Town approves Buc-ee's annexation

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 2/6/19

LOXLEY, Alabama — The town of Loxley approved a measure during a special meeting Monday, Jan. 28 to annex property for the Buc-ee’s Travel Center, located off County Road 68 and the Baldwin Beach …

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Town approves Buc-ee's annexation

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LOXLEY, Alabama — The town of Loxley approved a measure during a special meeting Monday, Jan. 28 to annex property for the Buc-ee’s Travel Center, located off County Road 68 and the Baldwin Beach Express.

Two separate measures were brought before the council during the Jan. 28 meeting, both were passed unanimously following a vote to suspend the rules for immediate passage of an ordinance.

First, the council voted to adopt Ordinance No. 2019-02 to approve annexation of property known as NW-BBC, which is property located on the northwest corner of the Baldwin Beach Express.

Next, the council voted to adopt Ordinance No. 2019-03 to approve annexation of property owned by Buc-ee’s Alabama LLC.

During its regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 14, the council approved a tax incentive agreement, contingent upon the establishment being annexed into the town’s limits.

“We did not go after them,” said Loxley Mayor Billy Middleton. “They approached us.”

During the Jan. 14 meeting, Shawn Alves, attorney with Stone, Grenade and Crosby, that represents the town in legal matters, said that the agreement was “a standard tax incentive agreement that we have done in the past.”

According to the agreement, within 30 days of annexation, the company agrees to a one-time payment to the town of $50,000, along with annual payments of $25,000 over a 20-year period.

In turn, the town will provide the company with a “tax-incentive payment” of 37.5 percent of the sales taxes collected by the company, and 25 percent of the fuel taxes collected by the company.

The agreement also states that the company agrees to maintain 125 employees and a 12-month rolling annual average payroll of at least $3.75 million.

In April of 2017, the town renewed a tax incentive agreement with Turner Furniture Co Inc., a subsidiary of the national furniture chain Ashley Furniture Industries, located in the Loxley Industrial Park off County Road 49and U.S. 90.

Initially passed in April of 2012, the five-year contract allowed the town to split tax revenues 50-50, with an option to renew for another five-year lease with a 60-40 split.

Following the special meeting, the council went immediately into its regular workshop meeting, during which several residents of the Rosinton Community expressed their concerns about the annexation and continued fire protection in the area.

Several residents, calling themselves the Rosinton Heritage Association, were present at the meeting. Leigh Racine acted as a spokesperson for the group.

“We just want to make sure that what’s being done is the best thing for the Rosinton community,” Racine said, “and we want to have a voice in any future annexation that might involve the community.”

Town officials insured residents that no further annexation in the area has been planned.

“We just want to assure all of you that we’re not looking to do anything that will be harmful to anyone,” said Council Member Katherine Breeden. “We want to do what’s best for our town and we’re willing to work with anyone who has concerns.”

Racine said the group had come together to form the Rosinton Landmark District and meets monthly to discuss concerns within the community.

A post dated Nov. 2, 2018 on the Rosinton Landmark District’s Facebook Page, stated that the purpose of the group “is to help preserve our heritage and to have a voice in what happens in our community as opposed to no voice in our future.”

Several members of the Rosinton Volunteer Fire Department also expressed concerns over fire protection and other issues involving the fire departments now that the property has been annexed into the town’s limits.

“It is my understanding that the city does not run medical calls,” said Rosinton Assistant Fire Chief Mike Tobias. “The Rosinton Fire Department does. We have already answered four calls (in the week since Buc-ee’s opened). Are we no longer supposed to answer those calls?”

Loxley Fire Chief Tony Lovell, who is also the head of the Fire Chiefs Association for the state of Alabama, said that as of right now, Buc-ee’s is still in the Rosinton fire jurisdiction, which is set by the state.

“We’ll be happy to sit down with you and work everything out,” Lovell said, “and we will continue to work together as we have always done to make sure calls get answered.”

Lovell said the Loxley Fire Department is also working to build a second fire station in the area that will help solve some of the problems with answering calls.