The city of Spanish Fort is seeking to expand its corporate limits with an additional 31 parcels of land through a local legislative referendum Nov. 3. The bulk of the city’s proposed expansion will come to the north and east, with neighborhoods and rural lands along U.S. Highway 31 and State Highway 225.

The City of Spanish Fort is proposing to expand its corporate borders through a referendum Nov. 3.

The City of Spanish Fort is proposing to expand its corporate borders through a referendum Nov. 3.

The referendum will take place Nov. 3 at New Life Assembly of God, located at 10424 U.S. Highway 31 in Spanish Fort. Only those affected by the annexation will be allowed to vote, and all proposed annexation areas must approve the measure for it to pass.

Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan said the proposed annexation would affect approximately 750 rooftops, or an estimated 1,700-1,800 residents. Some of the city’s subdivisions are currently divided, where people in one home are in the city while their neighbors aren’t, he said.

The plan would bring in residents in unincorporated areas on Stagecoach Road and on the north side of Spanish Fort Estates, as well as subdivisions like Rayne Plantation, Grace Magnolias, Cambron and land on Old Highway 31. There are rural areas and farmlands included in the annexation plan, McMillan said.

“We are just trying to square up our borders,” McMillan said. “We’ve been a city for 22 years and we still have a lot of pockets that are within blocks of city buildings but aren’t in the city.”

At a town hall meeting Oct. 13, city officials told residents the benefits of annexation outweigh the 5 mill ad valorem tax, sales and business license fees. Those who live in the city limit have the benefit of protection from Spanish Fort police, McMillan said.

“That’s one of our major hurdles,” the mayor said. “When someone calls 911, they have to determine whether the caller is in the city or county. In areas where some neighbors are in and others are out, that’s a problem.”

In 2014, the city opposed the building of an apartment complex near Spanish Fort High School. The proposed site for the complex was located outside of the city’s corporate boundary and the Baldwin County Commission approved a zoning request which ultimately allowed the complex to be built. Former Commissioner Bob James was the lone “no” vote on the measure, citing concerns he had heard from Spanish Fort residents.

McMillan said if the area had been inside the city limit, the complex would likely not have been built. When areas are inside the city limit, residents are protected by the city’s zoning regulations.

“That’s a good example of why our residents need our zoning regulations,” McMillan said. “A large portion, 41 percent, of our city is multi-family housing. That’s not a good long-term strategy.”