Residents object to Fairhope development plans


FAIRHOPE – The Fairhope City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on two requests for planned unit developments on Alabama 181 that raised objections from residents at the last council meeting.

One proposal was for a zoning change to allow 99 single-family homes to be built on 38 acres at the intersection of Alabama 181 and Bay Meadows Avenue. The site is now zoned Residential-Agricultural, R-A, which allows one home on each three acres.

“I’ve got some concerns about the density,” Councilman Jimmy Conyers said. “We’re going with R-A. Currently you can get one unit per three acres is what it’s zoned for. We’re going from one unit per three acres to three units per one acre. That’s nine times the density that’s currently allowed. That’s a pretty substantial change.”

Joe Rector of Mullins LLC, who represented the developer, said the density was reduced from 110 units to 99 after meeting with local residents.

“The process started in March,” Rector said. “We had a number of public meetings that were advertised in this chamber in the past six months. This site plan didn’t look like this when it started. This is an evolution of what has been taken as input. We had two entrances heading out into Bay Meadows originally.”.

Resident Mark Roshetko said local property owners were not notified of any plans for the site or any meetings to discuss the proposal. they had met with residents several times since

“I am opposed to this particular PUD site plan because it is not superior rezoning to the existing zoning on the property,” he told council members. It negatively affects the character of surrounding properties.”

Roshetko said three units per acre is too dense for the area.

“The only innovative thing about this PUD is how thin can we slice the pie,” he said.

Martha Monkton, who lives on Bay Meadows Avenue, said the road already has more traffic than it can handle.

“Now they are wanting to dump 200 to 300 cars, considering two people per household, two cars, plus teenagers onto Bay Meadows Avenue,” she said. “If you have been out there, you know that this is a country road. It is not like the city streets around here.”

Resident John Heinrich called the development “a sardine factory.”

“I look at that, that’s greed,” he said. “You don’t need that many houses in that small a space.”

The council also held a public hearing on a proposal to annex and zone 76 acres on the northwest corner of Fairhope Avenue and Alabama 181.

The request calls for 23.3 acres to be developed as multi-family residential, with 232 apartment units. Another unit would include 67 single-family home lots on 14.11 acres. The final area would be developed as commercial property with 16 lots on 28.79 acres.

Buford King said the commercial unit would fit current business zoning regulations. He said the multi-family area is modeled after the city’s R-5 multi-family zoning rules. The single-family home unit would have lots slightly smaller than those allowed under the city’s R-3 zoning, but the overall density would be less.

Gary Gover said the plan needs more study before final approval. The development is across the street from Walmart and officials should consider how the proposal will fit into plans for the area and Fairhope.

“This is something we haven’t quite done before and I’m not opposed to this kind of development,” he said, “I think it’s what we have to do for the future. I’m just a little concerned that we need to walk this one a little slowly, a little carefully and think outside this particular box and be sure the village center itself will function well.”