Latest from Planning Board: Sunset mobile home park changes, medical facility aesthetics and new 26-story condo

October 11, 2017

The Orange Beach Planning Commission met on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. Following is a brief recap of some of the topics covered during the October session:

Caribe on the Beach East site plan deferred

Caribe on the Beach EastA site plan review for the proposed 93-unit, 26-story Caribe on the Beach East Condominium, between the Cotton Bayou Beach Access and The Tides Hotel, was deferred to the planning commission’s November meeting. During the meeting, questions arose about plans to have separate entrances on some units to allow lockout studio bedrooms, which affects parking requirements.

Commissioners recommended that Architect Forrest Daniell revise the plan and seal off the separate entrances.

If approved, Caribe on the Beach East would be the sister building to the 27-story Caribe on the Beach, which is planned on the west side of the Cotton Beach Public access by developers Larry Wireman and Nathan Cox.

Sunset Park PUD recommended for approval

During a public hearing, residents of the Sunset Park mobile home community spoke against the owner’s request to rezone the 5-acre property off Canal Road for a planned unit development that would accommodate 60 cottages. Questions from the planning board toward the owner, Stacey Ryals, and Troy Strunk of WAS Design, revealed that each tenant had a 30-day termination clause in the lease and each one will have an opportunity to relocate to four other properties owned by Ryals in south Baldwin County.

Each cottage will have three habitable levels on pilings (four stories in all) with four bedrooms and five bathrooms. Each will have a building footprint of 864 square feet with a front and rear veranda on each floor. The 60 cottages will be grouped into three 20-unit U-shaped areas. Each U-shaped area will have its own amenities, included a pool, and a property owners’ association.

The planning commission voted, 8-1, to send it to the City Council with a positive recommendation. Chairman Robert Stuart had the lone vote against the recommendation.

Fresenius Kidney Care site plan denied

A site plan for Fresenius Kidney Care medical office at 4251 Orange Beach Boulevard, which is currently a vacant lot near City Hall, was denied 6-3 due to non-compliance of the proposed temporary office building.

The proposed medical building would’ve been made up of three connecting modular office trailers - a custom design already in use by Fresenius in other areas. If the business proved successful, a permanent building would’ve been built.

Despite the vote, planning board members hoped the company would reapply with a more permanent structure that was more in line with the city’s guidelines.

“I would love to have you in the city of Orange Beach,” Chairman Stuart said.

John Davis steps down

Having served on the Planning Commission since 2010, John Davis attended his last meeting on Monday.

“The gentleman to my left,” Chairman Stuart said, motioning to Davis. “This will be his last planning commision meeting. He is going to move onto bigger and better things. But I'd just like to say that I have known John for 15 years and I've known him as a volunteer. He helped at many, many seafood/snapper festivals. He worked at the ballparks. ... He's been my confidant. He's been my fellow commissioner but more importantly he's been my friend. You have served well.”

Davis, a longtime city volunteer, also serves as the Citizen Advisory Chairman for Policy and Administration and on the Mayor’s Citizen Finance Committee.

Pat Simpson will replace Davis, whose term expires in November.  This is a six year-term and will expire November 2023. All of the planning commissioners are appointed by the mayor, except the councilmember position, which is appointed by the council and is currently filled by Mayor Pro-tem Annette Mitchell.

November meeting

The next regular meeting of the Planning Commission is set for 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13 in the Orange Beach City Council Chambers​.  The work session begins at 3 p.m., if deemed necessary.