Jekyll Island Legislative Oversight Committee Reviews proposed master plan, supports “fixed-acreage” solution
Thursday, October 17, 2013 -JEKYLL ISLAND, GA – The Jekyll Island Legislative Oversight Committee met on Jekyll Island to gather information related to the proposed Jekyll Island Master Plan. In September, the Jekyll Island Authority Board of Directors approved a draft of the new plan which initiates a public review and oversight process. The proposed Jekyll Island Master Plan, authored by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, is the product of several years of public and stakeholder input and intended to set the course for the state-owned island for the next 15-20 years.
A key component of the master plan is the limitation on development. The Jekyll Island Authority Board approved a “fixed-acreage” solution intended to clearly define how much land can be used for future development. Using definitions proposed by a public task force, the island stands at 1,609 acres of development which includes golf courses, park space, bike trails as well as residential and commercial parcels. The proposed master plan limits future development to no more than 1,675 acres. Of the 66 acres available for future development, only 20 acres would be available for unrestricted use while 46 acres would be restricted to development specifically for public health, safety and/or recreation purposes. The remaining 3,855 acres would be protected as natural areas.
Establishing a fixed acreage limit resolves disputes about how to calculate the percentage and how to apply a percentage to a dynamic and ever-changing barrier island landscape.
“The fixed acreage solution is a common sense approach,” stated Richard Royal, Chairman of the Jekyll Island Authority.
“The Jekyll Island Authority’s focus is on redevelopment within existing footprints and has no plans to push development into natural areas.”
The Jekyll Island Authority has worked with the Georgia Conservancy, GreenLaw, the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island and other conservation groups to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution. Pierre Howard, President of the Georgia Conservancy attended the meeting and was recognized by Committee Chairman Ross Tolleson from Perry.
“We applaud Chairman Royal and the Jekyll Island Authority for listening, and the Georgia Conservancy is prepared to support the fixed-acreage solution as proposed in the new master plan,” stated Mr. Howard.
The Jekyll Island Legislative Oversight Committee will consider legislation to establish the new development limit in law.
“I remember coming to Jekyll Island as a child and it was full of families with kids enjoying the beach,” said Chairman Tolleson. “We toured the island today and saw a lot of the great things happening with revitalization which will bring Georgia families back to Jekyll.”
The technical revision to the proposed master plan will be reviewed with the Jekyll Island Authority Board when it meets for its regular meeting on Monday, October 21. A public hearing will take place Tuesday, October 22 starting at 6:00pm at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. The plan drafts can be downloaded online at jekyllmasterplan.org or jekyllisland.com. Public comments will be received until November 15th and will become an appendix to the final master plan. The Jekyll Island Authority Board is expected to adopt a final version of the master plan at its November meeting tentatively scheduled for Monday, November 18.