The Spanish Fort City Council approved two revisions to the city’s zoning ordinance Monday night. One of the changes will allow the construction of structures of up to 70 feet in certain areas including the Eastern Shore Centre and the Spanish …
The Spanish Fort City Council approved two revisions to the city’s zoning ordinance Monday night. One of the changes will allow the construction of structures of up to 70 feet in certain areas including the Eastern Shore Centre and the Spanish Fort Town Center, which is under construction at the intersection of I-10 and Highway 98.
The zoning revision did not affect the height limitations currently in force on the Causeway. Structures located in that area will have to remain under 40 feet.
The limitation will not provide the owners of the Las Brisas on the Bay Hotel any hopes of reopening the six-story structure. The pink hotel, located near the intersection of I-10 and Battleship Parkway, was extensively damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The owner of the hotel has asked the council to grandfather the facility into the code, since the hotel was in operation prior to Spanish Fort taking control of the area in 2002. The hotel cannot reopen without the stipulation because it exceeds the city’s height limitation.
Another revision to the ordinance would create a new category called P.C. That category, according to City Attorney David Conner, would force certain zoning issues to include another step for approval.
“Some businesses may come to the city that might require additional infrastructure, or might emit fumes or need a lot of lights that might concern the surrounding properties,” Conner said. “So we want to have a little additional heightened review.”
That additional review would require the planning commission’s site plan and a second approval from the city council.
During Monday night's meeting, the Council attempted to tackle a growing concern over the open burning of debris. The council held a public hearing to allow citizens a chance to voice their opinions on the proposed ordinance. However, no one took advantage of the opportunity.
Mayor Joe Bonner suggested the council allow citizens another opportunity to speak at the next council meeting on April 16. The proposed ordinance would stop the open burning of debris such as leaves, tree limbs and bushes without a permit from the city.
Conner said the permit, if it is approved, would stipulate precautions are made that would protect the surrounding property.
“There are exceptions to the ordinance,” Conner said. “You will be allowed to continue to use outdoor barbeque pits, grills and other devices for personal use. But they can not be used to burn garbage, debris and plastics.”
Another exception to the proposal would allow for certain required burning for agriculture and safety. The ordinance also would include a provision that would allow the mayor, along with the fire chief, to declare a burn ban in the city should weather conditions or other factors warrant the move.
The city is also eyeing a way to deal with another type of nuisance, noise inside the city limits. Bonner announced the city would hold public hearings in the near future concerning an ordinance that would deal with the growing issue.
Police Chief David Edgar said the issue is not a rampant problem, but it is something facing many municipalities. He said, “The council is attempting to address the problem created by a small portion of the population that is inconveniencing the larger portion of the population.”
The proposed ordinance would target individuals who allow noise from gatherings and cars to reach an annoying level. Edgar said, “We have always gone to the person and asked them to be considerate of their neighbors and to turn it down. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. This proposed ordinance would actually put some enforcement and some teeth behind us. It would give us a little more resources to deal with the situation.”
The city also welcomed a new officer to the police force. Jason Price most recently was a member of the Bay Minette Police Department. He was sworn to duty by Judge James Roberts as Price’s wife and three of his four children watched.