

He also said a third party engineer (Tim Wally) did look at the drainage and concurred with the findings: minimum LID could not be implemented because of soil conditions at the site.

Wilson, backed by a room full of citizens, said they were all frustrated the "commission seems not to come up with solutions to protect citizens ... only shows flexibility when it comes to the developers."

Commission chairman Lee Turner explained how Alabama is "a property rights state" where laws often side with property owners: any decision the commission makes must be based on the applicable laws on the books and may be appealed to civil court.

Commissioner Boone made the motion for approval, seconded by Clark; Roberbs and Turner also voted aye, Robinson and MacKellar nay.

Wilson, Hutchinson, Wally (speaking)

site plan



Anonymous said...

Anyonenvoting yes to allow exceptions for that development on the planning and zoning board needs to be removed or asked to resign immediately

Anonymous said...

Can someone start a gofundme account for fairhope so we can build a fence and keep all its citizens caged? What a bunch of clowns!

Dad Mann said...

Why is it a fight? Decent people give and take. They come to the table knowing that there are solutions for theses issues. Talikin' softly is key, Ya see. That's how the ideas maintain their substance. The big stick part is for implementation. Getting the work done. What we need right now is soft speakin', lettin' those ideas intermingle. Comin' in with a big stick to get your ideas through is not the right tact.

Brett C Mitchell

Anonymous said...

We need some reasonably priced housing here not any more mansions like in ?Rock Creek.

Anonymous said...

Home prices are driven by land cost. Additionally, we should be in support of higher priced housing since our city/county income is dependent upon property taxes. Anyone looking for less expensive homes will look farther inland because land prices are not going to become cheaper this close to the coast. I hate that these apartments were approved and look forward to seeing new faces on the Planning Commission. Thanks to Holly McKellar & Jay Robinson for trying to do the best thing for Fairhope.

Anonymous said...

FRG real estate agents wanting more properties to sell ... for bigger commissions ... .

Randy Lahey said...

Soooo what you're saying is, that only folks with money should be able to live close to the coast? So us po' folks just need to "move inland" and not drive down your precious home values. Is that what you're saying? Perhaps the city DOESN'T need higher home values. We need realistic and affordable housing that everyone can enjoy. Outside money and rampant upscale development has destroyed this quaint town's middle-class oasis.

Anonymous said...

Behind every bed of flowers lies allot of ugly.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good to me Randy. Move inland.

Anonymous said...

Sad, sad, sad that Fairhope only wants "high end" people living in their little burb. Fortunately we bought our home here before the bust. Now, my son that has grown up here, lived his whole life here, can't afford to live here.

Anonymous said...

What so many posters here are missing is that it has nothing to do with 'Fairhope only wanting high end citizens, etc'. I agree that growth is totally out of control, but that responsibility should go back to Mayor Kant and our CoinOperated Planning Commission who worked for Mayor Kant. Hopefully those days are behind us.
However, the crime in Mobile, coupled with the growth in Mobile's industry, has created a huge market for Baldwin County residences b/c of the white flight factor. This will only increase in the future. I wish that I had bought into Fairhope many decades ago. Those who did are selling now for mega-multiples of their original investments.
No one in Fairhope wants only 'high end' residents; however, any piece of property now being developed should be developed to its highest potential to ensure a steady stream of tax revenue to the city that is supplying services to that piece of property (and to the schools).
My initial point is that the demand for waterfront will increase exponentially; this is good for those who purchased decades ago and will make big bucks on the sale……..and those are the ones who are selling out now!
Can't have it both ways, sadly.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to live in Sausalito but can't afford the housing cost. I'm not bitter about that, however.

Anonymous said...

People who have lived in Fairhope for years are selling not because they want to move, or want to cash in but because they can't afford the property taxes.
Pay attention, you may be missing something.

Anonymous said...

Can't afford property taxes in Fairhope Alabama? Of the 50 U.S. states Alabama property taxes are the second lowest, with 48 states having higher property taxes. Some posting here seem bitter about Fairhope's already high and rising real estate prices. They seem resentful about folks with large expensive homes. Like someone else posted I would like a large bayfront home in Sausalito or Tiburon or even here in Fairhope, but I can't afford it. That doesn't mean I am bitter and resentful about the folks that can afford these homes.

Anonymous said...

Alabama income is just as low. Spin it as you will but you do sound very bitter.

Anonymous said...

Real estate prices are driven by demand.

I'd like to hear more about this job growth in Mobile where the pay affords their employees the ability to afford almost $200 per square foot construction in "walkable Fairhope".

Anonymous said...

Ha ha. Fairhope is so overrated. I use to live there The insurance was terrible We lived in Fairfield which is now in direct line of airplane traffic. Actually all of Fairhope is . I don't get it but am so happy to be out of there. We met some of the best people and the bay is nice if you can get there when no event is going on. I also came across a lot of wannabes, whew a lot of wannabes