Gulf Shores City Council to Hear Appeal of Planning Commission’s Decision to Approve Regency Place Apartments Site Plan Application
Monday, October 29, 2018
Gulf Shores City Council Chambers
CALL TO ACTION
● Attend Monday’s City Council Meeting to demonstrate your opposition to the Regency Place Apartments (this is your last and best chance to help “kill” this Development)
● Contact by phone and email (see below) the Mayor and Members of the City Council before the 4:00 p.m. starting time of Monday’s meeting and let them know of your STRONG OPPOSITION to the Development and stress the following:
● we do NOT want the character of our quiet residential neighborhood changed forever
● we do NOT want our property value to decline by thousands of dollars which is what will happen if this apartment is constructed
● we want and expect YOU (elected leaders) to take the side of local residents and your constituents against the desires of an out-of-state developer – “don’t put profits ahead of neighbors and residents”
● we want YOU to vote to completely overturn the decision of the unelected Planning Commission
and NOT allow the Apartments to be built
● Send any and all feedback immediately from your contact with elected officials to Pete Sims at [email protected] or call or text with your name to 662.205.6586.
This fight is far form over. Your support and assistance is needed at this critical time.
NOW is the Time To ACT!
NOTE: If you have limited time and only have the time to make one call or send one email, contact Councilman, Mayor Pro-Tem, and City Council Representative on the Planning Commission – Philip Harris. Philip’s contact information is listed below along with his cell phone number (251.747.5431)
LET’S BURN UP THE PHONE LINES!
Mayor and City Council – Contact Information:
Robert Craft, Mayor [email protected]
City Council General Number 251-968-2425
Joe Garris, charter boat [email protected]
251-213-6680 business number
Phillip Harris, Construction (also Planning Commission)
251-968-7128 business number
251-747-5431 mobile number
Jason Dyken, Doctor and Author
251-955-2827 work number
Stephen E. Jones, Realtor at Exec Realty
251-609-5292 work cell
Gary Sinak, retired Battalion Chief of 34 yrs, co-owner GNC Plumbing and the Hardware Store
251-974-5630 business number
For your information, the following is a copy of the Press Release sent to media outlets in Mobile and Baldwin County:
Friday, October 26, 2018
Gulf Shores City Council to Hear Appeal of Site Plan Approval of Controversial Apartment Development
Monday, October 29, 2018
Gulf Shores City Council Chambers
The Gulf Shores City Council will hear a citizen’s appeal of the October 3rd Planning Commission’s 6 to 3 vote to approve the proposed Regency Place Apartments Site Plan Application.
Over 750 individuals have signed a Petition expressing their strong opposition to the high density apartment complex slated to be constructed in a quiet residential area of Gulf Shores in what is otherwise made up of single family homes and owner occupied/owned condominiums and townhomes.
Citizens have also voiced concerns about the dramatic negative impact on their property values. They have cited U.S. Census Bureau data that indicates property values will decrease by 13.8% if apartments are built. They claim two nearby condominium complexes alone will lose over $5 million in owner value.
Regency Road resident, Pete Sims, who filed the appeal of the Planning Commission’s action, stated, ” We are pleased this matter is going before the City Council. This is something we have been asking for all along. We feel a large high density apartment complex that increases the population of Gulf Shores by almost 10% should be looked at closely by our elected officials and not placed solely in the hands of a Planning Commission which is made up of volunteers who are unelected and unaccountable.
We look forward to making our case directly to the Mayor and City Council and let them know why we feel the Planning Commission got it wrong.”
The following is the letter sent to Mayor Robert Craft appealing the decision of the Gulf Shores Planning Commission to approve the Regency place Apartments Site Plan Application:
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2018 10:24 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Appeal – Regency Place Apartments Site Plan Application
Dear Mayor Craft,
I hereby appeal the decision of the Planning Commission to approve the Site Plan Application for Regency Place Apartments. I am asking that you and the City Council, as elected officials and representatives of the Citizens and Residents of Gulf Shores, rescind the action taken by the Planning Commission.
The appeal is based on the following:
A. the Residents and Citizens of Gulf Shores are overwhelmingly opposed to the Regency Place Apartments Development. This is evidenced by the more than 750 individuals who have signed a Petition in opposition.
