Settlement being sought in Fly Creek apartment dispute


A settlement could soon come in the case involving the controversial Fly Creek Apartment complex in Fairhope, following the filing of joint motion to dismiss an appeal last week in Baldwin County Circuit Court.

Both the developer, the Retreat at Fairhope Village, LLC, and the citizens group opposing the development, the Fly Creek Watershed Preservation Association, signed on to the motion to dismiss the appeal of a decision made by Judge Clark Stankoski in September.

Stankoski’s Sept. 4 ruling effectively ended work on the apartment complex, as he said the approval for the project by the Fairhope Planning Commission and the permits acquired through that were struck down.

“The approval is declared null, void and of no effect,” Stankoski wrote in his Sept. 4 ruling. “The Developer/Intervenor as well as the City Defendants are directed to vegetate all slopes and cleared areas in order to protect Fly Creek and wetlands near Fly Creek from damage, erosion and run off.”

The Fly Creek Watershed Preservation Association had long argued the drainage system adopted for the project did not adequately address storm water runoff for the development and said the system violated existing City of Fairhope ordinances dealing with that issue.

While the developers had originally appealed Stankoski’s Sept. 4 decision, the joint motion to dismiss that appeal was filed Oct. 12.

“A dismissal of this appeal is necessary in order to effectuate a settlement,” the filing said. “Time is of the essence in that work on an ongoing construction project has been halted as a result of the Orders of the Trial Court and significant expense is being incurred daily pending a resolution of the case.”

A potential settlement with the citizens group could help the project move forward, though city officials said that there would still be legal issues to be decided for the city regarding the approval of the drainage system and its alleged incongruousness with existing city ordinances.

The City of Fairhope did not join the motion and still has an appeal standing on the matter.