Paradise Lost II

By Chris Warner

Special to the Ripp Report/Baldwin County Legal Eagle

Backstory Podcast Media

Preserving Quality of Life and Livability Through Planning and Growth Management

Quality of life has been best defined as the gap between what you want and what you have. The lofty goal of government is to close that gap, so citizens can enjoy an enhanced living environment; one in keeping with their stated goals for growing. Planning is the prudent managing of physical and human growth; and particularly—density, as there are direct, positive correlations between quality of life and the number of people living in a place, in favor of smaller, less dense towns. Slower-paced communities sought for their schools, low property taxes and cultural amenities can be overwhelmed by crowded schools, sprawl and the loss of a valued former sense of belonging unfettered growth can bring. Villages, towns and cities are made of people—and like people—they change over time, as they are allowed to. Managing how quickly a place grows helps maintain its cherished quality of life, and gives it a chance to grow into a healthy, older place still in keeping with the tenets of its founding and early development.

Baldwin County – Alabama’s Fastest-Growing Coastal Community

A perceived quality of life conducive to raising a family and/or retiring is doubly attractive, as it is what most young and old people want. However, it is not what most people can afford—and that’s the rub. Developers, bankers, real estate investors and brokers make money off of a booming housing industry—particularly one fueled by the retiring Midwestern baby boomer generation bent on lower taxes and snow-free winters. Little foresight is given, however, by these vast, relocating herds, to the level of professional growth management, land use planning and zoning provided by Deep South local and county governments. But in their defense—when you’re fleeing the unforgiving taxing capacities and service delivery failures of Chicago, Detroit or Minneapolis, lower taxes and snow-free winters are an admitted sizable improvement over the dismal status quo.

Fairhope and Orange Beach – Past Getaways Far off the Beaten Path, Present BabyBoomer Towns

One was once the summer respite on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, the posh, postage stamp getaway. The other, a similar seasonal destination for ancient Indians bent on exploiting its bountiful fish and game scores…long before it was the favored party destination of the “Redneck Riviera.” Today, both Fairhope and Orange Beach are far cries from their original townships, the end result of word of mouth, mass Midwestern outmigration, poor planning and of course, pure, unadulterated greed. Fairhope and Orange Beach are coastal towns with similarly limited infrastructure sets. Water is a buffer but it is also an impediment to growth and a transportation problem as it prevents traffic diffusion capable within a gridded pattern. As each community continues to add bodies and wheels with the approval of still more development, it does so at its impending peril, as the law of diminishing returns holds true—even in real estate boom-towns. That is because you can only pour so much water out of a boot. Everything has its limits—even Paradise.

Empowering Local Planning Departments to Lead the Way

One problem inherent with providing effective planning for Baldwin County is that new developments, like neighborhoods and subdivisions, built outside the city limits of towns and cities, are not subject to the authority of the local planning departments engaged in managing growth. Since they are located outside city lines, developers need only adhere to county building codes and restrictions, which are limited, given the County’s traditional, agrarian past, and its pro-business, laissez-faire approach to planning, land use, zoning and growth management. For pragmatic purposes, local planning jurisdictions should be given authority over new developments contiguous with their planning district within a reasonable sphere of influence ranging up to a few miles, as the city is still charged with the responsibility of providing law enforcement, education, health care and other services under its normal provided, taxpayer-funded umbrella.

Redefining Community Goals, Objectives and Strategies for Managing Growth

As Baldwin County heads into another summer election season, it does so grappling with a huge planning and growth management problem. The City of Fairhope has recently been sued by the State of Alabama for failing to properly manage its sewerage system, resulting in numerous costly spills. Orange Beach is approaching its physical limits in terms of new development, as the city has little if any remaining developable property; and a road system already encumbered. Citizens must come together, take inventory, voice their concerns and chart new expectations for managing future growth in Baldwin County. If current building trends continue to pace growing demand without planning considerations, and needed restraint, then the coastal area once known for its charm, relaxation and recreation could well become a bedroom and vacation nightmare, typified by a waning quality of life everyone moved to Baldwin County to escape.

