Comment now on the 2020 revision of the
Jekyll Island Conservation Plan.
Comments due by November 20th.
Dear IPJI member,
Since 2007, IPJI has played a vital role in conservation planning for Jekyll Island. We know that it may be difficult for you to realize the impact your participation has had, but it has been significant and important not only to the protection of Jekyll’s environment but to maintaining the character of the island that we all cherish. We are now asking you to take the time to consider IPJI’s recommendations to the 2020 Conservation Plan Update and submit your own comments to the JIA.
Background
The Conservation Plan Update (CPU) has enhanced the 2011 Conservation Plan (CP) in various ways, including sections dealing with sea level rise, institutional sustainability, park-wide management, and the assessment of the environmental impact of proposed development projects. Particularly noteworthy is the expansion of the Special Protected Areas (SPAs) listed in the 2011 CP to include “any naturally vegetated land lying between the beach and leased parcels, roads, public structures, or so-designated public beach parks, not otherwise included as SPAs.” Additionally, the JIA should be applauded for the robust pubic input process it conducted for the CPU, which included video-taped presentations, meetings with stakeholder and technical advisory groups, and public comment opportunities.

While the CPU has some impressive features, there are still some concerns we believe should be addressed, most of which relate to the preservation of the natural character of Jekyll Island State Park in the face of development pressures.
IPJI RECOMMENDATIONS
Section 7, “Environmental Assessment Procedure” (EAP)
This section deals with the environmental impact of proposed development projects,
  • For the sake of transparency, explain how the EAP process works, including how project recommendations are formulated by the EAP team, half of which consists of JIA staff members.
  • Make the preliminary recommendations of the EAP team regarding projects under evaluation available for public review on the JIA’s website.
  • Post comments submitted by the public on the EAP’s findings.
  • Archive on the JIA's website all EAP final reports, along with public comments.

Section 7.1 “Special Protected Areas” (SPA)
  • This section should include a high-resolution map indicating areas of the island that are not subject to development.
  • There is ambiguity regarding whether the area between the beach and Beachview Road running from Shell Road to Oceanview Beach Park is included as one of the SPAs. For reasons that are unclear, this vegetated area, which provides a wide-open view of the Atlantic Ocean, is currently defined as “developed” in the 2014 Jekyll Island Master Plan. If this land is to be “specially protected,” then it should be reclassified as “undeveloped” and specifically cited as a SPA.
  • The 2020 Jekyll Island Golf Course Master Plan recommends converting 82 acres of the golf course into natural green space. The CPU should include a provision that prevents this area from being subject to development in the future. Designating this land as one of Jekyll’s Special Protected Areas ineligible for commercial or residential development would be a good way to secure this goal.

Section 5.2 Park-wide Management - Sea Level Rise
  • This section includes a recommendation to revise the Jekyll Island Design Guidelines to require, prior to concept approval, a sea level rise and coastal flooding resiliency analysis for evaluation by the EAP Review Team. This important recommendation should include a corollary stating that, resiliency aside, areas having exceptional exposure to storm events and sea level rise should be off limits for development or redevelopment.
David and Mindy Egan
308 Old Plantation Rd
Jekyll Island, GA 31527
Phone: 912-577-4655