Discussions and feedback on proposals for zoning regulations in the developing Greeno Road Overlay Project are prompting Fairhope officials to consider revisions of some zoning ordinances citywide.
Back in December, former Planning Director Wayne Dyess began the process for a visual preference survey in the area, presenting pictures of possible streetscapes and how buildings should look in the Greeno Road corridor. Dyess has since left to become the Baldwin County administrator.
Interim Planning Director Buford King presented the findings at City Council and Planning Commission meetings in May and again at a June 3 Planning Commission meeting.
“What we did to get this going was we discussed this informally at the May 6 Planning Commission,” King said. “Not an item on the agenda, just a matter for discussion to tell the public this is coming, and writing and putting together the first draft. We introduced it to the public on June 3. That first raw document was published as part of that meeting’s agenda.”
King said it was obvious immediately some revision would be needed.
“The big differences between the first draft and this first revision are that I was trying to keep everything inside an overlay district and I realized very quickly that was not reasonable,” King said. “I’m actually going back and revising parts of the zoning ordinance that will apply to the entire city. The overlay will just basically limit and restrict certain kinds of uses.”
The portions being rewritten include those regulating lighting and requirements for convenience stores and service stations, King said. Several residents were able to take the visual preference survey and pick out photos of things they’d like to see the corridor incorporate in any plans.
“I think the citizens were very, very clear since they had pictures to look at,” King said. “The stand-alone, single-use retail buildings received a lot of negative comments.”
The survey presented options to residents based on how other Baldwin County cities have developed retail corridors.
“You had the traditional big building with the traditional parking lot out in front of it out on the right of way,” King said. “In general, the citizens prefer the building closer to the right of way with parking behind the building. A lot of the other visual preference survey photos and results really supported that.”
Residents also said they’d like to see better landscaping regulations and have signs for the businesses along the road toned down.
King is busy on the revision of the proposal and will present it to the Fairhope Planning Commission on July 1. He’s not expecting them to act on it but to take it under advisement, give it closer scrutiny and take it up again in the August meeting.
In other action on Greeno Road, the City Council on June 10 authorized Mayor Karin Wilson to work with the state on maintenance and operation of traffic lights at eight intersections in the Greeno Road corridor. The resolution said the state would bill the city for the costs.
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