Friday, January 11, 2008

01/06 - Senator trying to alter plan for Jekyll

Date January 06, 2008
Section(s) Local News
The Brunswick News

State Sen. Jeff Chapman is trying to drum up opposition to plans that would eliminate two major beachfront public parking areas on Jekyll Island.

Chapman, R-Brunswick, says that's what will happen if the proposal to build new hotels and condominiums at the waterfront on Jekyll Island occurs. The paved parking lots north and south of the Convention Center will disappear.

He is asking individuals, groups and organizations to join him in keeping the $441 million beach village project unveiled by Linger Longer Communities from swallowing up the two parking lots.

"I'm responding to what they are proposing," Chapman said. "The condos and hotels that they want to build are in the area where people now have access to parking and can go to the beach at high tide, (where) there still is a beach. They're proposing to shove the people back and have on-street parking a mile away.

"I think that is unhealthy and I don't think it is in the best interest of people who want to enjoy their public beach on Jekyll Island."

Chapman said he asked about the possibility of moving the proposed Jekyll Town Center back from the beach during a recent meeting of the House and Senate Jekyll Island Oversight Committee.

"I asked them if they would consider developing west of Beachview Drive and not displace the public," he said. "They said they would get back with me, but haven't.

"They can go inland with that and let the people have a place to park and enjoy the beach."

Chapman acknowledges in a letter to The News that Linger Longer maintains that Jekyll Town Village will not interfere with public access to the beach but disagrees with that assessment.

He's asking those who agree with him to go to his Web site and sign his resolution.

"I'm trying to inform the public of what's going on, what's happening, and giving them an opportunity to participate in the process," Chapman said. "Here's a chance to let those folks know that this is important to you."

Chapman said he is still waiting on a ruling from the State Attorney General's office on the legality of the project. Among other things, Chapman is questioning whether the project, which includes some business-class accommodations, would be in violation of state law requiring Jekyll Island to remain accessible to average Georgians.

Ben Porter, chair of the board of the Jekyll Island Authority, which approved the Linger Longer development plan, said the project was designed with public access to the beach in mind.

"Mr. Chapman's comments are appropriate and reflect the Jekyll Island State Park Authority's past, present and future commitment to provide convenient public access to Jekyll's beach," Porter said.

"Open beach access, convenient parking and family-friendly amenities are key components of Jekyll Island revitalization. Access to the Jekyll beach will be improved and enhanced by redevelopment of the Jekyll Town Center."

Chapman's resolution can be found at

The resolution

This is the text of the resolution to preserve beachside parking on Jekyll Island that state Sen. Jeff Chapman wants people to support by signing it at his Web site,

"Be it resolved that, in view of the intent of Jekyll Island State Park's founding legislation and as recommended by the park's Master Plan, the present oceanfront parking areas and beach access points shall be maintained for the benefit and convenience of the general public, with special consideration being given to the needs of children, the elderly and the handicapped through the provision of family friendly facilities."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would like for jekyll island to stay as is. Suport your plan for jekyll. George Hudson Macon Ga.