Gulf Shores will consider dropping speed limit from 45 to 35 mph. on East Beach Boulevard
By John Mullen
Gary Ellis, developer of Marsh Landing mobile food vendor court on Alabama 59, says he definitely wants to have a full-service bar at his new development.
But first, he wants to get the court up and running for the 2018 summer season. He is asking the city to allow him to delay building of permanent bathrooms and an open-air bar so the court can open as soon as possible.
But it means his alcohol sales will take a hit.
“It’s our understanding to have a full-service bar you do have to have a permanent facility,” Ellis said. “However, there is a license that will allow you to sell beer and wine only without a permanent facility in place. That’s something we’re currently exploring just for the first season.”
Also, during Monday’s meeting, the city council was asked to pass an ordinance to formally ask the Alabama Department of Transportation to consider lowering the speed on a stretch of East Beach Boulevard from 35 to 45 mph. City Planner Andy Bauer said since this was the first mobile vendor court approved by the city and Ellis was asking for significant changes Bauer wanted it to go before the planning commission and council again.
“Since this is the first one the council has ever approved we felt like any deviation from the approved plan should be reviewed again,” Bauer said. “Planning Commission approved this at its January meeting.”
But it didn’t come without conditions.
“Staff recommends approval of the phasing plan on the condition within one year of the phase-in plan approval the applicant shall obtain a building permit and commence construction on a permanent facility,” Bauer said.
Ellis said having a bar on the site is vital to the success of the project so he is motivated to get the permanent structure going.
“We have no intention of foregoing the building of a permanent facility whatsoever,” Ellis said. “It’s actually critical to the revenue stream of the overall project. It would significantly impact the project as a whole to leave that component out of it. So, there’s full intention to build that facility we just don’t have the time due to environmental permitting to get that done and get that facility constructed prior to the season.”
The bathroom facility will be a temporary trailer but will be connected to city sewerage and have a grinder pump on site as well. Construction of a kayak launch on the southeast side of the development will also be delayed.
Palms & Slower Speed Limit on Bch. Rd.
Palm trees may be coming to the new median system in Gulf Shores and dropping the speed limit to 35 mph will help bring about this new look, according to Public Works Director Mark Acreman said
“What this also does for us besides create a safer environment for all the people in this area it also gives us a lot more flexibility on what we can do with the landscaping in that center median,” Acreman said. “A drop in the speed limit to 35 mph creates an urbanized street which will allow for vertical landscaping in the median such as palm trees.
“This does open the door for something pretty unique, not only for this segment but also for the entire two miles we’re going our beach improvement project on. This does create some incredible opportunities to completely change the experience down there from an aesthetic standpoint as well as a safety standpoint.”
Currently, the speed limit on Beach Boulevard is 35 mph as far east as East Third Street. But from there to the state park it increases to 45 mph. Acreman said he has been working with the state to get the lower limit in place and needs the city council ordinance to present to officials in Montgomery.
“We asked ALDOT to evaluate this section of road to see if it even qualified for a speed reduction before I even brought this to you,” Acreman said. “They did a speed study that does support the request. So, we’ve already made that initial step. Once Montgomery approves that ordinance we’ll be able to lower that speed limit.”
In other business the council:
• Approved a change in the leaseholder for a hangar at the airport from McInnis Company to M&B Holdings owned by Andy Yarbrough. The hanger will house a jet and an adjoining building will be used for paint and upholstery work.
• Considered granting a franchise to Pelican Pete Party Rentals for the operation of a 14-passenger limousine to expand their services to include wedding transportation. The company has operated in the city since 2011 renting inflatables for parties.
• OK’d an agreement with Gulf State Park to provide two lifeguards for a two-mile stretch of beach from the Saltwater Pavilion to just west of the state park pier. The park will pay up to $20,000 for the city to provide stands, two lifeguards and vehicles for the beach. Orange Beach previously provided the service.
• Agreed to an increase of court fees of $14 for a traffic citation and $60 for a misdemeanor charge in municipal court. This would make total court costs for a traffic citation to $210 and up misdemeanor basic court costs to $310. This is the first increase since July of 2009.
• Was asked to consider rezoning 38 acres on the south side of Fort Morgan Road between Middle Brigadoon Trail and West Brigadoon Trail to higher density zoning to allow for development of a 79-home subdivision called Oak Alley. The subdivision was first approved in 2005 but the planned unit development first issued by the city expired in 2008.
• Was asked to consider a conditional use permit to allow for the building of an assisted living facility on the south side of Cotton Creek Drive west of Sweetwater Condominiums. There are 109 units and 11 cottages planned in the development for a total of 120 units.
• Authorized the mayor to enter into a law enforcement agreement with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office to hire officers from the department to work in Gulf Shores during spring break and the Hangout Music Festival.
• Accepted a bid of about $4,400 from East Bay Engraving for youth sports uniforms for the recreation department for the 2018 sports seasons including baseball, softball, basketball, cheerleading, football and soccer.
• OK’d an assembly permit for the LA Fleet Feet Sweetheart Run and Sea Turtle Half Marathon on Feb. 17 with the start and finish at the Hangout. Most of the course is on beach road between the Hangout and Laguna Key.
• Held public hearings on two liquor license applications, one for Habaneros Mexican Restaurant which is replacing the Santa Fe restaurant in a strip mall at East Second Street and 22nd Avenue. The second was for the transfer of a liquor license at Blalock Seafood to the new owner, Alexander J. Keizer.
• Appointed Luke Roberson to finish out the term of Andrew McKinney on the Public Education Building Authority board through March of 2022.McKinney no longer resides in Gulf Shores and resigned his seat.