Friday, January 11, 2008

01/07 - Jekyll worries condos won't boost tourism

The Florida Times-Union
January 7, 2008
Times-Union Correspondent

JEKYLL ISLAND - Proposed beachfront condos on Jekyll Island are being designed for use by vacationers. But development watchdogs worry they could instead become part of an upscale condo village if restrictions aren't strong enough.

Were that to happen, it would go against the purpose of redeveloping the island, says David Egan of the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island.

"The point of these, the whole pretext for building the condos is we would boost island visitation," he said. "You're not going to boost visitation much if you have two owners sitting in a condo 52 weeks of the year."

In response to concerns, the Jekyll Island Authority, the island's governing body, has promised Jekyll's new condominiums will operate as condo-hotel units, not as residences.

"The intent of the Jekyll Island Authority is to ... maximize the use of any new condominium as lease and vacation rental property," said Ben Porter, chairman of the authority board.

The authority has required developers to physically design their condos to be attractive as vacation rental properties. Units must allow one room to be locked out for use as a hotel room, so owners can more easily rent them.

Also, the lease agreement between the authority and the hotel/condominium complex developer assesses a penalty if condo owners occupy their unit for an extended period during the six-month peak tourism season.

However, the authority does not actually require owners to place their property into a rental pool: That option is left up to the owner.

Those monitoring island redevelopment have maintained an uneasy silence over the hotel-condo issue until a November real estate promotion for the upcoming Trammell Crow condominiums reignited fears.

A news release announced that Trammell Crow's 127 condo units, called The Residences at Canopy Bluff, would be "the first new residential offering on Jekyll Island in more than 35 years."

Mindy Egan, co-director of the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island said: "You have to wonder what it means when the information going out to potential buyers is something that calls these vacation condominiums 'residences.' "

Mindy Egan said she called the real estate agent, Hodnett Cooper, for clarification.

"Pat Cooper told me, 'The authority cannot make the owner not live in something they buy. There'll be a surcharge and that will be the end of it,' " Egan said.

Developers' dream

Condominiums are a high-stakes issue with Jekyll Island redevelopment.

According to marketing director Eric Garvey, developers are keen toward building condominiums on Jekyll because they can turn around and sell these to private individuals for immediate profits.

"The developers would probably prefer to just build condos," Garvey said. "But we at the authority told them no, we want hotels. What we've done with the [hotel condominiums] is a bit of a compromise."

Trammell Crow's Buccaneer Hotel replacement will include 127 two-, three- and four-room vacation condominiums. Linger Longer Communities' town square center will include 277 condominiums. Unsuccessful bidders for the town square center project each proposed even greater numbers of condos.

Public's nightmare

On the other side of the issue, public opinion falls heavily against building new condominiums. A survey of more than 5,000 Jekyll Island visitors has shown than less than 10 percent favor new condominiums on Jekyll.

Sen. Jeff Chapman, who introduced legislation last year to prevent new private residences on Jekyll, said building condominiums that are used as private property goes against the grain.

"This is a state park. It's not private property," he said.

So far Hodnett Cooper is only taking $2,500 in refundable reservation money from those interested in the new Canopy Bluff condominiums.

Contract details won't be finalized until May, but Pat Cooper says the condominiums will likely sell as investment properties.

"Most of the people who have made inquiries have been investors. I've had 90 reservations so far, and I haven't heard from many people who want to live there," she said.

"You're in a hotel situation there, surrounded by other amenities. On July 4, when it's crowded, it wouldn't be so attractive for someone who wants to live there."

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01/10 - GOP leaders plan tackling taxes, water, health care

Gov. Sonny Perdue (right) was joined in his Glynn County stopover by House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (left) of St. Simons Island and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. Keen and Cagle said improving access to health care will be a priority in the next General Assembly session. DON BURK/The Times-Union

Ashley Knowles (from left), Kevin White and Madison Poston, all students from Golden Isles Elementary School, greet Gov. Sonny Perdue after he arrived Wednesday at Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport. The governor is touring the state to discuss the upcoming session of the General Assembly. DON BURK/The Times-Union

The Florida Times-Union
January 10, 2008
The Times-Union

BRUNSWICK - Gov. Sonny Perdue got a teddy bear from Glynn County schoolchildren before facing grown-up questions about the future of Jekyll Island and a proposed statewide service tax to fund school systems.

With Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Majority Leader Jerry Keen, R-St. Simons, Perdue brought his airborne pre-legislative pep rally Wednesday to the Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport. The stop was one of nine in the two-day flying tour in which Cagle and Keen discussed their unified agenda for the General Assembly, which convenes Monday in Atlanta.

Their news conference at the airport also drew local elected officials, community and business leaders and residents.

Third-grade students from Golden Isles Elementary School welcomed the governor, Cagle and Keen with warm applause. They also presented them with white teddy bears. The school's mascot is a bear.

The state leaders then walked into the lion's den of reporters and residents who peppered them with questions.

Noting the youngsters were Georgia's future, the governor prefaced his remarks by saying, "It took everything I had to leave those third-graders and come talk to y'all."

The governor sought to allay concerns from some residents and elected officials about the planned development of Jekyll Island, the proposed replacement of school property taxes with a statewide service tax and the state's new water plan.

"We plan to do nothing to damage the water supply or [natural] resources of Jekyll Island," said Perdue, responding to island resident Joseph Iannicelli.

Iannicelli asked why a water withdrawal study hasn't been done to gauge the impact the planned large-scale development could have on residents' private wells.

"I think it will drain a lot of wells," Iannicelli said. "I've seen no studies on the water withdrawal rates ... and I think a study needs to be done before any contract is signed."

The governor then tried to defuse criticism that a proposed oceanfront village overlooking the island's most popular beach will severely limit public access.

"There is no desire on anyone's part to limit beach access. ... We will not allow [public] access to be damaged, or limit the opportunity of the average Georgian to have access to the sea," Perdue said.

Perdue predicted difficulty in replacing property taxes with a sales tax on goods and services as a way to fund public education.

Although he supports the concept, Perdue said lawmakers need to be sensitive to the needs of local school districts and to the potential implications of such a tax switch.

Keen said they "look forward" to taking up the state's proposed water plan, which he said is needed to ensure the quality and quantity of the resource hard hit by the prolonged drought.

Health care, especially improving access to the trauma care statewide, is another top priority, Keen said.

Cagle said unity is essential to keep Georgia moving forward in health care.

He has advocated state grants to create "safety net clinics," where poor and low-income patients could get treatment for common ailments rather than go to hospital emergency rooms, which are more costly.

All three leaders also emphasized that improving education and transportation will be priorities.

"We want to provide real solutions for real people," the governor said.

Meanwhile, the fly-around drew flak from Democrats who chastised the Republican governor and majority leadership for wasting taxpayer money.

"This is just a great big campaign ad for the Georgia GOP, and the taxpayers are footing the bill," said Jane Kidd, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia. "It's this kind of government waste that is putting Georgia in a fiscal hole."

Kidd also said the fly-around "is still just a symptom of a larger problem - no oversight, no accountability."
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01/07 - Jekyll project may need environmental permit > Business
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/07/08

(Image left)Artist renderings of Linger Longer community proposal.

Contrary to earlier assertions, the company planning a $352 million project on Jekyll Island may need an environmental permit to build along the state park's shoreline, a potentially time-consuming delay.

Critics of the hotel-condo-retail plan greeted the news by demanding Monday that the Linger Longer project be scuttled and that the island's reconstruction contract be re-bid. And they vowed to tie up the permitting process in administrative, legal and legislative knots for the next two years.

"This whole thing wasn't handled properly," said Ed Boshears, a Jekyll Island Authority board member who wants Linger Longer's plans "radically" changed. "The problem goes back to the obsession with building new development on Jekyll and not looking at Jekyll as a state park. We should start over."

Ben Porter, chairman of the state park's governing authority, downplayed the criticism and said that the project continues apace without need to re-open the bidding. And a permit, Porter noted, could allow Linger Longer to build along the beach.

"I still don't expect it to have a great effect on Linger Longer's plan," he said. "People opposed to redevelopment of Jekyll can and will do anything to stop it. I fully expect to have a legal contest whatever we do."

