A commercial rezoning request on North Greeno Road is expected to go before the Fairhope City Council at its next meeting, and at least one nearby resident said its approval could spell the “destruction” of a subdivision north of Volanta Park.
Fred and Kris Hayek have asked the city to approve a plan to rezone a 3.23-acre residential property at 848 N. Greeno Road to a PUD (Planned Unit Development) to allow for the development of 27,000 square feet of commercial space with four 35-foot-high buildings and 111 parking spaces on the parcel. The property is located on the east side of Greeno Road, just north of Volanta Park.
Steve McClure, who lives in the Colonial Acres subdivision on the west side of Greeno Road directly across from the Hayek property, said allowing the change will only invite more development to the area.
“One of my main concerns is that there are six residential lots immediately across the street and those houses are a lot closer to the street than the Hayek property,” McClure said. “To me, this opens the door to the ultimate destruction of Colonial Acres, or a major encroachment. This would open the door to too much development near the neighborhood.”
McClure also said the proposal does not line up with the city’s comprehensive plan, which calls for retail developments to be part of a “village concept,” which seeks to develop smaller, pedestrian-friendly commercial areas surrounded by residential centers and connected by bike paths, sidewalks and parks.
In November 2015 the Fairhope Planning Commission voted 8-1 to recommend approval of the plan to the City Council. In April, councilors pulled the request from a meeting agenda and asked the applicants to agree to stipulations to ensure the development would not invite fast-food-style restaurants or a gas station.
Planning Director Jonathan Smith said the applicant complied with the city’s requests. The proposed development will be open to professional, retail and medical projects.
“This is not your traditional strip-style development,” Smith said. “They will build up the berm and have a very dense landscape plan. They have some very nice trees on this site and they are working toward maximum tree preservation as well.”
Smith said the comprehensive plan is a “steering document” and Fred Hayek has been working with the city for about 20 years to come up with a plan for the property. If the request is approved, the applicant will still have to present a site plan to the City Council for approval.
According to approved minutes, four people spoke in support of the plan at the November Planning Commission meeting, and none spoke in opposition. The commission recommended approval with an 8-1 vote. Jennifer Fidler cast the lone vote in opposition.
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