Orange Beach, Alabama, city logo.By John Mullen

February 7, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA®) – The Orange Beach City Council bought one parcel of land at its Feb. 5 meeting and announced it is making moves to acquire two others in an expenditure of about $2 million.

A deal working with The Wharf may allow for a land swap getting the city a parcel between the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach and the Wind and Water Learning Center. The proposal, if carried out, will give the city ownership of Wolf Bay waterfront from Waterfront Park west to the Adult Activity Center.

“It’s the waterfront property that adjoins our art center complex,” Mayor Tony Kennon said. “It will connect and all of that will be ours. It’s a really good win for us, I think.”

Intertwined in the transaction will be an extension of the tax rebate deal The Wharf received when it was built just more than 10 years ago. In the agreement, the development will keep 50 percent of the city’s sales and lodging taxes generated.

Tony Kennon Caption“We’ve got this complicated deal we’ve been working on for two years to try and redo their incentive package and take advantage of some things they didn’t get when we first did the deal,” Kennon said. “We’re going to extend it, the tax rebate. And we’re swapping some property. They’re taking a piece we own over at The Wharf and we’re getting some waterfront over there by the arts center. There’s just a lot of little stuff holding up the agreement.”

A parcel of land in east Orange Beach was purchased during the meeting. It includes several lots on White Avenue owned by Back Bay Condominiums and the city bought it for $390,000, according to city documents.

“That’s where we’re going to move the dog park to when we build out the marina campus with Auburn and whatever else we do,” Kennon said. “We’ll then move the dog park over to White Avenue.”

Back Bay still has lots fronting Canal Road at White Avenue that are on the market.

“There was like eight lots and three or four that are Canal front that we didn’t take,” Kennon said. “The price made it better to take the second tier back. You would turn onto White Avenue to get to the dog park. Back Bay kept the southernmost to increase their storage, we took the middle two and they’re going to sell the Canal Road frontage.

“By splitting it up we were able to negotiate a much better price per lot than if we had to buy it all.”

Lastly, the city is seeking to buy 81 acres on the Foley Beach Express just north of the Baldwin Electrical Membership Co-op office for $1.45 million. With the new Orange Beach High School and Middle School taking up land where the police department had a shooting range.

“We need a shooting range,” Kennon said. “Also, in the future, we’re going to need a debris site in case of a storm to sort debris. The odds of finding anything on the island anymore won’t be there the next time a storm comes through. We need it for that. It was a fair price for 80 acres that we can lay in bank and just see what we might use it for.

“It backs up to a large tract of wetlands that we hope one day will be a conservation area.”

Also, during the regular session, the council:

  • OK’d a liquor license for The Port at Zeke’s Marina owned by ZAS LLC which lists Shaul Zislin and Teresa and Carl Swafford as owners.
  • OK’d a liquor license for The Wharf Restaurant Group for Yaho Rum and Tacos and Boat Bar owned by Ginny and Lane Gilbert.
  • OK’d a liquor license for Doc’s Seafood and Steakhouse in the old FlipDaddy’s location. Richard Schwartz is the primary owner.
  • Passed a resolution to buy a vehicle for the police department for about $34,000.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing the Mayor to execute a purchase agreement for $238,000 in database software for the police department with Spillman Technologies.
  • Passed a resolution to buy effluent filter equipment refurbishment from Aqua-Aerobic Systems for the utilities department for $70,000.
  • Passed a resolution for medical services agreement for the Orange Beach Jail with Southern Rapid Healthcare.
  • Passed a resolution to buy a telescopic boom truck crane for the utilities department for $208,000.
  • Passed a resolution to buy a forklift for the utilities department for $41,000.

During the work session the council discussed:

  • A resolution to update the list of volunteer firefighters and reserve police officers covered under workers' compensation insurance.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a contract for law enforcement services with Baldwin County.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a voluntary cooperation agreement with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
  • A resolution awarding the bid for the Shoreline Stabilization and Boardwalk project.
  • A resolution awarding the bid for two vehicles for the Police Department.
  • A resolution authorizing the purchase of a vehicle for the Administration for $17,068.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a task order with Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc., for professional engineering services for the design, construction engineering and inspection of Lauder Lane intersection improvements at Canal Road.
  • A resolution in support of protecting local control over public streets and public assets and a call on Congress to reaffirm such local control by reversing recent FCC actions related to wireless facilities by enacting H.R. 530.
  • A resolution authorizing execution of a lease agreement for the police department with Williams Scotsman for a modular office in the amount of $57,000 for two years.
  • A resolution authorizing the purchase of a Debris Vacuum for the landscape department for about $24,000.
  • A resolution authorizing the purchase of a Bunker Rake for the landscape department for $23,000.
  • Appointing a voting delegate for the Alabama League of Municipalities Annual Convention in Mobile, May 4-7.
  • Approving an outdoor music permit for Live Bait restaurant on beach road.
  • Approving the placement of a temporary sales trailer for Phoenix Gulf Towers where Brett Robinson is planning to build 192 units on a gulf front lot.
  • Setting public hearings for a rezoning request at Lauder Lane and Pelican Place, an amendment concerning Canal Road setbacks, the Broken Sound planned unit development, a parking lot modification for The Wharf and Emerald Coast Marine at The Wharf. Suggested dates for all was March 12.