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Developer claims controversial subdivision in Fairhope would help community

(IMG:WPMI) Fights brewing over Fairhope gully

The controversy over a proposed subdivision continues but the developer is now firing back at its critics.

Officials with the Fairhope Single Tax Corporation are speaking out about the project amidst a petition which calls for the city to shut it down.

The quiet piece of nature known as the Tatumville Gulley, or Big Head Gulley, is nestled away in a Fairhope neighborhood.

It's now the focus of a discussion about whether the land should remain as is or be developed into a multi-lot subdivision.

Lee Turner is the President of the Fairhope Single Tax Corporation, a non-profit which currently owns part of the land near the gully.

"We hired an engineer, one of the most environmentally sensitive engineers there is, to come in and do a subdivision for us," said Turner.

Turner says their plan is to develop several acres into a 10 to 12 lot subdivision and then acquire part of the gully for a water retention pond.

According to Turner, they will then donate the funds back into the community through other projects.

"We're paying $8,000 a year in property tax on this land which is coming out of the community. We'd rather be able to get this land, lease it and get it earning money for the community," Turner said.

But a number of locals have said no thanks.

Dean Mosher, a Fairhope resident involved in numerous projects for decades, told NBC 15 that he's against the project.

Mosher said the land, which has been protected for over a century, has a sensitive ecosystem and soil.

According to Mosher, construction could create disastrous problems, including an increase in flooding and erosion.

A petition against the project has now garnered over 2000 signatures and many have called for the Fairhope Single Tax corporation to donate the land back to the city.

"People act like we're down in the middle of the gully. We're not in the middle of the gully. We're up on high lands," said Turner.

But Turner says they've done their homework and the project would actually fix erosion currently happening.

"The city doesn't want a park there so why should we donate that land just to have it continue to erode into the gully? We'd rather fix the problem," Turner said.

This issue will go before the Fairhope City Council on Thursday at 6 p.m. and there will be public participation.

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