County postpones land-use plan meetings

Officials cite COVID-19 concerns in postponing public discussions


BAY MINETTE – Baldwin County officials are moving forward with plans to develop plans for dealing with growth and land use, but a series of public meetings scheduled for January has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

“Out of an abundance of caution for citizens and due to concerns expressed by consultants facilitating the public input sessions, the decision has been made to postpone the public input sessions,” a county statement said.

The meetings had been scheduled for Jan. 24 and 25.

County officials had planned the meetings to allow residents to learn about land use and growth management in zoned areas of Baldwin County, Wayne Dyess, county administrator, said before the discussions were postponed.

“It’s not zoning. It’s only for zoned areas,” Dyess said. “We’re going to try to get that message out there. This is just a blueprint for those areas that have zoning, that voted for zoning about how to proceed in the future. Every business in this country should have a strategic plan for how they conduct their business. This is how we are going to conduct our zoning business.”

“This has zero effect on unzoned areas. Now, when you zone, it will become a blueprint and a guide for us,” Dyess added.

Matthew Brown, county planning director, said a comprehensive plan would help officials determine what use would be suited to property.

“It’s just one tool to help us make these decisions about rezonings in areas that are already zoned,” Brown said. “So, this is just part of the natural update process for this.”

Baldwin County’s population grew by about 27 percent between 2010 and 2020, the biggest increase in Alabama, according to census reports. Dyess said many people moving into the area expect communities to have a plan for land use.

“A lot of people moving here are moving from places with zoning and planning and when you say ‘unzoned,’ it’s like ‘what? what does that mean?’ They assume that these things are in place,” Dyess said. “So, I think the balance has kind of shifted a little bit in the county where the people who are moving into these neighborhoods expect these things.”

This process is intended to provide public input as Baldwin County prepares strategies to address future growth within the county, according to a county statement.

“Baldwin County continues to work closely with the Alabama Department of Public Health to and is monitoring the trajectory of the latest COVID peak to determine the best time to reschedule these meetings,” a county statement released Friday, Jan. 14, said.

The commission is also conducting a survey to learn public opinions. The survey can be taken at

Anyone wanting more information on the long-range land use planning process can go to the county website at