Sea Island should drop plan before case worsens
On February 7, 2014 two Letters to the Editor in The Brunswick News appeared from two concerned citizens. Although the letters are no longer available on The Brunswick News website, we have saved them for public record here.
I was stunned by the hubris shown by Sea Island Acquisitions attorney James Gilbert at the recent meeting of the Islands Planning Commission at which he defended the company's plan to develop a narrow and fast-eroding sand spit on the tip of Sea Island. Far from being a stable, 10,000 year-old part of the island, as Mr. Gilbert blithely claimed, scientific evidence presented at the IPC meeting shows the area is both youthful and fragile with an erosion rate that's already scary and is accelerating. Add to that the impact the project would have on the spit's marsh and beach front, sea turtle nesting habitat and endangered migratory birds who rely on the spit as a rest stop, and we're left with the poster child for where not to build along the coast.
No wonder the project is the target of a growing public protest -- even a "Save the Spit" Facebook page -- and may end up in court.
If SIA cares about its public image and being a good steward of the island under its care, it should drop this ill-considered plan before things go from bad to worse.
One hundred and forty-four visitors may lose their rooms! It looks like Sea Island Acquisitions LLC is going to turn away 144 species of visiting migrating birds and many Loggerhead turtles who nest there if Sea Island Acquisitions LLC obtains county approval for the eight building sites on the fragile spit of land at the south end of Sea Island. The piping plovers who use "the Spit" are on the endangered species list. They, along with the other 143 migrating bird species, need all the available rooms they can find for their feeding and re-nourishment for the journeys back to their winter or summer homes. The Loggerhead turtles need rooms as well for their nurseries. Since the birds and turtles don't have the necessary funds to pay for a nice room, they'll be turned away. Too bad for the birds, the turtles and for us.
Question: Why can't Sea Island Acquisitions LLC absentee hedge fund investors place this strip of land in a conservation easement? They'll certainly get tax breaks, and it will be one way of restoring Sea Island Acquisitions's lost "good will" of this community.
Jimmie Ann Abner
St. Simons Island
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