Author: Jane Nicholes

Daphne Council considers large residential developments

Public hearings on several real estate developments that together would change the Daphne landscape dominated the City Council’s meeting Monday night. A handful of residents raised objections to aspects of the projects, which were seeking various approvals such as pre-zoning or annexation, and some had sent letters. A council vote could come at the June 5 meeting on all projects except Fred Corte’s property located southeast of County Road 13 and Corte Road, which was postponed at the request of the developer. Nor are the projects up for final passage, as zoning changes and planned unit development approval are still needed from the Planning and Zoning Commission and the council. The largest development is Jubilee Farms, with 914 residential lots southeast of Alabama Highway 181 and Austin Road. The developer, Bertolla Properties LLC, projects it will take 15 to 20 years to build out the subdivision that would also include trails, parks, a club and pools. Jubilee Farms is also studying traffic patterns for possible improvement as its own residents start building there. Mayor Dane Haygood said he understands why people living near the project might object to it, but added Jubilee Farms could simply choose to stay in the county. “We probably have the most stringent standards in the county,” Haygood said. On the other side the city, a property owner near the city’s residential high-rise district seeks...

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BCSS assisting Corps with Fish River survey

No, Baldwin County Sewer Service has not started running a sewer line under Fish River. The presence of BCSS personnel and equipment on the Honey Road side the river Tuesday morning alarmed residents who are trying to get the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to hold a public hearing on a BCSS proposal to put a sewer line under the river. Turns out, the BCSS equipment was there at the request of the Corps, said Jennifer Williams, spokesman for BCSS. The Corps received so many comments about the history of the area, including historical photos, that it decided an archeology survey was in order. The Corps had an archeology crew on site for the survey, but asked BCSS to provide some equipment to help clear the site, Williams said. “We’re not digging anything up,” she said. BCSS posted an explanation for the work on its Facebook page and its website. “We are not doing any work towards boring Fish River, and this does not mean that we will definitely bore the river in the future. We hope to be able to announce how those customers will be served going forward in the next two weeks,” the company said. BCSS serves just under 100 customers on the west side of Fish River through lines that connect to Fairhope’s sewer system. That arrangement is scheduled to end in July when an...

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Officials re-evaluate free health insurance in Fairhope

With the rising cost of health insurance a national issue, city of Fairhope employees still get a rare benefit: Their health insurance premiums are free. It doesn’t matter if an employee is a single person needing coverage for one or has a family. Like nearly everyone else, Fairhope employees must meet annual deductibles and co-pays. But while most employers ask their employees to pay a percentage of the premium, which is typically deducted from their paychecks, Fairhope does not. With the cost of insurance continuing to rise, city officials are taking another look. The administration of Mayor Karin Wilson...

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People living outside Fairhope take advantage of city services, mayor says

Fairhope Karin Wilson’s State of the City presentation Tuesday evening was more of a Part One. Saying she’s still working on strategies and priorities for the future and seeking feedback from others, Wilson focused on “where we’ve come from,” and “where we are.” “Where we’re going” will be the subject of a similar event in June, she said. After opening with some of the history of Fairhope dating back to 1870, Wilson said she’s looking at the number of people who live outside Fairhope’s city limits but take advantage of its amenities that are provided through the tax dollars...

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Peace breaks out at Fairhope council meeting

Mayor Karin Wilson and the Fairhope City Council on Monday night proved they can play nicely together. After months of increasingly contentious and divisive interaction that had citizens demanding the council and mayor figure out how to get along and work together, at least some of them agreed to try. On Saturday, Wilson invited City Council President Jack Burrell to lunch. Later, she had dinner with Councilman Jimmy Conyers and their respective spouses. While Conyers said they talked of everything but politics over dinner, Burrell said he and Wilson talked politics among a number of other subjects. Both councilmen thanked Wilson for the invitation. “We’ve got better things to do than have a lot of arguments,” Burrell said. A photo taken of the pair that appeared on Wilson’s Facebook page was not staged but simply taken by someone sitting near their table, he said. But while the change in tone made for a smoother, faster meeting Monday, it was not without controversy. The council approved $32,510.97 in payments to Walcott, Adams, Verneuille Architects for exterior repairs and maintenance on the Fairhope Public Library, although no paperwork could be found showing the work had been authorized. The work took place during the administration former of Mayor Tim Kant. The city received bills for the work, but current city staffers could not find evidence of a contract or any other form...

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