In the five years preceding 2019, the City of Robertsdale issued 203 building permits for single-family residences. On Monday morning, the City Council gave the OK for a subdivision called Blackwater Ridge with a potential 251 new homes adjacent to the Baldwin Beach Express.
City Engineer Greg Smith said it’s a sign the growth other areas of the county are experiencing is making it to the central Baldwin city known as the hub of the county.
“I think it’s trickled down to us or up to us, whichever direction you’re coming from,” Smith said. “We want good growth to happen, not uncontrolled growth.”
Around the county, four cities — Fairhope, Foley, Daphne and Gulf Shores — are among the top five fastest-growing cities in Alabama with Fairhope at the top of the list.
Housing starts in those cities during the past five years have been huge with Fairhope having 1,569, Foley 1,144, Gulf Shores 1,063 and Daphne 909. While Robertsdale is well shy of those numbers and 10th on the county list, just ahead Bay Minette and Silverhill, Smith said there are two other subdivisions expanding and commercial growth during the past few years has been significant as well.
“The latest large one was Grove Park which is on County Road 48 South, down behind Tractor Supply,” Smith said. “That one was 158 lots. They are just finishing phase two which is about 60 lots total, so there’s about another 100 lots to develop. They haven’t even built the roads in there on the other phases.”
Currently, there are two other subdivisions in early construction stages with the installation of roads, sewer and infrastructure, Smith said.
“One of them is a smaller one with about 38 lots on West Illinois Street called Alexander Court,” he said. “And the other one is in our planning jurisdiction behind Central Baldwin Middle School on Thompson Road. It’s Cottages of Aventura Phase Three. The total that they have approval for is 100 lots.”
A recently announced commercial expansion will fit right into the plan for more single-family home subdivisions.
“Swift Supply just opened a facility here and they are projecting their initial hire will be up to 50 people for that facility,” Smith said. “They’re building roof trusses for homes, so that kind of ties in with the housing market as well.”
Blackwater Ridge, Smith said, will be more than a subdivision and housing development; the strip along the Baldwin Beach Express will be zoned for commercial. There are four phases of development planned.
“I think it’s a well thought-out development,” he said. “There are some wet areas they’ve set aside, right at 18 acres of wetlands and other areas for open space. That’s quite a bit out of the 100 acres they have out there that they are setting aside, which will not be developed into houses or commercial.”
As far as commercial growth in Robertsdale, Smith pointed to the Walmart, which spawned several businesses around it, plus additions to the industrial park and expansion at the UPS distribution center on County Road 54 in the city.
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