Chris Warner is a concerned citizen, speaker, author and publisher. A former professor and urban planning consultant, he holds a doctorate in urban planning. A previous ten-year resident of Baldwin County, he lives in Perdido Key, Florida.

Visit his web page: This article was published June 7 2018, This was the original article.

Join Chris this Saturday June 6th at Page and Palett:

Warner to Sign Copies of New “Tailgater’s Guide to SEC Football” at Page & Palette June 6th

“This is the book that will get SEC Football fans through the lockdowns! I call it the ‘Bible of SEC Football,’” said Dr. Warner, the “Professor of Tailgating,” and author of more than twenty tomes. “That’s because Southerner’s don’t think—they feel—and there’s nothing they feel more passionate about than SEC Football on Saturdays in the fall!”

Chris Warner will be signing his newest book on SEC Football (Father’s Day) along with several others he’s written…in Fairhope on Saturday June 6, 2020 in Fairhope, 1 to 4.

“Tailgating and traveling the nation’s toughest conference supporting their team is the pinnacle of the fall cultural phenomenon for SEC football fans. And what exactly is tailgating?

It’s a confluence of the reunion of friendships and family, good food, and of course, football: In the South, tailgating, in terms of seeing and being seen—is the sizzle that sells the steak.”

Building on previous successful versions, completely updated, this brand new book contains:

-A fascinating history of college football in the South, with links to the Civil War

-A history of the Southeastern Conference and its predecessors, the Southern Conference, SIAA

-Chapters on each member school (14) Western Division, Eastern Division:

a) histories

b) traditions

c) great players and coaches

d) where to shop and golf

e) where to eat and drink so you can take over when you get there

f) famous/noteworthy alumni

g) acquisition of mascots, colors and nicknames

h) bail bondsmen and hospitals

-A history of the cultural phenomenon, tailgating

-14 Cajun tailgating recipes, including “Crimson Tide Seafood Gumbo,” “Jordan-Hare Shrimp and Okra Stew,” “Starkville Shrimp and Corn Soup,” and “Death Valley Crawfish Etouffee’…’

Warner’s first version of the now, Volume 5, 320-page book ($15.95, paperback) landed him on the History Channel documentary, “Tailgating” with actors Tom Arnold and Jenny McCarthy, where he echoed the fascinating history of College Football in the South, its inextricable links to the Civil War and pontificated on the ever-growing, modern, cultural penchant: tailgating!

“This is the first book I wrote, back in 2000. It remains my most successful, to date as a practical guide to history, tradition, legacy and lore.” Warner said, having authored over 20 titles, including “The Wagon to Disaster,” the untold story of HealthSouth, (American Greed/Sixty Minutes) with the former CFO, Aaron Beam, and “Bushwhacked at the Flora-Bama” with the founder of the iconic beach haunt on the Alabama-Florida Line, Joe Gilchrist. The Professor of Tailgating has appeared on “CBS Sports Saturday,” “James Carville’s 60-20 with Luke Russert” and the “Paul Finebaum Radio Show.” A former radio and television host, high school teacher and college professor, Warner lives on the narrow, white sandy island strip known as Perdido Key, Florida. -30-

Read the latest 📡 𝗕𝗔𝗖𝗞𝗦𝗧𝗢𝗥𝗬​​​​​ 𝖯𝖮𝖣𝖢𝖠𝖲𝖳​​​​​ 📡!

14 Comments on "Paradise Lost II"

  1. Anonymous | June 3, 2020 at 8:47 pm |

    Yes, Chris Warner, we know. We have read this before. Catalyst is responsible for ruining Baldwin County. We know.
    You had us at hello
    The people of Baldwin must rise up and get the Catalysts out of office. They serve themselves
    Heck, Baldwin County residents cannot go to the beach anymore
    You can blame the Fairhope judge and the developers for this
    Haygood, Cox, Corte, and the rest of the Catalysts have stolen our birthright. They MUST be held accountable for their crimes

  2. Anonymous | June 3, 2020 at 8:49 pm |

    People of Baldwin County/. How much more theft of your quality of life will you endure before you act?

