Sunday, January 15, 2017

Updated: Fairhope's Central Business District To Be Enlarged?

Fairhope, Alabama

Update:  This project's developer Chris Haley informs the Times:

"One point of clarification in your article..... the county zoning data for my parcel is inaccurate (as it is on numerous parcels in the county).  You can check Fairhope zoning maps which are accurate.   IT is zoned B-2 which allows mixed use."

 Fairhope Avenue in foreground


At its January meeting, Christopher Haley (Haley Development Llc.) asked the Planning Commission for their informal, preliminary opinion of a project he is designing for the north side of Fairhope Avenue, east of the post office (across from ACE Hardware).

Developer Chris Haley
The property is currently owned by William Hass and is zoned R-2 according to online county land data: Mini-storage units and a few other small businesses are located there now (apparently they are grandfathered in to the residential zoning).

(Pubisher's Note: See the update at the top concerning the zoning)

The 56 unit project (33 residential on top floors with 23 commercial office/retail below) on the 3.5 acre property he said he placed "under contract" last May, would be similar to one in Cloverdale (near Montgomery) where an old grocery store was re-developed into the 'A + P Lofts' - click.

One hundred and thirty parking spaces would include on-street parking on Fairhope and Stimpson Avenues and a 100 space previous surface parking lot in a back corner; a large green-space courtyard would be included as well, Haley said.


proposed site
Haley said that he was bringing it to the commission for direction because the design did not fully meet city regulations according to city staff: a 20 foot wide green space buffer required by the tree ordinance and the proposed new angled parking along Fairhope Avenue are problematic -- even though a traffic study (cost $8K) concluded all technical safety requirements would be met for angled (45 degree) spaces there in the 25mph speed zone.

He said he could re-design it to conform, but thought his design with angled parking like other parts of downtown and extra-wide sidewalks would be more appealing an functional.


Commissioners unanimously expressed support for the project -- and rezoning the property (a PUD?) or even extending the city's Central Business Commercial District were possible ways mentioned to deal with the conflicts with regulations.

Two commissioners preferred parallel rather than angled parking spaces (for safety) and another warned of chronic storm-water drainage issues in that area.

The city council would have to approve any rezoning or extension of the CBD.

Proposed design  (Fairhope Ave. at bottom)

Current Central Business District outlined in red


Anonymous said...

Well what happen to the moratorium on the building of multi family dwelling structures or developments?How does this expansion impact our already over taxed sewer system.Sounds like another Can't deal with the emphasis on Cant.We have had enough of the planning and zoning personal agendas.Yet one with a wheel chair can't find a bathroom or even a proper parking space,and if they do I assure all,they can't use a bath room in ANY downtown business.They ALL have 24-28" doors in rooms that are so small,that the average person without a disability can't use them.Yet the city fails to enforce any change(including fire code in a fire district).The park at the north end charges for entrance to non residences and yet NO parking spaces set aside for handicapped parking and the bath rooms are NOT accessible in any way.DO NOT AFERM GRANDFATHER STATUS, try misappropriation of funding.I predict in the near future some one will not only take notice but legal action.

Anonymous said...

I understood that the moratorium would not apply to projects within the Central Business District. I bet this is why the Planning Commission is suggesting expanding the CBD to include this project. Clearly, the Planning Commission of Fairhope exists solely to accommodate developers. Thus, if the proposed project does not comply with the laws, the PC advises changing to laws.
The project itself appears to be a vast improvement over the existing buildings on the property but I am concerned about the Planning Commission ignoring the infrastructure problems. The moratorium should apply here regardless of whether the CBD is ultimately enlarged.

Anonymous said...

I agree about enforcing ADA compliance. We do have people who rely on the use of a wheelchair for mobility. The fact that they are unable to use restrooms in a business, in shops and resteraunts us very shameful.

Young Family in Fairhope said...

Good project! Will be a welcome change from the current storage units.

Publisher said...

It was not made clear during this "informal" discussion whether or not the moratorium applies: the application could have been made before it went into effect about a month ago.

If we find out for sure we will update the post ... .

Anonymous said...

It would put a lot of small businesses out of business to have to be completely ADA compliant. People need to be realistic. As long as there are bathroom facilities in the immediate area (which there are with the newer buildings downtown), it is absurd to mandate that every business needs to accommodate everyone.

Publisher said...

The project's developer Chris Haley informs us the application was submitted before the moratorium took effect.

Haley: "Fully engineered plans were submitted to the planning department well before the moratorium."

Anonymous said...

And when this is a sad, unleasable flop, the developers and council members will walk around the sad skeleton shaking their heads wondering why. This totally lacks the charm of Fairhope and reeks of profit for a few.

Anonymous said...

anything would be better than the ugly mess there now.

Anonymous said...

Wished they could do something about that dilapidated gas station down town. All the old junk cars are an eyesore.

Anonymous said...

As for ADA compliance it is a Federal requirement to give REASONABLE accommodations.It doesn't mean rebuild your store or building.As for the access but door size it is a Fire control egress issue.It's easy to p[ut sometime as a leaver instead of a knob,or make one bathroom available with a 36 inch door.Other than that it's not much for a so called retirement community with open public access.But it doesn't sound as if a previous cementer has any idea of what a wheel chair,a walker,and how it works.

Anonymous said...

The buildings and office space currently on the site is in poor condition and is a blight. This project is an improvement and would provide parking for the tenants. The gas station is a icon!

Anonymous said...

I would love to know what bank has agreed to finance another 33 condos in Fairhope……check out and see how many dozens are already on the market and NOT selling. If anyone is dim-witted enough to finance this, they have only themselves to blame when these units sit on the market for years, unsold, and when the property becomes an eyesore. Also, is there any demand for more retail space here?
This is attractive looking enough, but I can't imagine who would want to actually live/pay for property there. I can see low end apartments renting well enough here and perhaps that is the plan to build it very low cost and no frills and be able to rent cheaply to snowbirds/students.

Anonymous said...

Ordinarily I never respond to these sorts of comments or announcements. this time I need to speak up in support of MacArthurs, "the junky filling station". I find it very refreshing to watch the progress of some of the builds that are done there and interesting to see the old cars that are brought in for repair. I find it elitist and pretentious to think that a town like Fairhope should look in all aspects as perfect as a Japanese garden.

Anonymous said...

Somebody should take a wreck in' ball to that whole ugly block.

Anonymous said...

Well speaking of ugly blocks the corner of Morphy and Section could use a touch up as well.The corner of School and Morphy looks like a wrecking yard.However it is now common to take as much as 2 years to receive a building permit under the Dobbs act and the arguments of the planning and zoning board.Many new regulations have been accepted and are required.Now how much interest on a loan would this coast the average person building a home.Until the infrastructure is updated,especially with the sewer system,water system there are going to be issues.

Anonymous said...

Look at there development in Montgomery. This could be a very good addition to Fairhope.

Hank said...

Retirement community? Sorry, but nope

John Adams said...

The area in Montgomery they are referring to is fantastic. This would be a great addition to downtown.

The economical opinions seem to be anecdotal, observational at best from bitter the people that are against everything. I suggest they try adjusting their medications. Or at least researching the Google machine before spouting off.

Either angel or parallel parking along the street could be hazardous due to the lack of speed control. Completely observational comment made from years of walking the sidewalks of Fairhope.

Anonymous said...

More traffic congestion is the only prblm with this.