A proposed ordinance that would require new properties and developments to annex into the City of Fairhope for city water service has been tabled indefinitely. During the Sept. 25 regular city …
A proposed ordinance that would require new properties and developments to annex into the City of Fairhope for city water service has been tabled indefinitely.
During the Sept. 25 regular city council meeting, Fairhope City Council was set to consider the final adoption of the ordinance that had been tabled at two previous meetings due to questions council had that had not yet been answered.
The ordinance was discussed at length during the Aug. 29 work session and was first introduced during the Aug. 29 regular council meeting. Mayor Sherry Sullivan told council this type of annexation requirement is common practice in other municipalities throughout the state but is not something Fairhope had ever done.
"People building outside the city limits, to be honest, has always been a way for them to bypass impact fees, the thing we use for police, fire, parks and those type of things," Sullivan said during the Aug. 29 work session.
A single-family residence's total impact fee is $5,830 per housing unit. The fees are used to pay for resident services like fire, police, parks and recreation and transportation but not maintenance of the public utilities systems.
The ordinance would require anyone wishing to connect to the Fairhope water system to annex their parcel into the city before the planning process begins. The parcel must be contiguous.
Council seemed to get hung up on properties that are not contiguous to city property and the possibility that a competing water utility could cross over into the Fairhope Water territory and start selling water.
During the Aug. 29 work session, Planning Director Hunter Simmons told council, "We need to protect our territory."
All the members of the council agreed that the city's territory needs to be protected and that property that touches existing city of Fairhope property doesn't seem to be a concern. Council focused on the properties that are non-contiguous and far from other water providers, like southeast Fairhope.
"Is there any law that says that somebody else can provide them water? Can they cross our water lines by two to three miles?" Burrell asked.
Sullivan said that was an issue she would have to investigate.
Council tabled the ordinance Aug. 29 and again Sept. 11. During the Sept. 25 regular council meeting, Council President Jay Robinson said changes have yet to be made and suggested the ordinance be postponed indefinitely.
Councilman Corey Martin said council needs to be better about getting questions to the proper people sooner and made a motion to postpone.
Councilman Jack Burrell seconded the motion. Council voted unanimously to indefinitely table to ordinance.
The next city council meeting is Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. The work session begins at 4:30 p.m.