Orange Beach, Alabama.By John Mullen

January 12, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL – (OBA®) – A zoning glitch is causing some confusion for residential properties located in areas of Orange Beach zoned as general business.

“We had some concerns from the when we created nonconforming entities and by creating those nonconformities there were some tentative sales of properties and FHA financing would not go through because they could not get appraisals for a nonconforming property,” Mayor Tony Kennon said. “It was something that was an unintended consequence.”

Jennifer Foutch, the governmental affairs director of the Baldwin County Board of Realtors questioned the 120-day moratorium the city is expected to vote on Jan. 21. It will stop the issuance of residential permits in any general business zoning in the city. After the meeting, she said the move would be a good one for property owners.

“Creation of non-conformities are concerning from a property rights perspective due to the potential for difficulties in selling and financing such properties,” Foutch said. “We appreciate the City taking those concerns into account with the repeal of the ordinance, and their efforts to protect property owners as they move forward.”

Kennon said during the moratorium, city officials will be crafting a new ordinance to head off any future problems with residential building areas zoned for general business.

“We what decided to do is rescind it and maintain a moratorium until we figure out a way to accomplish what we want to accomplish with a residential PUD,” Kennon said. “But at the same time not creating nonconformities or eliminating nonconformities so it doesn’t create an issue with people selling their property. Most of that was on the beach. We’re evaluating that and that’s what it’s about.”

During the regular session, the council:

  • Approved spending about $135,000 for the bell and top of the bell tower at Orange Beach High School and Middle School. The digital bell itself will cost about $44,000 and building the top half of the tower will cost about $91,000.
  • Approved of a liquor license application for Carver's Steakhouse which is going into the old Gilbey’s Seafood and Steaks location in the Publix shopping center. It is owned by KOL which also owns Chronic Tacos, Hurricanes Wings, Rotolo’s Pizza and the Angry Crab in the same shopping center.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of a vehicle for the fire department from state bid in the amount of $32,222.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of a tractor for the Coastal Resources Department through Sourcewell in the amount of $49,902.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing the sole source purchase of skid steer attachments for the Coastal Resources Department in the amount of $24,641.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of cancer insurance for Orange Beach Firefighters based on a recent act passed by the Alabama Legislature.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of stop-loss insurance for the City of Orange Beach.
  • Postponed a vote on a resolution awarding the bid for Public Works building electrical and plumbing work.
  • Passed a resolution appropriating funds to the Alabama Trails Commission for the 2020 Alabama Recreational Trails Conference in the amount of $1,000. The meeting will be on Feb. 5 at the Gulf State Park Lodge.

During the work session, the council discussed:

  • A review of architectural elevations for Tom Thumb at The Wharf. Kennon said he would meet with architects to make sure the new building had a coastal feel.
  • Setting a public hearing date to appeal the decision of the Planning Commission regarding the McCarron parking lot addition at McCarron Insurance west of Big Mike’s Steakhouse on Canal Road.
  • Removal of aging trees in the city cemetery and possibly replanting and reworking landscaping. Councilwoman Annette Mitchell, a member of the Orange Beach Garden Club, said the club would be willing to help with the project.
  • Sponsorship of Marjan “Jane Trash” Versschraegen, Coastal Resources Beach Ambassador, in worldwide expedition and study of ocean plastics.
  • A resolution authorizing execution of a performance contract with Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a voluntary cooperation agreement with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
  • A resolution updating the list of volunteer firefighters and reserve police officers covered under workers' compensation insurance.
  • A resolution authorizing execution of an intergovernmental agreement with Baldwin County for maintenance of Navy Road.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a service agreement with Harbor Communications to connect fiber to the Orange Beach Sportsplex in an amount not to exceed $28,000.
  • Setting public hearing dates Ocean Edge planned unit development, a change in the rules for metal siding for mini-warehouse buildings and for a vehicle showroom for JG Concepts at the corner of Canal Road and Easy Street. The suggested date for all three was Feb. 4.