Spanish Fort plans to change its jurisdiction
By Guy Busby
STRONG SPANISH – Cities in Alabama must decide how to define their planning and policing skills this summer to comply with a new state law setting limits on municipal authority outside of business boundaries, Spanish Fort officials said.
The Alabama Legislature passed Senate Bill 107, sponsored by Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Spanish Fort, in the 2021 session. The law sets the limits of police jurisdiction in place at early 2021 and also establishes regulations on the extent to which a city can exercise its planning jurisdiction to enforce subdivision regulations, city attorney David Conner told members of the Spanish Fort city council on June 14.
By law, a city can exercise planning jurisdiction up to three miles outside of the corporation’s boundaries. On January 1, 2023, that jurisdiction will be reduced to a maximum of 1.5 thousand, he said.
The city now exercises planning jurisdiction at the Eastern Shore Center and an area of US 31, but not in other locations beyond the company’s boundaries, Conner said.
Conner said the new limits are to be set by July 26, 2021.
“In order not to introduce confusion, I would suggest that you consider maybe a mile and a half in areas where you think you are going to have an annexation, or you think you are going to have growth that you want to address in those areas. Conner told council members during a working session to discuss the legislation.
Extending planning jurisdiction to 1.5 miles in all directions, however, would bring Spanish Fort regulations into effect in some neighboring unincorporated communities, such as Stapleton, Mayor Mike McMillan said.
“This is very important for the future of Spanish Fort and its surroundings. We respect the Stapleton area and to be honest with you if we take the mile and a half of our borders we have to respect Bay Minette and Pine Grove and other areas we don’t go, ”McMillan said. . “We are not trying to do a land grab. It has nothing to do with the earth. It’s all about planning. “
Conner said some Stapleton residents are considering creating a historic district to restrict neighboring municipalities extending their authority to the community.
“There have been discussions about the folks at Stapleton wanting to create a historic district because of the fear of annexation by Loxley or Spanish Fort and I think the goal here is just to alleviate some concerns that Spanish Fort try to reach and grab them. anyway, ”Conner said.
According to the proposal discussed in the working session, the planning jurisdiction of the Spanish Fort would not extend east of Alabama 59. The city would also limit its planning jurisdiction north of Bromley Road to areas already located. within the limits of the company.
City Councilor JR Smith said in other areas Spanish Fort needs to have a say in the development of the locations that will be part of the city in the future.
“If someone comes and builds a 20-lot subdivision, if it’s within a mile and a half of our corporate limits, they’ll probably end up being part of our city anyway,” Smith said. “Do we prefer that we monitor it or rather that we have no control or authorization if we want to end this?” “
City Councilor Carl Gustafson said the city needs to plan for development outside of the company’s boundaries.
“I think we can look to the future and at the moment this area is not developed,” said Gustafson. “There is no real cost to the city, but, yet, we have a lot of upside potential. So I would rather plan for the future and go for the upside potential rather than stay where we are. “
Cities can change their planning jurisdictions after the July 26 deadline if city and county authorities agree to the changes, Conner said.