Judge voids apartment complex: Fairhope ‘did not adhere to its own regulations’

City of Fairhope
[Photo Credit: City of Fairhope facebook page]

Opponents of Fairhope’s Fly Creek apartment complex rejoiced on Tuesday as Baldwin County Circuit Court Judge Clark Stankoski effectively stopped work on the project, deeming its approval from the Planning Commission last year void.

According to the Lagniappe Mobile, Judge Stankoski stopped the building of the complex “because the city did not adhere to its own regulations when green-lighting the project.”

In April of 2016, Fairhope City Council members voted to change zoning ordinances in order to add a new 240-unit luxury apartment complex off of U.S. 98., and along Fly Creek.

Many residents, and environmental groups opposed the project, “I am very mad,” long-time Realtor Dot Yeager told AL.com. “Apartments are not neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are what Fairhope has always wanted. We wanted families that come here who want backyards and fences.”

The Fly Creek Watershed Preservation Association, a resident’s group opposing the project brought a lawsuit against the project, claimed the project violated the city’s ordinance by using inadequate storm water management techniques.

Judge Stankoski agreed, saying “it does not comply with the governing ordinance’s requirements. The requirements were fairly specific, unique and required the use of a non-point discharge system utilizing a gabion wall that ran the entire of the wetland boundary near Fly Creek,” Stankoski noted in his ruling, according to the Lagniappe Mobile. “The ordinance’s drainage plan’s purpose was ‘to help protect the adjacent Fly Creek.’”

The Fly Creek, and its preservation had been one of the main concerns of the group, and other groups like it; even Alabama 1st District U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne has weighed in on protecting the creek.

Adam Milam, represented the plantiffs, and told the Lagniappe Mobile they were “very happy” with the ruling.

“It’s a simple, correct ruling, and it finally it feels like [Mobile and Baldwin counties] are getting big enough where we have to look at the law and everyone has to comply,” Milam continued.