Canal Road headaches are likely to continue as workers put the finishing touches
(OBA®) – Construction of the canal road between State Route 161 and Wharf Parkway East is coming to an end but does not disappear with a whimper.
“Not only will we be working on completing the drainage and the walkways and shoulders, but we also have a deceleration lane that is going to be built for Cypress Village,” said Kit Alexander, director of community development. “You also have the reconstruction of the school aisle to make it a right and right aisle. It’s going to require some work on Canal Road, but we’ve made a deal that they won’t start construction until 8 a.m. starting Wednesday next week. “
Alexander provided an update on the project during the Ordinary and Combined Working Sessions of Orange Beach City Council on May 18. The council also learned that FEMA has finally decided to send money to the city and a moratorium on companies that lease ships to public boat launches in the city will likely be extended as officials seek a way mitigate problems caused during launches.
On Canal Road, there are still significant delays even as the city, ALDOT and the contractor have tried to coordinate work during peak hours.
“I know they don’t feel like they worked with us, but they built the roads and they want to have the roads built,” Alexander said. “There were times when they communicated poorly and it maybe felt like they weren’t working with us, but really DOT and the contractor tried to work with us and our very schedule. charge.
Mayor Tony Kennon said the delays would be even longer without coordination between the three entities.
“Without them things would have been a lot, a lot worse,” Kennon said.
But Alexander says officials are keeping their eyes on the price as they review the schedules for working at high volume times on the pavement.
“We have a schedule that we send to them giving them all of our sporting events so they know they can’t have lane closures at that time,” Alexander said. “It’s pretty much every week from Thursday to Sunday and sometimes from Wednesday to Sunday. We will generally likely see lane closures on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We must complete this project. This is the main thing. We have to do them and get them out of here. We try to maintain them, but at the same time, we try to accommodate the traffic. Unfortunately, there will be lane closures that sometimes persist. “
During the regular session, the council passed a resolution asking ALDOT if it would lower the speed limit on the newly widened part of Canal Road from 50 mph to 45 mph.
“We know everyone is driving 10 miles faster than the speed limit and we still have that suicide lane in the middle which is really dangerous,” Kennon said. “Extremely difficult left turn out of Lauder Place, extremely difficult left turn in Cypress Village, Captain’s Cove. We want to try to control the speed, which we will have less T-bones and head-on collisions.
CFO Ford Handley told the board after months of paperwork for FEMA – Hurricane Sally was on September 16 – the efforts are about to pay off.
“We finally got some good news today from FEMA that they’ve committed $ 5.1 million to the city,” Handley said. “It is in the state now. They should approve it very quickly and we hope that by the end of June we will have $ 5 million in our account. The rest will continue to be a longer process, but we’re getting there. “
Orange Beach hired a consultant to help with the process and environmental planner Nicole Woerner, who has experience applying for coastal resource grants, was part of the team working to get the FEMA money. .
“I want to reiterate that none of this would have been done without Nicole (Woerner) and Jonathan Clark, our consultant,” Handley said. “They are the ones who did all the work to make it happen. I really want to congratulate Nicole.
In a recent state of the city speech, Kennon said Sally’s recovery cost the city around $ 14 million and nine months later the federal agency still hadn’t sent a silver. Other local governments in Baldwin County have also bemoaned the slow response from FEMA.
People who collect rental boats from public boat launches are more of a problem in already overcrowded facilities.
“One of the issues we get complaints about is parking people,” Handley said. “Citizens and visitors board a charter boat at a state boat launch. There are only four to six parking spaces and when the people who fill up get towed, they go crazy. Not to say that the companies that are currently doing this are not telling these people. Trying to keep a level playing field with everyone and understand that it is the city that will face all the problems if we allow this to open up.
Kennon said these businesses should have a permanent location or at least have access to a marina. Several businesses around town also charter fishing out of their homes or even charter boats, he said.
“We don’t have enough launching space because there are a lot less people coming to park there and going on charters,” Kennon said. “It’s inefficient use. You now have six parking spaces occupying space for each boat (charter). This is not why a public launch was set up. They were not set up to run a business operation there. If they would come over there and drop people off, pick them up and park somewhere else, there wouldn’t be a problem. We cannot give up parking spaces intended for trucks and trailers to individual cars to board a charter boat. I just can’t do it.
Watertoys 2U, launched a shuttle service to drop customers off on cruises or charters exiting a public boat launch.
The current moratorium ends on June 15 and Handley said it would likely be extended as officials continue to seek an answer on how to handle issues caused by rentals.
During the ordinary session, the council:
- Beer and Wine Liquor Retail License Approval for Blalock’s Seafood on Canal Road.
- I have accepted a resolution declaring the playground equipment surplus and authorizing the donation of said property to Bear Point Civic Association.
- I have accepted a resolution authorizing a contract with Sportsman Software for leisure facilities management software.
- I accepted a resolution asking the Alabama Department of Transportation to set a speed limit of 45 miles per hour on State Route 180 east of the Foley Beach Express and west of State Route 161 .
- I have accepted a resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the enrollment agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama to change the employee health plan administration fee.
- Approved two resolutions on the city’s deal with Island Entertainment, two of the owners being co-owners of Flora-Bama, John McInnis and Cameron Price, authorizing the mayor to execute a condition sheet for the CoastAL Beach Development project “taking advantage of the city of about 800 inhabitants. newly acquired beachfront feet. Island Entertainment will own one of the oceanfront lots for a restaurant, bar, and gift shop with parking and the city will own the other which will be used by residents for parking and visiting the beach. The closing of the two lots should take place from mid-June to the end of June.
- I accepted a resolution amending the employee pay plan / job list to correct an error in a police officer’s starting pay.
- I have accepted contract resolutions with Scott Mansell and Victor Koenning for football coaching services.
- Had a public hearing and first reading of an ordinance change involving buffering and filtering of land use and raising the height of a wall or fence to eight feet.
- We had a public hearing and a first reading of an ordinance change in the unit development project for Caribe Seaside, a new condo tower planned directly east of the Cotton Bayou beach access. . Developers Larry Wireman and Forrest Daniell are planning a 30-story, 115-unit condominium on the site occupied by Romar Dunes before Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
- Had a public hearing and first reading of an order change in the Caribe PUD for Hang Ten Helicopters which operates from a platform east of the Perdido Pass Bridge on the Caribe property. Council suspended the rules to consider this immediately and it was passed unanimously.
- Had a public hearing and first reading of an order to change the Sunset Park subdivision PUD on Canal Road. In November 2018, developers sought to move from a 60-unit single-family condominium development to a 44-lot single-family residential subdivision. The property is on the northwest corner of Canal Road and Cypress Street.
During the working session, the council discussed:
- Changed the Orange Beach polling location from the Community Center to The Wharf Event Center.
- A moratorium on commercial licenses for charters and the delivery of rental boats in public access areas pending the revision of the commercial license code.
- A resolution awarding the offer for the participation rate to the Orange Beach high school.
- A resolution awarding the bid for a new boat lift for the maritime police. The opening of the bids is set for June 3.
- Set a public hearing date for a change in the Port Washington PUD order. June 15 was the suggested date.