After several public hearings, the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to table a controversial proposal on manufactured homes.
Two other big issues before commissioners, meanwhile, were unanimously approved. County officials passed a new property standards code and an amendment to the solid waste ordinance.
The most controversial one of the three issues involved manufactured homes. It’s also the one commissioners have received the most comments about from residents during public hearings, including one held Tuesday night.
“In light of the discussion we’ve had tonight and some of the issues we have concerning this particular ordinance, I hate to kick the can down the road again, but I’m going to offer that we table this one for further discussion,” Commissioner Sammy Hall said in a motion.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kendrick Butts.
When commission chairman Henry R. Craig asked if of the commissioners had any questions during the discussion period, Butts asked whether a committee could be formed from different parts of the county to provide recommendations for commissioners on what they would like to have in such an ordinance.
The commission chairman asked Butts to coordinate with County Manager Carlos Tobar as to what his ideas are regarding the possible formation of a citizens committee.
Craig said after such was done that commissioners would then discuss the idea amongst themselves.
The next issue taken up by commissioners dealt with solid waste.
A motion was made by Commissioner Johnny Westmoreland to approve the solid waste ordinance. The motion was seconded by Hall.
When Craig called for the vote, all of the commissioners agreed to approve it, including Craig, Butts and Emily C. Davis.
Commissioners also approved the property standards ordinance.
Before commissioners voted on the issue, resident Julian Hood addressed the board during the public hearing.
“I would just like to reinforce that I’m for this, and I think we need to push forward with it; and I’d like to see it get approved,” Hood said.
Tobar told Craig before he called for a vote that the document that residents had seen previously was a little different.
“We have … recommended change for the abandoned vehicles,” Tobar said. “So, their preferred language is in the document.”
Hall explained that the original paragraph was worded as if the county would measure the grass of residents’ homes and determine whether the grass had to be cut.
“I felt like if we did away with that paragraph and put all the information in one paragraph, it would cover everything that we need to cover,” Hall said. “And so, that’s why I suggested we change it. We’re not going out to tell you how short your grass has got to be.”
Westmoreland later made a motion that commissioners approve the ordinance. The motion was seconded by Hall.
Before the vote was taken, there was a discussion period.
During that time, Hall again made several comments.
“I’ll say I’ve been the one that’s kinda been holding things back, because I am very concerned about people’s property rights,” Hall said. “But at the same time, we have a problem in Baldwin County that we have not been able to correct. I don't know that this will correct the problem, but we’ve got to get something on the books that we can work with and try to improve the situation we have here in the county.”
Hall said he believed one of the important components of the code would be complaint-driven.
“We’re not going to have somebody riding up and down the roads looking for problems,” Hall said. “We want to be reasonable, but we know there are situations and and some of y’all have seen that in the county that are just deplorable. And we’ve got to try to do something about some of those. “
He pointed out that if commissioners voted to approve such a policy, and they grow dissatisfied with it or have too many issues, they can amend it.
“It’s not going to be written in concrete,” Hall said. “So, we can amend it, and if we have to, we will.”