County commission punts on two Point Clear zoning changes


Two zoning changes in the Point Clear area were tabled by the Baldwin County Commission at its first official meeting on Nov. 20 with its three new commissioners.

The first change involved a .95 acre lot on the east side of Scenic Highway 98 south of County Road 32, which sought to be rezoned from commercial B-2 zoning to RSF-4 to allow the building of three single family residential lots on the parcel.

Both the planning commission and Planning department staff recommend approval for the change, but several nearby residents and the Point Clear Property Owners Association had voiced several concerns about the potential change.

“We’ve had no members support this rezoning,” Frank Fagan, a member of the board of directors for the Point Clear Property Owners Association, said. “A lot of residents are not in favor of the RSF-4 zoning because of the precedent it may set and the density it allows.”

The developer for the potential new homes said they and the property owner saw this as a simple downzoning.

“On the precedent setting, if we’re setting precedent, it’s to go from B-2 to RSF-4, and that’s just downsizing,” developer Scott Hutcheson said. “We need to make it very clear. Had RSF-4 been an option when zoning was put in place in Point Clear, it would have been that already.”

Commissioner Billie Jo Underwood disagreed that the rezoning would not set precedent.

“Obviously, this area is very sensitive about the future of development, and they came on early in the zoning process when it was created,” Underwood said. “Rezoning does set precedent in most cases. There is no other RSF-4 in the district that I can find, and I don’t necessarily agree with the turned down zoning in all cases.”

Commissioner Joe Davis motioned that the matter be tabled so that the commissioners could confer more with staff before making the decision, and the commission voted unanimously to agree to table it.

At the Nov. 27 commission work session, the developer approached the commission with a proposal that would ask for the property to be rezoned to the lower density RSF-2 zoning, which would allow only two homes to be built on the property.

The commissioners seemed open to the change, given that there were a multitude of other RSF-2 zoned properties within the planning district.

The commissioners also tabled a rezoning for another Point Clear property at the Nov. 20 meeting, involving a 2.43 acre property west of Scenic Highway 98 and south of Battles Road on Mobile Bay, which was proposed to be rezoned from RSF-1 to RSF-2.

If the rezoning had been approved, the property likely would have been combined with existing RSF-2 property nearby that was owned by the same family.

Davis motioned to approve the zoning change but the motion failed due to lack of a second.

The commission voted 3-1 to table the decision until the Dec. 3 meeting, with Davis voting against the tabling.