Friends of Fly Creek LLC has filed a complaint in Baldwin County Circuit Court against Fairhope city officials and the developer of the proposed 240-unit Retreat at Fairhope Village luxury apartment development.
The complaint filed by attorney Adam Milam alleges that the Fairhope City Council’s April 11 approval of a change to the Fly Creek PUD to allow the development will adversely affect and damage Fly Creek. The plaintiffs sent a notice of appeal to the Fairhope city clerk’s office on April 25 and the complaint demands the city submit a certified transcript of all proceedings that led to the approval.
Friends of Fly Creek LLC is an Alabama limited liability corporation with the stated goal of protecting and preserving Fly Creek. The group’s members — Laura Ann and Chip Shaw and Riley and Mitsy Murphy — live along Fly Creek downstream from the development.
Earlier this month Sea Cliff Drive resident Chip Shaw told Lagniappe the creek’s sand and debris levels have increased dramatically due to erosion caused by the development of the Shoppes at Fairhope Village in 2008. He said continued development near the creek, including construction of the apartment complex, will cause further damage to the creek.
Milam represented plaintiffs in a suit against the city over environmental damage to the creek in 2009. That case ended with a confidential settlement. On Thursday, he said the apartment development contradicts Fairhope’s 2013 proposed Fly Creek Watershed Restoration Project.
“Whether you want apartments or not in the Fairhope area is not the issue,” Milam said. “The City Council and Mayor sold out Fairhope and Baldwin County residents when they bowed to political pressure in allowing a large apartment complex, parking lot, and all the attendant runoff, erosion and sedimentation impacts right in the Fly Creek Watershed, an extremely vital watershed that they swore to protect.”
According to Milam, the complaint is the first step toward eventually repealing the ordinance which amended the original Fly Creek PUD, first adopted in 2006.
“The PUD Amendment deleted all the stormwater lakes and ponds required in the original PUD, and instead put in a large parking lot, a gabion wall structure, and four large apartment buildings right along the Fly Creek Watershed’s most vulnerable sections,” Milam said.
Jackson, Mississippi-based Leaf River Group will develop the Retreat at Fairhope Village as a 240-unit, luxury apartment complex on Fly Creek Avenue, behind the Shoppes at Fairhope Village.
In a recent press release, Leaf River Group President Stuart Speed said the development will meet the housing needs of a growing city while maintaining Fairhope’s unique architecture and “village” concept. The release said the plan allows for ample green space and a wide buffer between the complex and Fly Creek.
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