Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Fairhope Vacates Land for Personal Gain

"Almost never.", longtime Baldwin County attorney Allan Chason when asked how often a municipality vacates land to a private citizen. However, this is precisely what happened in December 2015 between the City of Fairhope and Dean Mosher. 


Mosher had long been a thorn in the City's side with issues pertaining to development and infrastructure. So when he came to a City Council meeting requesting the end of Oak Avenue be vacated and added to his Fairhope Single Tax leasehold, it raised eyebrows in the audience. What followed was a well rehearsed speech and a quick, unanimous vote with no discussion. 

Planning for that City Council meeting began months before with private discussions between City administration, Mosher and members of the Single Tax Colony. In the November meeting of Single Tax members, Dean stated he had worked a deal with the City to have Oak Ave. given to him and requested it be added to his leasehold instead of becoming an additional parcel and reverting to Colony ownership as precedent stated. 



Ultimately, the land was split between his leasehold and his sister in law's leasehold next door. County records now indicate the end of Oak Ave. has been vacated and the remaining portion is listed as "Not Used". The week after the City Council meeting when the land was given, Mosher walked around the property showing where he planned to build three rental houses while turning his current house into a museum.

As of publication, only current City Council member Robert Brown responded with a comment. He stated he would need more information as this happened before his time on the Council.