Atlanta Forward readers responded to last week’s columns about the debate over land mass and development on Jekyll Island. (If you missed them, you can still find them at the Atlanta Forward link on the ajc.com home page.) Some selected comments:
Janice Arndel: The land grab on Jekyll is shortsighted. People go there for pristine nature and a relaxed, under-built atmosphere. Building it up and adding new footprints to the development plan destroys the island’s appeal. Right now, eyesore land lies fallow where old hotels, etc., used to be. Why not develop those first and not try to turn Jekyll into Hilton Head just to make a buck in the next five years? Come on, leaders, smarten up and do your job to protect Georgians’ interests — not corporations’.
Pamela Mueller: Well-thought out articles from both sides. The JIA has done some amazing things for our island. Yet as others have noted, we do need to keep the delicate ecosystem balanced. I think the following paragraph says it all: “Although the 65/35 law does not define ‘land,’ Georgia’s Coastal Marshlands Protection Act of 1970 is quite specific in distinguishing between uplands and marshes. Under that law, marshes are neither ‘land’ nor eligible for active use or development, except for strictly limited purposes.”
Chuck Diefendefer: I am pleased with the revitalization done to date but do not want to see Jekyll Island spoiled by over-development.
Joyce: Jekyll Island was donated for everyone to use and enjoy the beauty of this area. The Jekyll Island Authority continuously tries to develop every square inch of it. When they hear “no, it’s not developable,” they simply try another approach. The state of Georgia needs new JIA board members that want the best for Jekyll Island. The present members are greedy and want profit at any cost.
Chuck Murphy: The law is very clear: Marshes and swamps are not land, and JIA should not be trying to count them as such in order to increase the amount of land that can be developed. Yes, I do understand nobody can, or is proposing to, build in the marshes. But the changes JIA is proposing will work to the detriment of the ecology of the island and only diminish the special character of Jekyll.
Sawb: I have visited Jekyll a few times, and it is sort of unique compared to some of the other islands off the Georgia coast. Jekyll offers easy access to a truly wonderful natural resource while still being financially suitable to the average Georgian. Other islands are either difficult to access, overly developed or expensive, while Jekyll tends to strike a nice compromise. However, I will admit that often Jekyll lacked some of the amenities that are needed or at least expected. I welcome very limited development, but it should be done in a manner that preserves the natural beauty and allows the island to continue to be accessible to average folks.
Mr. Neutron: Mr. Garvey’s piece is based on a red herring. No one thinks the state intends to build “in” the marshland. But under 65/35, the day the marsh is declared “land,” presto, their buddies can develop another 600 acres somewhere else on the island. And if you’re wondering how big that is, Turner Field is about 17 acres.
The members of the state ethics commission, eager to bring order to one of the most disordered corners of state government, hired a “receiver” last week to heal their agency and then did they only thing they could.
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