Some beach erosion is seen on the southern spit of Sea Island where several building lots appear to have been affected in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Curtis Compton /
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Judge denies environmentalists’ request to halt construction at Sea Island

Developers of a coastal resort can continue building a barrier that aims to prevent beach erosion after a judge declined to halt construction while a lawsuit works its way through federal court.

A federal judge this week ruled that developers of The Reserve, a proposed upscale housing development on Sea Island, can continue to build the “T-head groin,” which they said would also protect the land from storm damage. 

The Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of environmental groups, filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers challenging the permit it granted Sea Island, saying the corps did not consider alternatives before approving the project.

The environmentalists had also asked the judge to halt construction on the groin.

The Reserve is an undeveloped home site overlooking the ocean on one side and the Black Banks River on the other. Developers have created eight 1-acre lots and set aside an additional 80 acres as a conservation easement never to be developed.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall still will consider the environmentalists’ challenge of the permit.

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