Recently, Mayor Dane Haygood of Daphne vetoed a controversial zoning ordinance that would have allowed an unwelcome development project in their City. Overwhelming Citizen opposition caused the Mayor to take the side of the local residents against the economic interests of the developer. When issuing his veto of the ordinance, Mayor Haygood stated, “it is not consistent with the will of the community.”
So far, the Citizens opposed to the Regency Place Apartments have NOT received ANY support from our elected leaders. Unlike, the position taken by Mayor Haygood on behalf of his Citizens, the Citizens of Gulf Shores have yet to see anyone come to our aid and have clearly placed the economic needs and desires of an out of state developer over the desires of your fellow citizens who must depend on you to look out for our concerns.
B. the Planning Commission’s findings and conclusions are fatally flawed. In fact, the majority of Planning Commission members chose to totally overlook three (3) of the Site Plan Recommendations made by the ‘City Staff”. Some of the recommendations of “City Staff” involved public safety concerns identified by consultants hired by the City. Such action on the part of the Planning Commission appears to be unprecedented. This, in and of itself, demands oversite and corrective action by our elected officials of the Planning Commission which is composed of a group of unelected and unaccountable unpaid volunteers whose predominant background is in the real estate and development business.
In addition, the Planning Commission’s decision clearly violates Zoning Ordinance Article
● 138 adjoining property owners of a possible 313 housing units (44% response rate) 95.7% fear their property values will drop as a result of this development. Whether this development causes this devaluation or not, the fact is that these people are feeling this anxiety and threat to their investment.”
The 13.8% decrease in property values (cited above) is significant in a number of ways:
● the same U.S. Census Bureau data placed the negative impact on apartments at 13.8% and, the same study found a the negative impact of a “Strip Club” at 14.7% and a “Homeless Shelter” at 12.7%. Finding yourself on a survey of negative impact (dragging down your property values) right between a “Strip Club” and a “Homeless Shelter” is NOT a good place to be.
● The cumulative effect of a decrease in property values as a result of a high density apartment complex is staggering. At just the Enclave alone,property values could expect to decline by over $3,000,000 (or $25,345 per unit) due to the construction of the Regency Place Apartments next door. [Average current unit price of $185,000 x 126 units x 13.7% = $3,193,470]
Hopefully, this data will help you see just why the residents/citizens/voters are vehemently opposed to the Regency Place Apartment Development.
Clearly “conserving the value of land, Buildings and Structure” was not properly considered by the Planning Commission. Had the required “conserving the value of land, Buildings and Structure [of surrounding property]” criteria been considered, the Site Plan Application would have been denied.
As you know, from the very beginning, the citizens opposed to the Regency Place Apartments have stated they are not against the 10 acre lot being developed. What many are opposed to is the construction of a high density apartment complex in what is otherwise a residential area made up of single family homes, owner occupied/owned condominiums and townhomes. This Development, if approved, will profoundly change the “character” of the Regency Road neighborhood.
You should also note that the action of the Planning Commission violates Zoning Ordinance Article 1 General Provision 1-3. Purpose a.
“These regulations are made with reasonable consideration, among other things, of the character of each district”…
● The “character” of this district is an average of 8.1 DUPA of the adjoining developments and this development is 20.6 DUPA. The DUPA average of the developments on the east, north and west side equals only 6.04 DUPA compared to 20.6 DUPA proposed in the Regency Place Apartments Development.
● The majority (91%) of residents in a survey of over 220 residents describe the “character” of their district as “low-density with mostly owner occupied residences” (40%) or “low to medium-density with mostly owner occupied residences” (51%)
● This development will be 100% rental and high-density which 0% of residents surveyed selected as being the “character” of their neighborhood or district.
● This development will change the “character” of the neighborhood by increasing the quantity of rental units percentage from 11% to 39% based on the rentals in each of the surrounding developments. Existing rental units at the Enclave, Regency Club, The Ridge and Lakewood is a total of 48 units of the 454 total units in these developments.
● The “character” will change with the quantity of rental units increasing from 48 to 254, a 529% increase. The “character” will no longer be primarily owner-occupied.
