Orange Beach raises loan to Island Fiber to provide high-speed internet in its neighborhood



(OBA®) – Orange Beach, AL – Orange Beach increases loan commitment to Island Fiber from an initial $ 1.2 million in November 2019 to add $ 2.23 million for a total of $ 3.4 million at 17 Board Meeting August.

In addition, during the meeting, the council approved a plan for developers to convert Romar Beach Baptist Church on the Bay Area into a 76-room hotel operated by Marriott International.

With the Island Fiber resolution, the city “increases the city’s loan for Island Fiber from $ 1.2 million to $ 3.4 million to provide funds for additional construction, installation and deployment of fiber lines in the city to make high-speed Internet available to owners. and tenants of single-family houses within the city and the refusal to pay for a franchise for a period of one year, ”- says the city documents.

“We felt it was probably still the best thing to do for the city right now,” said councilor Jerry Johnson. “This should build a city. He’s already in Terry Cove and Cotton Byou, then all he has to do is go down to Lauder, Captain’s Cove and Beaver Creek. He’s a local guy and we have no complaints about the service when he gets it. We feel that this is still a good investment for the city, because everyone who has it is really completely satisfied with the speed and everything else. “

In a November 2019 agreement, the city agreed to pay Island Fiber $ 1,000 for each customer subscribed to, up to $ 1,200, or an initial $ 1.2 million. Island Fiber agreed to pay the city $ 5 a month for each customer on a quarterly basis until the amount is refunded.

Payments were supposed to start in May 2020. Johnson, chairman of the city’s telecommunications committee, said the plan was canceled because Island Fiber, owned by Mickey Franco, needed money earlier to be able to buy materials for the building.

“It was better for us to give him money up front because this is a capital intensive project,” Johnson said. “He already has over 600 registered people and gets somewhere around 60 percent penetration in every district he enters, which is double what I had planned. I thought he couldn’t get more than 30 percent. We decided to stay with him because we have no complaints.

“All this is on credit. He has to pay for everything the city does to him. Soon enough, he will start these payments. He is doing it right now, but we are going to shorten the term, and he will have to pay a large sum a month to pay off the loan. I think maybe it will be based maybe 10 or 15 years. It was 20, but we are going to bring it down to speed up the payback period. “

C-Spire is also in talks with the city to begin offering fiber in Orange Beach neighborhoods, Johnson said.


The project will add 127 beds in 76 rooms to vacation rental inventory and approximately 20.7 units per acre on the 1.8 acre site. Following the current zoning for the site, up to 170 beds could be accommodated, or about 76 units if the condominium were built on the same site. Due to the small size of the rooms – 600 square feet – there will be 38 additional units comparable to a condominium unit.

The existing building has five floors, and there is a two-level car park next to the church. The project will add 6,400 square feet to the third, fourth and fifth floors of the building above the garage, and construction will be 20 feet from the west line of the parcel of land, which is also a current lateral failure for the church. The city planning commission gave the project a positive result of 5–3 votes.

“It’s a zoning change, but it’s zoning down, not up,” said councilor Annette Mitchell. Mitchell is also a member of the Orange Beach Planning Commission.

Property owners in the west, Jan Boles and son Ben Boles, have spoken out against the project. Bole own several huge duplexes and houses in the neighborhood, and together they have about 68 bedrooms on their plot.

“This will be serious damage to our property,” Ben Boles told the council. “It will be five floors, and now it will be two floors from where our main houses are. This will obscure most of the view, a lot of sun. We just feel that it is wrong, and it brings more than what we have now. “

Jan Boles recently won a $ 3.78 million lawsuit against the city for building one of his 16-bedroom duplexes on the site.

This was the first reading of the amendment, which usually requires two readings unless the council has a unanimous agreement to suspend and review the rules immediately. The agreement was accepted and the amendment was also adopted unanimously.

At the next meeting, the council:

  • A resolution was passed declaring a car owned by the City of Orange Beach to be surplus and unnecessary, and allowed to donate said property to the Back Country Trail Foundation.
  • Decided to award Sun Coast Builders’ 5th fire bay relocation application for an amount not exceeding US $ 163,200. This is in order to build a fire engine compartment in a former public works building on the school grounds, where Station 5 will be temporarily located until a new permanent station is built.
  • Made a decision declaring the construction of Fire Station No. 5 at Wharf Mall, owned by Orange Beach, redundant and unnecessary, and authorized the sale of said property to Wharf Retail Properties.
  • A resolution was passed authorizing the purchase of two used cars for the police department from the Alabama Department of Economic and Public Affairs (ADECA) in the amount of $ 28,000. These are two 2013 Ford Explorer, one with 68,000 miles and the other 57,000, and cost 14,000 miles each.
  • Decided to provide funds to the South Baldwin Regional Medical Center to sponsor Staff Appreciation Days in the amount of US $ 1,000.

During the working meeting, the council discussed:

  • Order appointing Chris Callaghan as judge of the Orange Beach Municipal Court.

  • A prorated $ 3,333.33 decree to support the Safe Harbor Animal Coalition for the four months of 2021. City Administrator Ken Grimes said there will be $ 10,000 for Safe Harbor in 2022.

  • Baldwin County National Sojourners 531 Funding Ordinance to sponsor $ 500 local events to First Responders.
  • Resolution authorizing a single source to purchase a replacement pump for the Mariner Lakes lift station from Jim House & Associates for the utility department in the amount of $ 18,558.
  • A resolution authorizing the implementation of the Alabama Fire Chiefs Association Mutual Aid Consortium Agreement.
  • Resolution authorizing Rock & Roll Off’s to franchise solid commercial waste collection and disposal, and construction and demolition waste collection and transportation.


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