Spanish Fort seeks annexation legislation for businesses on US 31

SPANISH FORT – City officials will be contacting commercial property owners along US 31 and Jimmy Faulkner Drive in an effort to annex business sites into Spanish Fort through a local legislative act. The city is asking the Baldwin County legislative delegation for a bill during the 2021 session to annex areas near the corporate limits. Mayor Mike McMillan said at a Feb. 15 City Council work session that Sen. Chris Elliott, R-District 32, who represents the district that includes Spanish Fort, asked city officials to discuss the proposal with the affected property owners before the bill is introduced. “We're talking about annexing property up and down 31 and Jimmy Faulkner, not residential areas but the business areas,” McMillan told council members. “That's something the council has discussed. We put that in map form and I've met with several of the property owners. Sen. Elliott had some concerns, because he would be our sponsor on the Senate up there.” McMillan said he has met with several property owners, but council members need to approach other owners. “The senator would like for us to cover and meet with every business that is affected and I can't get it all done in time,” McMillan said. He asked members of the City Council to meet with property owners in the areas proposed for annexation to discuss the upcoming bill and ask if they objected to the plan. David Conner, city attorney, said Spanish Fort officials need to confirm which sites are to be included in the annexation bill before the proposal is advertised. He said that if the bill is changed after advertising begins, the four-week public notice period must begin again. “That's something that we need to do as soon as possible because we decided not to advertise once this issue came up because you need to advertise a bill without changes,” Conner said. “We don't want to introduce it and then have to start over with the advertising.” The bill calls for 16 parcels to be annexed into the city after the bill passes and is signed into law. The act would have to be completed, advertised and passed by both houses of the Legislature before the session ends. The 2021 term began Feb. 2 and will end no later than mid-May. By law, the session must be completed within 105 calendar days after the start of the term.