Monday, February 25, 2008

02/07 - Bills would crimp Jekyll development > Metro
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/07/08

State Sen. Jeff Chapman (R-Brunswick) again is making a pitch to fellow lawmakers to restrict development on Jekyll Island.

Chapman, whose district includes the 7.5-mile-long barrier island, introduced three bills in the General Assembly on Wednesday that would effectively quash major development.

The state-owned island is poised for hundreds of millions of dollars in redevelopment in a proposal that has angered environmentalists and some longtime residents.

During the fall, the Jekyll Island Authority selected Linger Longer to develop a $352 million "town center" project. The builder, based in Greensboro, wants to build 1,100 hotel, condo and time-share units along Jekyll's beach. The authority would cover $84.5 million in bonds for new roads, parking and a convention center. The project would be east of Beachview Drive.

Chapman said most Georgians want to preserve the island as it is. He said he wants "responsible revitalization:" rebuilding of old hotels that have fallen into disrepair and fixing of existing properties. He also said he wants construction built west of the coastal roadway so that Jekyll's public beach remains accessible to all.

Jim Langford, the project executive for Linger Longer, said Chapman's plan "is not reasonable or in the best interest" of the island. Langford said that Chapman is trying to derail the redevelopment proposal.

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