Park Developer Sidesteps Proper Channels
County officials will be working to force a landowner at Lillian Beach Subdivision in Bay Minette, Ala., to abandon construction of a waterfront recreational vehicle park they say violates zoning regulations, the Mobile Press-Register reported.
Baldwin County commissioners voted last week to pursue enforcement including a lawsuit in Baldwin Circuit Court, if needed, to stop William Patterson of Robertsdale from setting up the RV park.
Several Lillian Beach Subdivision residents told commissioners during the July 20 meeting they are angry about the ongoing construction in their neighborhood. They say it will damage already suffering property values.
“This guy purchased the vacant lots a few years ago, had them for sale, then reduced the price and was still unable to sell, so now he’s making it into an RV park,” said resident Bill Wolf. “I’ve been a resident here over 60 years and my property value will suffer as a result.”
Resident Mary Bush said she watched as the lots near hers were bulldozed flat, electrical boxes added and a “huge sewage grinder box” installed. She said she “strongly opposes” the development in her neighborhood.
“An RV park might alleviate his problems,” Bush said of Patterson, “but as a result our suffering is increased. If he can do this, there is no neighborhood in Baldwin County that is safe.”
Commissioners held a closed meeting for more than 30 minutes to discuss “the good name and character of an individual” and “pending litigation” before returning to the meeting to vote to give staff the authority “to enforce all applicable laws” by any means necessary “including litigation.”
Planning and Zoning Director Wayne Dyess said his department had sent multiple notices to Patterson about the property in Planning District 22 that is zoned for single-family residences. The development was inspected June 7, county records show, and a letter was sent June 14. The letter asks Patterson to “cease all additional work” and submit a land-use certificate to the department by June 29. That never happened, Dyess said, and work by the owner continued.
Fines for not complying can total $150 a day — that would be $3,900 through today.
Another letter went out to Patterson on July 6 warning of the fines that started accruing on June 30. Late last week, officials said, Patterson still had not responded.
Records show Patterson did get a permit to add an electrical box, but said it was for construction of a residence at a “future home site.” Photographs show multiple electrical boxes installed for RV sites on the property.
Dyess said officials will make every attempt to convince Patterson to voluntarily comply, but if he does not, the case will likely end up in Circuit Court.
A woman who answered the phone at Patterson’s business said he would be out of town until Monday and was unavailable for comment today.