Fortified home program celebrates 1,000 certifications

As the governor’s Coastal Insurance Working Group prepares to recommend solutions to high wind insurance premiums paid by homeowners in Mobile and Baldwin counties, another coastal Alabama group is celebrating a milestone in home fortification — a process it claims can reduce those same premiums by as much as 60 percent. Smart Home America, a Mobile-based nonprofit promoting home fortification for sustainability and affordability, certified its 1,000th home built to the fortified home gold standard last week at Quail Creek in Fairhope. The home was built by Truland Homes using standards based on 20 years of research from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, a nonprofit that tests construction methods against winds up to 130 miles per hour, wildfire, hail and other disasters. According to IBHS, a bronze-level home features sealed roof decks that are securely attached and high-wind-rated, roof-mounted vents that resist water intrusion. Silver-level homes meet the bronze requirements but have additional safety measures related to attached structures such as columns and gables braced to withstand high winds. Continue Reading →

Fairhope passes Shux shuttle regulations

The Fairhope City Council adopted an ordinance to regulate the use of a street-legal golf cart on the municipal pier in order to allow employees from Shux restaurant to shuttle disabled people to and from the establishment, which is located a few hundred feet down the pier. (more…) Continue Reading →

MHB approved for additional financing option

The Mobile Housing Board was recently approved for a federal program that could help it finance future projects, but a proposed change in how tax credits are doled out by a state agency could mean the MHB will still have gaps to close in a $750 million redevelopment plan for two neighborhoods. Executive Director Dwayne Vaughn announced the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved the MHB for the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, which will allow the board to borrow money from banks for the first time for housing developments. The RAD program would also lock MHB into a 15-year funding contract with HUD, making it susceptible to future cuts. Vaughn believes it would also help the board manage an estimated $80 million in capital needs. “We are smiling as broadly as we can,” Vaughn told board members. Continue Reading →

Hearings set for Point Clear, Malbis zoning requests

The Baldwin County Planning Commission will consider a pair of controversial zoning requests at its next meeting that have riled some Eastern Shore residents. On Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. at the Baldwin County Central Annex in Robertsdale, the commission will hear a request from Point Clear resident George Spottswood to rezone a parcel of property south of the Grand Hotel from residential to a commercial designation. The request made some Point Clear residents uneasy, raising concerns about traffic and noise in the quiet community south of Fairhope. Neighbors on Scenic Highway 98 claim Spottswood wants to open a general store on property on Old Marlow Road. Continue Reading →