Orange Beach grants Island Fiber loan for high-speed Internet in the neighborhood
(OBA®) – Orange Beach, AL – Orange Beach increases its loan commitment to Island Fiber from the initial $ 1.2 million in November 2019 to add $ 2.23 million for a total of $ 3.4 million in of the board meeting on August 17th.
Additionally, at the meeting, the board approved a plan for developers to transform the Gulf-front Romar Beach Baptist Church into a 76-room hotel operated by Marriott International.
With the Island Fiber resolution, the city “increases the city’s loan to Island Fiber from $ 1.2 million to $ 3.4 million to provide funds for the construction, installation and placement of additional facilities. fiber optic network in the city to make high-speed Internet available to homeowners. and occupants of single-family dwellings in the city, and waives franchise fees for a period of one year, ”according to city documents.
“We feel like right now it’s probably still the best thing for the city to do,” said Councilor Jerry Johnson. “It should build the city. He’s already in Terry Cove and Cotton Bayou so all he has to do is walk down to Lauder and Captain’s Cove and Beaver Creek. He’s a local guy and we have no complaints with the service once he installs it. We think it’s still a good investment for the city because everyone who has it is really fully happy with the speed and everything.
In the November 2019 agreement, the city agreed to pay Island Fiber $ 1,000 for each customer subscribed to the service up to 1,200, the initial amount of $ 1.2 million. Island Fiber has agreed to pay the city $ 5 per month per customer in quarterly installments until the amount is repaid.
Payments were due to begin in May 2020. Johnson, the chairman of the city’s telecommunications committee, said that plan was scrapped because Island Fiber, owned by Mickey Franco, needed the money sooner to be able to purchase units. materials for construction.
“It was better for us to give him the money up front because it’s a capital intensive project,” Johnson said. “He already has over 600 people registered and he achieves about 60% of the penetration in every neighborhood he goes to, which is double what I budgeted for. I thought it couldn’t go over 30 percent. We decided to stick with it because we just have no complaints.
“All of this is on loan. Whatever the city does with him, he has to pay him back. Pretty soon he will start making those payments. He is earning some at the moment but we are going to shorten the duration and he will have to pay a good sum per month to repay the loan. I think it might be based on 10 or 15 years. It was 20 but we’re going to lower it to speed up the refund.
C-Spire is also in talks with the city to begin offering fiber to Orange Beach neighborhoods, Johnson said.
This project will add a total of 127 beds in 76 rooms to the vacation rental inventory and approximately 20.7 units per acre on the 1.8 acre site. Following the current zoning of the plot would allow up to 170 beds or approximately 76 units if a condo was built on the same site. Due to the small size of the rooms – 600 square feet – the number of added units comparable to a condo unit would be 38.
The existing building has five floors and there is a two-level parking garage next to the church building. The project will add 6,400 square feet to the third, fourth and fifth floors of the building above the parking garage and construction will be 20 feet from the west side lot line which is also the current side setback of the church. The city’s planning commission gave the project a favorable vote of 5 to 3.
“This is a zoning change, but it is a downward zoning, not an upward zoning,” said council member Annette Mitchell. Mitchell also has a seat on the Orange Beach Planning Commission.
The owners of the property to the west, Ian Boles and his son Ben Boles, have spoken out against the project. The Boles own several huge duplexes and houses next door and together they have about 68 rooms in total on their site.
“This is going to be a major damage to our property,” Ben Boles told the board. “It’s going to be five floors where now it’s two floors for our main houses. It’s going to block out a lot of the view, a lot of the sun. We just have the impression that it is wrong and that it pays more than what currently exists. “
Ian Boles recently won a $ 3.78 million judgment against the city for the construction of one of its 16-bedroom duplexes on the site.
This was the first reading of the amendment which typically requires two readings, unless council has unanimous consent to suspend the rules and consider it immediately. Consent was adopted and the amendment was also carried unanimously.
During the ordinary session, the council:
- Passed a resolution declaring a vehicle owned by the City of Orange Beach as surplus and unnecessary and authorizing the donation of said property to the Back Country Trail Foundation.
- Passed a resolution awarding the offer for the relocation of 5 Bay Fire Hall to Sun Coast Builders for an amount not to exceed $ 163,200. This involves building a bay for a fire truck in the old public works building on the school property where Station 5 will be temporarily located until a new permanent station is built.
- Passed a resolution declaring the structure of the switchgear bay of Fire Station No.5 located at Wharf Shopping Center owned by the Town of Orange Beach as surplus and unnecessary and authorizing the sale of said property to Wharf Retail Properties.
- Passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of two used vehicles for the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) police department in the amount of $ 28,000. These are two 2013 Ford Explorers, one with 68,000 miles and the other with 57,000, and cost $ 14,000 each.
- Passed a resolution allocating funds to South Baldwin Regional Medical Center to sponsor employee appreciation days in the amount of $ 1,000.
During the working session, the council discussed:
- A resolution appointing Chris Callaghan as a judge of the Municipal Court of the City of Orange Beach.
- A resolution allocating funds to support the Safe Harbor Animal Coalition in a prorated amount of $ 3,333.33 for four months of 2021. City administrator Ken Grimes said $ 10,000 would be budgeted for Safe Harbor in 2022.
- A resolution providing funds to Sojourners 531 Baldwin County National Chapter to sponsor local events to benefit first responders in the amount of $ 500.
- A resolution authorizing the purchase from a sole source of a replacement pump for the Mariner Lakes lift station from Jim House & Associates for utility service in the amount of $ 18,558.
- A resolution authorizing the execution of the Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs Mutual Aid Consortium Agreement.
- A resolution authorizing a franchise for Rock & Roll Off’s to remove and dispose of commercial solid waste and to remove and transport construction and demolition debris.