Confusion over what could happen and what may happen over the Seaglade at St. Andrews Bay project caused the Baldwin County Commission to postpone a vote on the Fort Morgan subdivision.
“We’re not saying yes or no on the project,” Commissioner Joe Davis said. “We’re talking about getting the information assimilated where everybody has the same facts. The fact that we are doing this does not mean we’re not going to do the project. It just means we need to have it done with all the facts shared by everybody.”
Commissioner Bobbie Jo Underwood moved to postpone a vote on the planned residential development until the May 7 meeting and Commissioner Jeb Ball suggested another discussion on the plan in a work session prior to the meeting, possibly April 9.
The applicant was asking to join two parcels at the corner of Fort Morgan Road and Triple Tail Lane to build a 27-lot subdivision.
“I think it’s very relevant to postpone, but not wait until just two days before and start talking about it again,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of homework that needs to be done by all of us to make sure the facts get out as they currently are.”
Adding to the confusion, Underwood said, was County Attorney David Conner’s recusal because of a conflict of interest in representing developers for Seaglade in other matters. Shawn Alves of Stone Crosby was the county’s legal adviser on the project.
“I have questions for legal staff that I wasn’t able to get answered, so I was inclined that we table this application,” Underwood said. “I have lots of concerns, and mainly from reading the minutes of the planning commission. I have concerns about the tone that was in this. Some people were asking questions about … they felt there was misinformation from this meeting to that meeting.”
Resident Jamie Strategier, who owns a home with husband Greg near the proposed project, said she and other residents felt threatened at a Jan. 30 meeting of the Fort Morgan Zoning and Planning Advisory Committee. The panel has no decision-making power, but makes recommendations regarding planning in District 25.
She said one of the developers told her at the meeting the parcel was zoned for 37 lots, but he was only asking for 27.
“It seems like it was kind of a scare tactic that if I don’t get my 27, then I’m going to build 37,” Strategier said. “A lot of the residents left there very discouraged once again, with the wrong information and not getting clarification on whether or not they could build 27 or 37.”
According to County Planner Vince Jackson, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, citing concerns over beach mouse habitat, has already decreed only 17 lots could be placed on the western parcel even though county zoning allows as much as 37.
“They are still proposing 17 lots,” Jackson said. “Given the acreage and minimum lot sizes you can have under RSF-4, the maximum density you could have on that parcel would be 37 units.”
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