Council approves rezoning for 251-unit PUD


ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Amidst concerns from adjacent property owners, the Robertsdale City Council voted during its Monday, April 15 meeting to approve rezoning for a 251-unit planned unit development (PUD) which, if approved, would be located off of County Road 52 near the Baldwin Beach Express.

During a public hearing held at the beginning of the Monday morning meeting, residents expressed concerns about the development.

“My concern is that they are going to come in here and get approval for this development, start building with certain specifications, then at some point lower their construction standards without anyone monitoring them to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said one adjacent property owner, Leland Baggett. “It’s happened before in Gulf Shores and I just want to make sure that’s not something that happens here. I don’t want to have to fight this, but I will if I have to.”

The property, owned by Medstate LLC of Mandeville, Louisiana, includes just over 106 acres and is being developed by Lonesome Development LLC, also based in Mandeville. No one representing the developer or the property’s owner was present at the April 15 public hearing.

If approved the development would include just over 70 acres of residential development, along with just under 17 acres of commercial development, with a little over 17 acres of open space and two acres of public space.

None of the residential property faces the Baldwin Beach Express. The development includes a 17.43-acre outparcel, previously zoned B-2, that includes 16.71 acres for commercial development with frontage on the beach highway.

City officials assured property owners that Monday’s action was just to rezone the property. Any further development would have to come before the city’s Planning Board for recommendation of approval by the city council.

“Normally we wouldn’t require this amount of detail, but this is a requirement under federal PUD guidelines,” said City Engineer Greg Smith.

Under the guidelines, the developer is required to provide a full site plan and data table; typical lot matrix which shows the sizes of all lots in the planned subdivision; a tentative phase plan and design standards.

During the April 15 meeting, the council unanimously approved rezoning of the property to PUD, planned unit development. Previously the property fell into multiple zones, including B-2, general business, R-1B, single-family residential; RGP, residential garden patio; and RTH, residential townhomes.

Residential lots range in size from 50-foot by 125-foot lots to 80-foot by 130-foot lots, or an average lot size of 8,015 square feet.

In an analysis of the property, prepared by Smith, he spelled out some concerns that needed to be addressed as the approval process moves forward, including the request that building setbacks be approved on residents lots of 15-feet for front (20-foot for garage homes), 20-foot rear and 5-foot side with setbacks for commercial lots of 35-foot front, 10-foot rear (20 feet if abutting residential) and no setback for side (20 feet if abutting residential).

“It is recommended that a 50-foot setback be provided along the frontage on the Baldwin Beach Express,” Smith wrote.

Concern was also expressed in the report that the developer is asking for a reduced roadway width from 24 feet to 21 feet with a two-food side curb/gutter.

“One the past two PUD approvals, 22-foot-wide streets have been required,” Smith wrote.

He also expressed concerns that a roadway connection to the Baldwin Beach Express is shown as encroaching on the property to the north.

“We have no documentation that this property has consented to this road construction,” Smith wrote. “This connection to the Baldwin Beach Express will have to be permitted through the Baldwin County Highway Department.” Adding that turn lanes and/or deceleration lanes may be required.

The next step would be to gain preliminary plat approval for Phase I of the project, which would include the 59 lots closest to County Road 52 with an entrance/exit from the highway. Phase 2 would include an addition 60 lots, including a second entrance/exit to the Baldwin Beach Express. The entrance/exit would be extended with Phase 3, an additional 66 lots, while Phase 4 would also include an additional 66 lots.

A time table of when the steps would be completed was not discussed at the April 15 meeting.

In other business April 15, Public Works Director Scott Gilbert addressed the council about the “Call Before You Dig” program for the city’s gas system.

According to information provided by the Public Works Department, anyone working on or near where there could potentially be underground utilities, whether they are a contractor, home or property owner, building, landscape service, fence contractor or anyone digging into the ground’s surface is required by law to give at least a two-day notice before a digging project can begin.

You can call the Alabama Underground Damage Prevention hotline, 811, visit the online website, or download the app from Google Play or the App Store.

Local utility companies will then be notified and have 48 hours to locate underground utility lines before digging can begin.

“Each utility company has its own employee who is responsible for locating the underground lines,” Gilbert said. “We are responsible for locating our underground lines, Baldwin EMC is responsible for theirs, Riviera Utilities for theirs and so on.”

Other action April 15 included:

•Approved the purchase of advertising for the Robertsdale High School Football Media Guide.

•Approved resurfacing for Ridgewood Drive in the Ridgewood Place subdivision.

•Voted to surplus three trucks and a ballfield drag for the Public Works Department.

•Approved a recommendation for ABC license approval for Buster’s Southern Pit BBQ.

•Voted to change the May 6 meeting date to Friday, May 3 and changed the start time from 6 p.m. for the regular meeting to 8 a.m. The 5 p.m. work session normally scheduled for the first Monday of the month has been canceled.

•Presented information on the “Back to School” sales tax holiday, which is July 19-21.