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Gulf Shores RV Park Plan Nixed; Now What?

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April 23, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

Developers who planned an upscale RV park on the Intracoastal Waterway off Baldwin County 4 on Alabama's Gulf Coast have purchased the 26-acre, bank-owned site for $2.5 million, but canceled the project.

The Wakefield Plantation RV Resort & Marina, proposed for the former Bon Secour Village marina site, had drawn opposition from neighboring landowners and businesses, including Lucy Buffett, owner of Lulu’s at Homeport Marina, the Mobile Press-Register reported.

"We’re looking at all our options," Paul Stewart, one of the development partners, said on April 20. "We think it’s a special piece of property."

Lots for recreational vehicles have not been ruled out, he said.

"We’re stepping back and will work with the city to come up with something that Gulf Shores wants," said developer Steve Hicks. "They have a vision for the area, and it may include some RV lots or it may not."

He added that the "tug-of-war is over" with adjacent landowners.

When the motorcoach park was planned, the biggest outcry came from Charter Landing, a company that last April paid $4.5 million for former Bon Secour Village property on the south and north sides of Baldwin County 4. The Charter Landing purchase includes 4,000 front feet on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Charter’s Ken Montgomery had called Wakefield Plantation "a trailer park," that would not fit well with his company’s plans to develop the land as residential, office, retail and possibly a single-family retirement community.

"I’m glad they tabled it," Montgomery said. "And I’m glad they bought the land. They will probably subdivide it into residential lots, which I think is the best use for it."

The Planning Commission had a 4-4 vote on the project last month. Developers pitched the plan at the city council’s work session last week.

The Wakefield partners had modified their plans — restricting use to Class A motorhomes, increasing the lot size to 3,200 square feet; reducing the number of lots from 110 to 92; eliminating an amphitheater and adding a charter boat office and seafood market. A restaurant and 16 cottages for sale or rent had also been planned.

The city planning department had recommended the project’s approval after the modifications.

Charter’s attorney, Dan Blackburn, told the city that if the RV park was approved, his clients would not be donating any of the Bon Secour Village land to the city as had been discussed earlier.

"This is the gateway to Gulf Shores’ northern growth," Blackburn said. "Is this really a bright spot you would want to put there?"

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