Stapleton residents want landmark district protections

Area's senator says legislation has 'dangers'

By Guy Busby
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 5/18/22

STAPLETON — With cities expanding on three sides, Stapleton residents said they are continuing efforts to protect the identity of their unincorporated community.

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Stapleton residents want landmark district protections

Area's senator says legislation has 'dangers'

Posted

STAPLETON — With cities expanding on three sides, Stapleton residents said they are continuing efforts to protect the identity of their unincorporated community.

At a community meeting Tuesday, May 10, residents said they were disappointed that a legislative bill to create a landmark district failed in the last session of the Alabama Legislature. One member of the Baldwin County Legislative Delegation said, however, that he would not allow bills to annex Stapleton property where the owners did not want to be brought into a municipality.

Hugh Harris, an organizer of the landmark district effort, said he and other residents have been working for about two years to get a bill passed that would protect Stapleton.

"Our landmark district that we had sent up to the state for them to approve," Harris said. "We were getting all geared up to start marketing to get this thing voted on in November. We were going to make it happen. We were all excited."

One legislator, however, did not support the proposal, killing the effort, Harris said. He said Sen. Greg Albritton, whose Senate district includes Stapleton, would not approve the plan.

"It really took us for a flip because precedent had already been set," Harris said. "Barnwell, he had signed off on. Rosinton, he had signed off on to move. This was a non-issue that we didn't expect. That's kind of where we are now. We were not expecting this at all."

Albritton was not at the Stapleton meeting. He said Wednesday that he had not been invited to the event or approached by residents to discuss a landmark district. Albritton said each landmark district is different and he did not think the Stapleton plan was a good idea.

"They never talked to me prior to this either, so I don't know that there's any healing in that regard right now," Albritton said. "I'm working with White House. We're making progress there. But landmark district is a made-up entity that has more dangers than good to it."

He said liability was one concern about creating a Stapleton landmark district. Speaking before the announcement of plans to build a plant in Bay Minette that would bring 1,000 jobs to the area near Stapleton, he said another was restricting growth.

"With this coming in, and you want to restrict cities and county growth," Albritton said. "Is that what they're trying to do?"

Sen. Chris Elliott, whose district includes other areas of Baldwin County, told the Stapleton meeting audience that a landmark district would not allow any surrounding cities, Bay Minette, Spanish Fort and Loxley, to annex parts of the district where property owners did not want to join the municipality.

He said the district designation would also be legislative action to establish Stapleton's identity as a community.

"It plants a flag and says we're here," Elliott said. "Our county is growing so fast that we are losing our small towns, our small communities I should say and they're losing their identity as our large municipalities grow and these places matter and the history of these places matter. It's who we are and how we got here."

Elliott said, however, that any local legislative bill to annex property requires the approval of all senators and representatives in the Baldwin County delegation. He said he would not support an effort to annex Stapleton without the consent of property owners.

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