Subdivisions are sprouting all over Baldwin County, the fastest growing county of 67 in the state, and the city of Robertsdale is no exception. In 2019 alone, the city issued 351 building permits, and before the year was out 80 new homes were completed.
“This is a 25 percent increase from the prior four-year average for the number of new homes finished,” City Engineer Greg Smith said. “The total construction value of all permitted construction for this year was $23.6 million. These permits range from small things such as an electrical service change out, A/C replacements, re-roofs and minor additions, all the way up to large commercial construction such as the new E-911 facility on McAuliffe Drive.”
To start off 2020, another subdivision with nearly 100 lots was approved in a planned unit development at the intersection of County Roads 71 and 48 in the Grove Parc subdivision. Phases one and two were completed in the past few years and it now contains almost 60 new homes.
“Grove Parc was actually conceived and began back before the bust in 2008,” Smith said. “They pulled the plug on it in mid-construction and it sat for about 10 years and I think a bank ended up with it. A developer bought it and started back developing it. It was kind of on-again, off-again.”
It was revived in November 2014 and construction resumed in 2015. Developers are asking for a new planned unit development (PUD) for the last two phases because of changes in zoning regulations.
“That was permission for just phase one and then they came back and did a master plan and created a PUD during phase two that included … the remaining property,” Smith said. “They kind of changed directions with it the way they approached with the zoning and all.”
The city asked the developers to include deceleration lanes on both County Roads 71 and 48, a landscape buffer along County Road 71 and more pedestrian connections within the subdivision.
“For larger developments, you’re looking to do traffic studies and possibly have to do turn lanes or other improvements that would be warranted so that the existing roadways’ capacity is not reduced or mess up other traffic patterns,” Smith said.
Several other subdivisions are sprouting up around Robertsdale or have been approved by city officials. Smith said the largest of these, Blackwater Ridge, adjacent to the Baldwin Beach Express, was approved in April for 251 homes, as well as some mixed-use commercial areas.
“They seem like they are still wanting to move forward with it,” Smith said. “We met with one of the development partners and the engineer back in November, so it seems like they are getting themselves in some position to move forward with it.”
Construction of homes in Alexander Court on West Illinois Street is well underway and is planned for a total of 38 houses in the development. Cottages of Aventura is also underway near the middle school and contains 100 new lots.
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