Commission hears more discussion for subdivision

Published 5:38 pm Saturday, January 15, 2011

In another effort to finalize plans for a subdivision off Snyder Road he hopes to begin selling lots in, Mason Fleming requested his attorney approach the Escambia County Commission on his behalf Monday.

Broox Garrett, representing Fleming, asked the Commission to consider some options that would allow the landowner to establish a legal subdivision with several lots available for purchase.

“I am asking that you allow a variance in the regulations to allow this subdivision or approve it as a private subdivision,” Garrett said. “I’m not here to say the regulations were complied with, but substantial compliance has been shown.”

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Garrett also said the regulations approved by the Commission in June 2007 were not widely known to exist by developers, attorneys or the public in general.

“I’m sure when these regulations were adopted in 2007 that it went through the proper processes of notification,” Garrett said. “But the public doesn’t know about the regulations and the Bar Association is not aware of the regulations. I would ask you to look at the regulations again and see if it is what the public wants. These regulations have severely impeded subdivisions in the county. I don’t think these rules and regulations fit a rural county like Escambia County.”

Bill Bridges, county engineer, told Garrett that previous requests from Fleming for approval of the subdivision were denied based on non- compliance with county rule and regulations currently in place.

“The subdivision didn’t meet the criteria for approval,” Bridges said. “He hasn’t formally asked for a variance.”

Garrett said his appearance before the Commission was to find out exactly what needed to be done to have approval given for Fleming’s subdivision.

“We want to do this the right way,” Garrett said. “If we need to write a letter to make a formal request then we will do that. Right now, we seem to be stuck in the mud. We want to get it done right.”

County Attorney Thad Moore suggested Fleming make the request for a variance specific when approaching the Commission in the future.

“You do need to ask for a specific variance to regulations so Mr. Bridges can look at that,” Moore said. “You need a specific request on a variance to be considered.”

Bridges said the rules and regulations for establishing a subdivision were put into place to protect buyers and developers.

“The rationale behind the regulations is to protect the public,” Bridges said. “To build a road and build it correctly is expensive. We’re taking taxpayers money to repair what a developer did and made money. I don’t think that’s what the people of this county want.”

Garrett told Commissioners he would be back with a formal request for variance and proposed approval on behalf of Fleming.

In other business, the Commission heard from Al Etheridge, coordinator for the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council, presented a brief rundown to the Commission concerning a request for support for the organization.

“We appreciate your letter of commitment and your check,” Etheridge said. “The funding from this show of support along with funding from the eight other counties will allow us to promote workforce development for this region and Alabama.”

Etheridge said activities such as the 2010 Career Expo held in Mobile are among projects planned by the group for the coming year.

“We had 9,000 eighth-graders at the fairgrounds in Mobile with 112 businesses and industries providing hands-on exhibits,” Etheridge said. “There were those around us who were skeptical that we could accomplish such an event. Now, we have three other regions wanting to do this sort of thing and they are inviting us up to tell them how it’s done. Our goal is to focus on getting people from where they are to where they want to be, no matter what age. This is not a quick-fix deal, it’s a long term project.”

Also, the Commission:

• Addressed on-going issues with Allied Waste’s garbage pick-up schedules across the county. Commissioners Brandon Smith and Larry White said many phone calls had been made to them by district residents complaining of the service. White said he had spoken with officials with Allied Waste concerning the number of calls he has received. “There had been some confusion and discord with supervisor that has resulted in a turnover of personnel,” White said. “We called it to their attention and they were prompt about getting out their to pickup the missed garbage. They have told us they are working diligently to solve the problem and have shown they are doing just that. It make take a month or so to solve the problem but it is being handled.”

• Approved the transfer of an off-premises beer license from Fast Land #3 to Diamond #16 on U.S. 41 at Barnett’s Highway.

• Awarded the bid for precast concrete bridge projects to F&W Construction of Ozark for work to be done on bridges located at Kent Branch on Old Foshee Road and Cowpen Creek on Cowpen Creek Read. The work, estimated at just over $400,000 for both projects, will begin with work at the Old Foshee Road location. Bridges said the choice to begin at Kent Branch due to the detour distance involved at both locations. Funding for the projects will be a portion of approved funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in reference to the December 2009 flooding in the county.

• Authorized the disposal of three vehicles awarded to the county after begin seized by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department. Vehicles not suitable for county use will be auctioned at a future date.