While the city of Foley considers and works on a new land-use development ordinance, the council on May 16 voted unanimously for a moratorium on land development permits. It required a unanimous consent vote to suspend the rules and consider instituting the ban immediately.

“The new ordinance is an updated compilation of the other ordinances,” Environmental and Nature Parks Director Leslie Gahagan said. “This will streamline land development processes.”

The new ordinance leans toward environmental concerns and that will be reflected in the new ordinance, Gahagan said.

“After many years under the current development standards, this new ordinance will provide more stringent environmental standards for construction and post construction,” Gahagan said. “Several major changes are the increased green space requirements with the inclusion of active green space, sidewalks on arterial roads, wellhead protection, development of an escrow account for stormwater facilities maintenance and tree protection credits.”

Foley is growing as fast or faster than the rest of the county and is getting requests for single-family and multi-family developments.

“The increased development tested the existing ordinances and allowed staff to learn places where there was room for improvement,” Gahagan said. “This new ordinance is a culmination of four years of changes. This ordinance is also a grouping of multiple development ordinances in order to make the process more streamlined.”

With better rules in place, city officials believe the quality of developments will increase with the extra burden on the developers.

“The ordinance has several requirements that put a larger demand on the developer,” Gahagan said. “With our tremendous growth, this will require better developments for a more sustainable future.”

In other Foley housing news, on May 18 the Foley Planning Commission voted against a zoning change to allow a 150-lot subdivision on Wolf Bay Drive after several residents from the area voiced opposition.

The commission’s negative recommendation is just that, a recommendation. Any changes in zoning or ordinances have to be voted on by the city council which is not required to follow the commission’s recommendation. This case will come before the council at a later date.