Please also note that Section 3.3.E.4 asks: “In what respects the plan is or is not consistent with good design standards in respect to all external relationships”
● “Relationship to Adjacent properties”
This development is NOT consistent with most surrounding properties. The average DUPA is 8.1 and this development is 20.6. ”
“Land Use Plan” (LUP)
On September 6, 2016, Planning Director, Andy Bauer, stated in his 3-3E. Findings submitted to the Planning Commission:
“The Land Use Plan, adopted in 2008 and re-adopted in 2014, designates this property’s future land use as Medium Density Residential 6-10 units per acre. The Land Use Plan serves as a comprehensive strategy to guide planning and design for land development and should not be viewed as equivalent to zoning districts, but rather as general guidelines indicating desirable land use patterns for Gulf Shores. The Land Use Plan is primarily used for rezoning request. The Zoning Ordinance regulations take legal precedent over the general guidelines of the Land Use Plan.”
Section 3-3E 1. states, ” In what respects the plan is or is not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan…”
Please carefully read the information below and you will see that the Comprehensive Plan IS the “Land Use Plan”. Therefore, the Regency Place Apartments plan is clearly NOT consistent with the “Land Use Plan”.
As recent as 2016, “City Staff” included as a separate criteria, when making Site Plan recommendations to the Planning Commission, whether the proposed project matched the “Land Use Plan”.
“d. Each of the following three (3) Site Plans uses the LUP as criteria in evaluating the Site Plan as it should in evaluating the Regency Place Apartments, and the fact that Regency Place Apartments does not comply with the “Land Use Plan”.
● SP2015-03 Beach Life Condominium: “The Land Use Plan designates this area as Commercial/Mixed Use” and “proposed use is consistent with the Land Use Plan and the intent of the Envision Gulf Shores Plan.”
● SP2016-02 Bayou Sunrise: “The proposed use is consistent with the Commercial/Mixed Use with a maximum of 25 dwelling units per acre designation in the Land Use Plan .”
● SP2016-03 Abaco Condominiums: “The Land Use Plan designates this area as High Density Residential. The proposed use is consistent with the recommendations set forth in the Land Use Plan”
Not listed above but included in “City Staff’s” Site Plan recommendations under the criteria header “Land Use Plan”:
February 25, 2014
SP2014- 02 Gulf Shores Power Sports Addition
“The site plan request is consistent with the designated commercial use as indicated in the Land Use Plan.”
January 28, 2014
“The proposed use is consistent with the designated High Density Residential use as indicated in the “Land Use Plan.”
For some unexplained reason, the “Land Use Plan” criteria has been mysteriously omitted (not considered) when “City Staff” makes their recommendations to the Planning Commission.
Why did the “City Staff” remove the “Land Use Plan” from their criteria when making recommendations? If the “Land Use Plan” was a critically important criteria in 2016 and in years prior to 2016, why did the criteria suddenly disappear and was no longer considered in 2017 and 2018? The “Land Use Plan” was certainly not considered when the Regency Place Apartments Site Plan was initially approved by the Planning Commission. Had the “Land Use Plan” been considered, the Site Plan Application would have been denied.
I know you can attempt to take the easy way out and simply dismiss off hand this appeal request. You could, for example, assert that such an appeal is not allowed by “Law”. I think such an assertion on the part of the City would be disingenuous at best, especially in light of the City’s admitted failure to follow their own “Law” repeatedly for years and years by not issuing Section 3-3E. findings when considering Site Plan Applications. Surely if the City can get away with failing to follow a most critical section of the Zoning Ordinance (3-3E.) which is designed to protect the interests of Residents/Citizens, you can surely figure out a legally defensibly way to provide elected leader oversight of the action taken by an unelected and unaccountable organization which is the Planning Commission.
I firmly believe you, as Mayor and members of the City Council, have the ability to legally exercise the political will to represent the interests of your constituents if you chose to do so. In other words, “where there is a will, there is a way”.
As Mayor, you and the members of City Council have the opportunity to rescind the action taken by the volunteer members of the Planning Commission. You have a chance to finally demonstrate to your constituents whether you are on the side of an out of state developer who is solely interested in economic gain or on the side of the Residents, Citizens and Voters of Gulf Shores whose interests and concerns you are charged with representing.
Respectively Submitted, FACE BOOK PAGE “SAY NO”