Fairhope council tables annexation requests over water usage

Lifestyle Editor
Posted 9/19/23

The City of Fairhope and city council have been working to bolster its water system in various ways this summer. A proposed ordinance pertaining to new properties and developments outside of Fairhope …

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Fairhope council tables annexation requests over water usage


The City of Fairhope and city council have been working to bolster its water system in various ways this summer. A proposed ordinance pertaining to new properties and developments outside of Fairhope city limits has been tabled for a second time.

The ordinance, which was presented at the Sept. 11 regular city council meeting, was a proposal for the city to annex property outside current city limits into the city so the properties could use the city's water system.

The ordinance was first introduced during Aug. 29 and was discussed at length during the Aug. 29 work session.

"This is common practice in other municipalities throughout the state and probably throughout the country and something Fairhope has never done," Fairhope Mayor Sherry Sullivan said. "People building outside the city limits, to be honest, has always been a way for them to bypass impact fees the things we use for police, fire parks and those type of things."

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.

The new 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.

The part of the ordinance the city council seemed to get hung up on was properties that are not contiguous to city property.

"If they are not contiguous, there will be some decisions that we need to discuss in the ordinance like where they are in the process of planning to decide if we are going to consider them for water service or not," Sullivan said.

City Council President Jay Robinson asked Sullivan if someone denied water service could seek service through another provider.

"Or put in a well, but there is not another water provider that would service them more than likely," Sullivan said.

Councilperson Jack Burrell asked if the three new developments around Hwy. 181 and Hwy. 104 were annexed into the city. Sullivan and Planning Director Hunter Simmons said two of the three did. The development that did not is the Rockwell development.

"If we said you annex or we won't provide you water, there is another water provider right there," Burrell said about the developments on Hwy. 181 and Hwy 104. "So, the question is, I know we have a short-term issue right now and it is short-term, I want to stress that, are we cutting our own throat because we are in the business of water? We are in the business of selling utilities as well. If we allow them to come over into our territory and start selling water what does that do to our territory?"

Planning Director Hunter Simmons said, "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. The 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.

The council agreed some questions still needed to be answered, and they dismissed the work session to go into executive session.

The ordinance was on the Aug. 29 regular city council meeting agenda. Due to the lack of a motion for immediate consideration, the ordinance carried over to the Sept. 11 regular city council meeting.

Robinson said he did not feel all their question had been answered between meetings and recommended the ordinance be tabled again.

Councilperson Corey Martin agreed and made a motion to table. Burrell seconded the motion. The motion to table was unanimously passed. The item will appear on the agenda when the council feels they have their questions answered.