Brunswick News - Letters to the Editor - March 28, 2014
Citizens write into The Brunswick News following the Public Information Forum
After a standing room only information forum held on St. Simons Island on March 24, 2014, the citizens of Glynn County made themselves heard loud and clear through the Letters to the Editor section of the Brunswick News that they are unhappy with the current development proposal for the "Spit" on the southern tip of Sea Island. Below are the letters that made it into the Brunswick News. View scan of publication
Citizen advises officials to reject spit plan3/28/2014
I attended the Monday "Save The Spit" meeting at the island casino building and am now even more convinced that rejecting the proposed Sea Island Company residential project is the right thing to do.
Since the 2004 rezoning action made no mention of developing the spit, the county commissioners have the authority to take such action. But even beyond the legality of the issue are the indisputable facts that this small spit of land is extremely fragile, that it is subject to past and present erosion and that it is home to numerous species of threatened birds and animals.
If this land is not worthy of protection, then what land is? I urge our commissioners to reject this ill-advised development.
St. Simons Island
Spit disregards public interest3/28/2014
I don't know what the County Commissioners who attended Monday's public forum on the Sea Island Spit project learned from the meeting, but here's what I took away from it:
The Spit is fast-eroding, so quickly that it's the equivalent of barrier island quicksand. Glynn County tax maps on display at the forum prove this is so.
The Spit project is being pushed in reckless disregard of the public interest. That alone should be, but apparently hasn't been, sufficient for County Commissioners to review this irresponsible project.
County Commissioners Dale Prozenzano and Clyde Taylor, who were at the meeting, seemed reluctant to voice an opinion. They apparently feel there are Spit-related legal technicalities, each of which were dispelled during meeting, in need of further consideration. But, while our commissioners dwell on the fineries of already-documented zoning violations, Sea Island Acquisition continues to pull strings to push the Spit project and harm the public interest along the way.
In that regard, our commissioners should recall that we, the citizens of Glynn County, have placed our trust in them to do what's right for our community, not only, but especially, when pressured to do otherwise by powerful private interests.
Citizen wants new public hearing on spit3/28/2014
I am asking that the commissioners take a new look at the planned development authorized in 2004 that had nothing to do with any form of development on the spit. I would like for the commissioners to take a look at the 2004 plan approval to determine if the spit was part of that approved plan. We firmly believe that it was not a part of the plan back in 2004.
Further, we believe the Island Planning Commission erred when they approved the plat that came before them recently because it consisted of major land use changes that they are not authorized to approve. When the IPC approved this plat, they were not totally at fault. This fault truly lies at the feet of the Glynn County Planning and development level by not giving all pertinent information to the IPC regarding the 2004 plan not pertaining to the spit for development.
Commissioner Provenzano made the comments about they were willing to listen but only after the other government agencies weigh in. Make no mistake about this, the only government authorized to weigh in at this time are the Glynn County commissioners.
I am requesting a new public hearing regarding development of the spit.
Citizen hopes commissioners don't 'pass the buck'
Monday evening's meeting about the spit was very informative. I was glad to see Commissioners Taylor and Provenzano there.
I hope Commissioner Taylor had an open mind to what he heard and will use the knowledge he gained at the meeting to convince the other commissioners of the legitimate reasons to hold a public hearing on this issue or to send it back to the planning board for proper handling. It appears to me that county staff did a poor job in advising the Island Planning Board on this request, creating confusion about the 2004 PD approval and what it included, and downplaying items in the changes to their text that did amount to zoning changes. If mistakes were made at that level, the time to correct them is now, not later.
Commissioner Provenzano also needs guidance. At the meeting he asserted that the county will not act on the spit issue until all state and federal agencies provide their "findings and facts." He should know that these agencies do not even look at a project like this until it has approval from the local government. This looks to me like a cowardly way to conveniently pass the buck.
It is time for the commission to say, "The buck stops here." The question is, will they do it?
St. Simons Island
Facts on Sea Island spit speak for themselves3/28/2014
As the hundred-some people attending a recent meeting held at the St. Simons Casino found out, there are major discrepancies surrounding a controversial project proposed on the south end of Sea Island, improperly approved by the Islands Planning Commission in January. At the meeting, GreenLaw attorney Steve Caley presented an authoritative and well-researched series of facts about the history of a 2004 "planned development" rezoning on Sea Island.
According to official records related to explicit requirements of the county zoning ordinance, not only was the current project not mentioned as part of the area affected in the published public notice, but the concept plan approved for the PD excluded the 7-acre site from the mapping of proposed development for the entire project.
As a result, on behalf of two environmental groups, Center for a Sustainable Coast and Altamaha Riverkeeper, GreenLaw is asking county commissioners to hold a public hearing on the matter.
In the 37 years of my experience as a professional environmental planner and advocate here on Georgia's coast, I've never witnessed such significant errors in administering a zoning ordinance. There is utterly no doubt that the proposed project on a fast-eroding strand of land, known as "the spit" at the south end of Sea Island, is in violation of the zoning ordinance and must not be allowed.
Surely the facts speak for themselves. I urge fellow concerned citizens to join me in asking county commissioners to hold a public hearing on this important issue.
St. Simons Island
Commissioners will violate oath if spit approved
The County Board of Commissioners is duty-bound to protect the public interest, yet the Sea Island Spit project, which is as far removed from the public interest as Satan is from sainthood, remains off limits for the Commission. Why?
I know that Commissioners Provenzano and Taylor said at Monday's jam-packed public meeting about the Spit project, they're still gathering information about this issue and will do what's right when the time comes. Well, if that's true, they should simply read the documented evidence showing the zoning violations that nix the project, the 2004 rezoning notice that does not even include the Spit, the planned development document approved by the 2004 Commission showing no plans for any development of the spit, and the county's records showing the Spit is rapidly eroding and unfit for development.
You don't have to be an Einstein to realize that Sea Island Acquisition is trying to pull the wool over the commissioners' eyes and sell Spit lots before they disappear. Claiming the Spit is stable, as SIA has done, is just plain wrong, but I guess that's the only way to hoodwink buyers into paying big bucks for Spit lots that will be ocean-covered in coming decades.
For me, if commission members allow this project to move forward in defiance of the public interest, they will have violated their oath of office and forfeited their right to serve the public.
Bonnie E. Newell
- See more at: http://www.green-law.org/save-the-spit-lte-brunswick-news-march28#sthash.7VOxxTsa.dpuf