Wednesday, March 26, 2008

03/01 - Legislative hurdles to Jekyll plan flattened

Date March 01, 2008
Section(s) Local News

The Brunswick News

A House bill that could have halted redevelopment plans for Jekyll Island has been dismissed for now by a committee in the lower chamber of the Georgia General Assembly.

Introduced by Rep. Debbie Buckner, D-Columbus, House Bill 1289 faced a hearing in the State Properties and Institutions Committee Thursday and was promptly returned to sender when members said they had too many questions about the content and impact of the legislation.

The proposed legislation called for stricter beachfront building requirements. Were it to be enacted, it would greatly alter the $341 million revitalization plan proposed by the Jekyll Island Authority and Linger Longer Communities, said Eric Garvey, senior marketing director for the Jekyll Island Authority, which oversees the state-owned island.

The bill was the last of four measures introduced in the General Assembly that threatened to derail plans for Jekyll Island's revitalization that a legislative committee repelled Thursday. Three proposed by state Sen. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, were struck down by a Senate committee.

The language in Buckner's legislation was strikingly similar to wording used in the three measures proposed by Chapman, who opposes the Linger Longer blueprints. All three measures were rejected by the Senate Economic Development Committee.

Buckner withdrew her measure, requesting that the House committee not vote on it. She said she wanted to rework the language.

The plan to revitalize the state park calls for new hotels, condominiums, a new convention center and town center.

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