Jekyll Island - 65/35 Defining Marsh Law
GreenLaw Supports Coastal Marshland Protection Act
Jekyll Island Master Plan will be greatly influenced by Georgia’s Attorney General’s opinion of whether marsh can be defined as “land”. Two ways to help preserve Jekyll Island with your voice are outlined.
Thanks to our client, the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island, for providing terrific action points to guide us in our supporter of preserving the island.
What’s at Stake?
At risk is the integrity of the 65/35 law. If tidal marsh is excluded from the land area count, Jekyll would be 3,816 acres in size. The Jekyll Island Authority (JIA), having concluded that marsh above mean high tide is “land,” is now claiming the island is 5,542 acres large, 35% of which would be eligible for development. This is a 45% increase in total “land” and it puts our valuable estuaries at risk of human encroachment. The attorney general’s analysis of the committee’s recommendation is underway now; a decision is expected soon.
How Can You Help?
1st: Write a brief note to Attorney General Sam Olens – firstname.lastname@example.org - indicating your SUPPORT for the 65/35 law and the land area recommendation of the Master Plan’s 65/35 committee. Be sure to include your name and hometown.
When writing, keep the following in mind:
- The 65/35 law applies to Jekyll’s land area above mean high tide. If the law intended to encompass the entire area above mean high tide, the word “land” would not have been used as a qualifier.
- “Marsh” is not “land.” The Coastal Marshlands Protection Act makes this clear.
- If marsh were defined as “land” in Jekyll’s case, the CMPA’s right to delineate Georgia’s tidal marshes could be compromised. The state’s marshes can’t be fully protected unless there’s a clear definition of “marsh” and where it meets “land.”
2nd: Post a brief comment on the AJC’s website in response to the article “Storm Brewing Over Jekyll Island Development”. Let’s inform the AJC and its readers that WE CARE about the JIA’s effort to count marsh as land when applying the 65/35 law.
The Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) has asked Georgia’s Attorney General for an opinion as to whether marsh can be defined as “land” and thus be thrown into the pot when adding up the acres subject to the State law limiting development to 35% of Jekyll’s land area.
The The Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) has requested that the Georgia Attorney General provide an opinion as to whether marsh can be defined as “land”. This request was prompted by a report recently issued by a committee of specialists and JIA staff members working on a new Master Plan for Jekyll Island State Park.
Among the committee’s recommendations is one saying that tidal marsh should not be counted as part of Jekyll’s land area when applying the 65/35 law. That recommendation, which is based on the legal distinction between tidal marsh and land that’s stated in Georgia’s Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA), was condemned by the JIA in its letter to the attorney general’s office requesting a review of the land vs. marsh issue.