  3. Chris, we get it. Baldwin has been stolen from us and the current elected officials are to blame

    • Anonymous | June 4, 2020 at 3:08 pm |

      I doubt that most of the new citizens even care. They are too busy

      • Anonymous | June 5, 2020 at 7:35 am |

        Too busy working two jobs paying for that overpriced house built by Truland or DR Horton
        Those houses are made of balsa wood and won’t last the 30 year mortgages

  4. I can remember when Baldwin County belonged to the residents. Then outside developers came in and told the voters they were Christians
    The politicians formed a group and named it Elliot, Haygood, and Stacy. Elliott and Haygood got in office and turned the kabal over to Boone and renamed the group Catalyst. Catalyst would connect political candidates with developers and the money needed to fund campaigns
    This group got so strong that it could actually pick and choose it’s clients and choose political candidates
    Today we have a County with elected officials posing as religious people when in fact they either are developers or work for developers
    The voters in Baldwin County have only themselves to blame. The voters did not deserve this area and because of it, they will lose it either by over development or being gentrified out of the area because it will too expensive to live here due to prices and taxes
    Look at Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. There are two classes of people that live there. The wealthy people who have moved in and the locals who work in the tourist industry and have to commute from Foley and places north or live in trailer parks. The locals have became an underclass in their own hometown
    Once again, Baldwin voters need only blame themselves

  5. Anonymous | June 4, 2020 at 10:49 pm |

    Those hypocrite politicians will burn in Hell

  6. Anonymous | June 5, 2020 at 6:59 am |

    Alabama, last place or close to it in almost every important metric. 2nd most reliant on federal funding. The federal government loses $2 for every $1 received in fed taxes. Subsidized by mostly blue states most of which have large urban centers which drives our economy and the producers of skilled workers. But they fail to deliver services? Easy to say for a state that provides no services and relies on the feds. Maybe then we could afford better city planning? Maybe the boomers are getting a return on their investment, bailing out Alabama throughout the years? Maybe they are the only ones who can afford to move for retirement?

    • You make good points. Real good points.
      You see, Alabama is a “Good ole boy” state. The politicians who grew up in Alabama see Alabama as their state and want to buy and sell it as they see fit. Lately, outside money has come in and have been buying these good ole boys out. This results in the outside mega-money to go haywire on the overbuilding of subdivisions displacing the locals and gentrifying the area.
      Of course one thing that the outside politicians know is to keep the “Christian Conservative” moniker to act as opium to the voters

      • Anonymous | June 5, 2020 at 3:04 pm |

        They have been buying the good ole boys for real cheap lately. Oh and yes, the good ole boys have been selling their souls to the outsiders while giving away our once beautiful Baldwin County.
        It makes me wonder how hot Hell will need to be heated up for these politicians when they arrive there. The heat settings on Hell are: Hot, Hotter, and Catalyst Hot.

      • Anonymous | June 5, 2020 at 7:42 pm |

        It seems like a good thing having these big businesses come into Mobile, etc. that bring in the jobs. But if there’s no skilled work pool in the area then they recruit outside of the area. The company keeps the tax breaks while the kids go to school in trailers. The new residents with higher paying skilled jobs can send their kids to private schools.

        • Anonymous | June 5, 2020 at 7:47 pm |

          The developers are free to build everywhere and cut corners. The new residents aren’t aware of the cut corners and how they’ve been ripped off.

          • Anonymous | June 6, 2020 at 12:24 pm |

            Wait until they go to re sell these cheap houses when they have to move
            They will pay for their ignorance
            Truland will throw up a shack and put a cheap brick facade on the outside and granite countertops and the buyers will swoon and take out a mortgage to get it

        • Anonymous | June 6, 2020 at 12:20 pm |

          Yes and the locals become second class citizens in their own home town

Comments are closed.