Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island
ACTION ALERT:

If there ever were a time to help protect Jekyll Island's beachfront, now is it!
Quite a statement, right?

Well, here's what's behind it:

THE BACKGROUND:
  • Last week, legislation (House Bill 271) was introduced to amend the method for determining the jurisdictional area of Georgia's critically important Shore Protection Act (SPA).
  • The landward boundary of the current SPA is the first occurrence of either live native trees at least 20 feet in height or a structure existing on July 1, 1979, when the SPA was enacted.
  • In 2013, the Georgia DNR argued for amending the SPA by establishing a 50-foot jurisdictional setback. That legislative proposal was eventually withdrawn, as the 50-foot setback was widely viewed as being insufficient.
  • House Bill 271, surprisingly, now calls for reducing the previously proposed 50-foot jurisdictional boundary to a mere 25 feet, as measured from either the landward-most dune, a shoreline stabilization structure, or the ordinary high water mark in cases where there are no dunes and no stabilization structure.
WHAT'S AT STAKE FOR JEKYLL ISLAND:
  • If enacted, there would be a net loss of State protection for the area of Jekyll's shoreline eligible for development.
  • The proposed changes would remove from the SPA's jurisdiction the spectacular, wide open oceanfront area between Beachview Drive and Jekyll Island's bike path running southward from the Holiday Inn to Tortuga Jack's restaurant.
  • Removing this area from the SPA's jurisdiction would clearly facilitate commercial/residential development of that coveted site.  
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
  • House Bill 271 will be discussed in the Natural Resources and Environment Committee on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week! Please email or call as many of that committee's members as you can.  Click here for their contact information.  Calling even one or two of the committee's members will help, but the more, the better.  Also call or email the bill's six sponsors. [Phone calls carry more weight than email, according to legislators we've worked with over the years.]
  • When calling, simply say you believe HB 271's proposed 25-foot jurisdictional boundary for the SPA is insufficient.
  • Indicate your support for at least a 50-foot, more protective setback from the landward-most dunes or from a shoreline stabilization structure, and at least a 150 feet setback from the ordinary high water mark in cases where there isn't a dune line or a stabilization structure. Readily available erosion data must be taken into account in these cases.
  • Make clear that scaling back by half the 50-foot jurisdictional setback initially proposed by the DNR in 2013 is irresponsible in view of the erosion impacting much of Georgia's shoreline and the importance of preserving our beaches, sand dunes and sand-sharing system.
NOTE: When telephoning the numbers listed, you will reach the legislator's aide. Say you are calling about HB 271, briefly state your views on the bill, and ask that they be relayed to the legislator.

Lawmakers need to know that citizens care about this bill and want it to provide more protection than it currently offers. As of now, no one is speaking out against the bill, and it's coming up for a committee vote! Quick action is therefore needed.
If you would like to have more information about the SPA issue, please feel free to contact us at degan1@bellsouth.net or 912-635-2167.

Thanks, folks, for going to bat for Jekyll once again!
David and Mindy Egan, Co-Directors
Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island State Park

p.s. If you are able to help out as described above, please let us know.
Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island | 912-635-2167 | degan1@bellsouth.net | http://www.savejekyllisland.org
308 Old Plantation Rd.
Jekyll Island, GA 31527