The Baldwin County Commission will hold a public hearing at its March 1 meeting in Bay Minette to get input from the public on a proposed zoning designation intended to serve as a transition between the county’s B-1 and B-2 business designations.
At its work session on Tuesday in Robertsdale, the Commission heard from Planning Director Vince Jackson who said the proposed zoning, called the Limited Business District, would be more restrictive than the B-2 neighborhood business district but allow more than its B-1 professional business district.
“This came about due to a need we’ve had where people want to do small, limited commercial activities but we could only offer a zoning designation that opens the door to other, less desirable allowances for locations near residential areas,” Jackson said.
Currently, B-2 allows for a wide range of commercial options like antique stores, art galleries, retail bakeries, bed and breakfast, cafe, bookstore or neighborhood convenience store to a night club, amusement arcade or a liquor store. The county’s B-1 district is more restrictive, allowing banks, barber shops, child care centers, churches, libraries and scientific, medical or dental laboratories and offices.
In recent zoning debates, concerns have been raised about proposals in places like Malbis and Point Clear, where some residents feared rezoning requests permitting neighborhood businesses would open the door for nightclubs and liquor stores near residential areas in the future.
The new designation would allow for some uses already included in both B-1 and B-2 districts, but will not include nightclubs or liquor stores.
“There have been a lot of people pushing for this for some time,” Commissioner Chris Elliott said. “I think it will be a good fit and will give us more tools in our toolbox to accommodate what some business people want but also ease the concerns from nearby residents.”
The Planning Commission considered the zoning proposal at its Feb. 4 meeting and unanimously recommended approval to the County Commission.
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