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Previous coverage of this issue can be found hereand here.
Now it becomes obviously helpful to have legal beagles on call.

Coastal Groups Challenge Sea Island Spit Development

February 20, 2014 - The Altamaha Riverkeeper and the Center for a Sustainable Coast filed a challenge today to the Glynn County Islands Planning Commission’s (IPC) procedurally flawed approval of zoning ordinance amendments that allow construction of a dangerous and ill-advised subdivision on the southern end of Sea Island, also known as the “Spit.” The environmental protection groups are represented by GreenLaw senior attorney, Steve Caley.

At its January 21 meeting, the IPC approved a preliminary plat submitted by Sea Island Acquisition to subdivide an eroding area of the Spit at the southern end of Sea Island into eight lots. The IPC’s action generated widespread public concern and opposition, including a “Save the Spit” online petition which has over 750 signatures, with more being added daily.

The groups assert that the Glynn County Board of Commissioners have a legal duty to act in this case because the IPC’s action includes the approval of amendments to the Glynn County Zoning Ordinance that allow the construction of a road and two bridges through valuable marshland, hasten the destruction of an area that has eroded 100 feet in the past 10 years, encourage home building in an area that is not eligible for federal flood insurance, create a public safety nightmare with only minor storm activity, and destroy critical wildlife habitat for sea turtles and birds.

“Approving this project would set a dangerous precedent by allowing development in an extremely fragile and hazardous area,” says David Kyler, Executive Director of Center for a Sustainable Coast. “It would impose unfair and unwise burdens on the public and surrounding property owners.”

“With the current rate of erosion that is only expected to increase with rising sea levels, the already narrow Spit is eroding much faster than any other shoreline in the area,” says Caley. “Moreover, one of the lots in this proposed subdivision is barely above water under normal conditions – one to three feet above mean sea level. The time has come for the Board of Commissioners to send a strong message that passing zoning ordinance amendments under the guise of approving a preliminary plat in order to allow such irresponsible development will simply not be permitted any longer in Glynn County.”

Deborah Sheppard, Executive Director of the Altamaha Riverkeeper (ARK), stresses the importance of public engagement in the process. “We are calling on the Glynn County Commission to overturn the actions of the IPC and hold a properly noticed public hearing to fully consider the implications of this proposed development. ARK encourages citizens to contact the members of the County Commission and IPC to voice opposition to developing this fragile ecosystem,”says Sheppard.

The groups’ hope is that the Board will act to preserve the last remaining pristine area on Sea Island and reject the zoning ordinance amendments that allow the proposed development.

Interested parties who want to follow the issue, please like the Save the Spit Facebook page and spread the word on Twitter using the #savethespit hashtag.

Please contact the Glynn County Board of Commissioners, listed below, to voice opposition to developing this fragile ecosystem.
Language you can use: We ask that you overturn the recent action taken by the Glynn County Islands Planning Commission (IPC) to approve ordinance amendments to subdivide an extremely fragile eroding portion of the Spit at the southern end of Sea Island into eight lots.

Michael Browing, Commissioner for District 1

Dale Provenzano, Commissioner for District 2

Richard Strickland, Commissioner for District 3

Mary Hunt, Commissioner for District 4

Allen Booker, Commissioner for District 5

Clyde Taylor, Commissioner At-Large, Post 1

Bob Coleman, Commissioner At-Large, Post 2

Thank you ! Please support ARK's work by making a donation at

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Comment Preferences

  •  Although it seems incredibly stupid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to build on a rapidly eroding sandspit in an era of rapid sea level rise, if the homes would not be eligible for (federally subsidized) flood insurance it is hard to see how this would place a "burden" on the general public.

    Caveat emptor - If someone want's to risk their own money building here, it seems like their business. It isn't like a bank will finance it if they can't get flood insurance. If the homes wash away - if the people foolish enough to live there take the "Darwin award" - what business is it of anyone else's?

    Unless the real objective is to preserve private property for public benefit, such as aesthetics - as "The groups’ hope is that the Board will act to preserve the last remaining pristine area on Sea Island" implies. In which case the public should buy it, not force the owners to provide this benefit.

    •  We do forget that, in the beginning, the (2+ / 0-)

      American continents were shared by people who had wandered here and made no claim of ownership. It was the exploiters from the East who set about removing the indigenous populations and vegetations and parcelling out property rights to placate their vassals. Even then, the land was held in common, until the formation of the several states, which then took over the task of distributing property rights.
      That there was a general omission and the responsibilities of ownership weren't spelled out is unfortunate. However, even with the right to sell a claim to land for currency, which the federal government issues, implies certain conditions which need to be respected.
      Frankly, while we may have sympathy for the citizens of Japan whose houses got washed away and end up on American beaches, the detritus is both hazardous and irksome. Ditto when hurrican Sandy washes New Jersey out to sea. Especially now that so many materials are inorganic, the detritus represents a burden on the community and the environment.

      Why do we have to buy back what was once ours, and with our own money to boot?

      by hannah on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 12:29:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do support the rights (0+ / 0-)

        of indigenous peoples to their land. However, you must realize that this threatens the very foundation of Western civilization. Which doesn't bother me, but we can't have it both ways. Either the government is legitimate, or it is not.

        If we are to return all property rights to the indigenous peoples, fine - I'll go with that. But to deny a single owner the protections granted to every other citizen by this government  that has been imposed on us would be patently unfair. Thus, unless all is to be returned, we cannot single out one individual and say they alone must pay the price of this vast injustice. Particularly when the intent is NOT to return it to the original inhabitants. In a case such as this, the very government that took and distributed the rights to the property in the first place must compensate those that have relied on this governmental action if they wish to rescind it.

        •  The "price" now is as worthless as the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          beads with which the Europeans vouched for their good intent on Manhattan island.
          Currency, ownership and jurisdictions are all figments of the imagination. Stuff we make up to suit our fancy. And what we make, we can also unmake. The makers.

          by hannah on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 08:03:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As I said, I am not opposed to unmaking it. (0+ / 0-)

            As long as it applies to everyone, everywhere. But to single out a particular individual and say "we are going to "unmake" the benefits of our society for you and you only, while retaining those benefits for ourselves" is grossly unfair.

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