Orange Beach considers buying 24 acres near the failed Bama Bayou project
City to ask toll bridge for access point on Brown Lane or a road that loops under the bridge going west
By John Mullen
Orange Beach is looking to buy land near the failed Bama Bayou project and is asking the Baldwin County Bridge Company for an access point on Brown Lane or the road that loops under the bridge and heads toward Gulf Shores.
The city already owns two lots in the general area but would need access from a parcel owned by the bridge company to the additional land north of the lots the city currently owns.
“(Orange Beach) is contemplating acquiring certain real property north of the city lots, consisting of approximately 24.7 acres … and desires to have an access point onto Lot 5 (owned by the bridge company), so that vehicular traffic can go to and from the City Lots and the additional city property,” a proposed resolution on the May 16 regular session agenda states. “BCBC has agreed to grant the City an access point to Lot 5 onto Brown Lane, together with certain access easement rights with respect to Lot 5.”
The city council held a joint regular/work session in council chambers at city hall on May 16 starting at 5 p.m.
After languishing for years in lawsuits, the property where Bama Bayou developers hoped to build a mixed-use project with a dolphin attraction was bought by the owners of The Wharf. First, the owners bought 86 acres attached to the Bama Bayou project to the north, but the lot with the buildings was still owned by Southeast Property Holdings.
More recently, The Wharf ownership also acquired the parcel with the abandoned buildings and announced plans to demolish them and put a new project in its place. No details of what is planned have been made public.
A public hearing and vote on a resolution to authorize transactions between the city and The Wharf Landing was originally part of the May 16 agenda, but it has been postponed until June 6.
At the time of the August purchase, Mayor Tony Kennon said he was pleased with the sale and announced the city and The Wharf would work together to develop a plan for the property.
“There are 80-something acres that were purchased by The Wharf, 47 are dry, the rest are wet,” Kennon said. “We’re going to try to work with them on some type of public-private partnership.”
During the regular session, council discussed:
• Awarding the bid for Fire Station No. 1 roof repairs to Roofing Plus for $365,636.
• Adopting a financial management policy as recommended by the city’s auditors “for the purpose of providing direction in budgeting, reserve balances, debt management and accounting, auditing and financial reporting practices.
• Hiring The Appraisal and Consultant Group to determine the value of the Orange Beach Event Center for a price between $12,000 and $20,000.
• Authorizing a contract with Joan Hill to provide water aerobics at the Orange Beach Aquatic Center.
• A resolution for contracts with DeRhonda Ponder, Elizabeth Wood and Stephanie Myrick for special needs aide services for the Expect Excellence Program.
• Authorizing an administrative services contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield for health and dental coverage for city employees.
• Conduct a public hearing and have a first reading of an ordinance change to allow an addition at Liberty Linen Warehouse and Boat/RV Storage on Canal Road.
During the work session, council discussed:
• A resolution for a contract with McCollough Architecture to convert a mini storage warehouse into a temporary weight room for the Orange Beach High/Middle for $8,500.
• A resolution of support to the EPA administrator to add the Perdido Bay Estuary Program into the National Estuary Program.
• Two resolutions for a contract with Pillar for civil engineering and land surveying and a second for design of Beaver Creek sidewalks for $8,500.
• Reappointing Greg Kennedy and Jeff Silvers to the construction board of adjustment and appeals and appointed Vince McCoy to the same board for four years ending in June 2027.
• Signing a contract with Jackson and Smith CPA group for auditing services.
• Authorizing submitting a letter to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for a watershed grant application to provide “low-impact development for the protection of Wolf Bay at Wind & Water Learning Center.”
• Paying $25,000 to the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber to be used for the Gateway Initiative workforce development program.
• Spending $34,095 for SWAT vests for the police department.
• Setting a public hearing for a change in The Wharf planned unit development for Villaggio restaurant to add a canopy.
The suggested date was June 6.