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 to have the district expanded south to develop an eight- or nine-story residential high-rise with parking underneath. City Councilman Joel Coleman has already objected in writing to the expansion in part because the original district has yet to see a high-rise development and because the addition encompasses some residences while potentially moving high-rises closer to residential areas to the south.
Cheryl Stovall, with WHLC Architecture in Fairhope, said being able to build “up” on the property overlooking Mobile Bay would make a residential project feasible.
Mark Gillespie, a citizen concerned about the permanent visual impact of high-rises in Daphne, objected to the idea. “I would not want Daphne to turn into Gulf Shores North,” he said.
Also preparing for a June 5 vote are annexation and pre-zoning for S. Hickory Inc. north of the Creekside subdivision.