Last September, the Greensboro, Ga.-based upscale developer was chosen to revitalize a portion of the 7.5-mile long barrier island. It proposes 1,100 hotel, condo and time-share units wrapped around a "town center" and fronting "a continuous beach-front promenade following the dune line," according to promotional material. The company also plans parks, walkways and bike trails lacing through the 64-acre project.

In a Dec. 27 interview, project executive Jim Langford said the development wouldn't trigger the Shore Protection Act and, therefore, didn't need a permit.

But when asked Monday by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Langford corrected himself and said Linger Longer will seek a permit if necessary.

The state law protects sand dunes, beaches, sand bars and shoals by limiting construction near the dunes. Exceptions — permits — may be issued if, for example, a builder maintains one-third of the development in a natural state. The state Department of Natural Resources will determine if a permit is necessary.

Langford awaits a surveyor's drawing before definitively saying what portions of the "town center" would violate the shore act. He admitted, though, that part of the to-be-constructed hotels, cottages, convention center and boardwalk could fall within the act's jurisdiction.

"We've never known where the line was and we still don't," Langford said. "But, remember, the jurisdictional line does not mean we can't build there. We can get a permit to do that if we meet certain requirements. This just adds another layer of complexity."

When it requested bids the Jekyll Island Authority didn't delineate the area that could be built on, an oversight that dismayed Boshears and other critics. The Authority will now survey the area.

"It probably should've been done," Porter said. "It's just one of those things that nobody got done."

Porter and Langford don't expect any significant delay if a permit is needed. David Egan, co-director of the nonprofit Initiative to Protect Jekyll, does.

"Even if they alter the plan for the better — which I doubt – they'll still likely need to go through the permitting process," said Egan. "That will the next battlefield."

State law requires 30 days public notice once a permit is requested. The Shore Protection Committee, a state-appointed body, then holds a hearing. An appeal to an administrative law judge could ensue; another hearing could follow in three months.

Egan and others would then likely make an appeal to a superior court judge with further legal entreaties to appelate and Supreme Court justices if needed. Portions of Linger Longer's project could be delayed two years.

Sen. Jeff Chapman, a Republican whose district includes Jekyll, has criticized the island's governing board for alleged "sweetheart" deals with another developer as well as for ignoring the state park's legislative mandate to remain affordable for "all Georgians." He blamed the Authority for the latest problem.

"Because of the board's consistent inconsistencies, I quite frankly think that the whole process should be done over," Chapman said.

Responded Porter: "Sen. Chapman is very good at criticizing; Sen. Chapman is not very good at solving problems. This is a complicated process. The end result will be a great product for the state of Georgia."

01/10 - Perdue backs Jekyll Plan

Date January 10, 2008
Section(s) Frontpage
The Brunswick News

Gov. Sonny Perdue told residents and community leaders during a pre-legislative session stop in Brunswick Wednesday that he is on board with plans to revitalize Jekyll Island.

Perdue commented on the redevelopment plan proposed by Linger Longer Communities and accepted by the Jekyll Island Authority but opposed by one of the island's own legislators, state Sen. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick.

Perdue spoke at the Brunswick Golden Isles Airport on the $441 million plan to revitalize Jekyll and on issues facing the upcoming session of the General Assembly with Lt. Gov.. Casey Cagle and House Majority Leader Jerry Keen.

"It's not the intent of anyone - certainly not mine - to limit anyone's access to public beaches," Perdue said, an obvious rebuff of Chapman and others who contend the proposal will cut off public beach access.

Access wasn't the only claim of opponents that Perdue rejected Wednesday. He also addressed affordability.

Foes of the plan, including Chapman, question whether proposed accommodations on the island will be affordable to average Georgians.

"Plans that I have seen will keep Jekyll Island affordable for the average Georgian," Perdue said.

Perdue, who appoints members to the Jekyll Island Authority, which approved the plan by Linger Longer Communities, said the project will be environmentally friendly.

"We don't plan to do anything to disturb the natural habitats and water resources of Jekyll Island," he said.

Perdue's visit to Glynn County was one of nine stops in a two-day tour of the state. Keen was filling in for Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, who was unable to attend because he was trying a case in his private law practice.

Perdue, Cagle and Keen said education, transportation and health care are three issues that will unify Georgia's leadership in the 2008 General Assembly, which begins the 40-day session next week.

"We're here to talk about the future of Georgia," Perdue said. "As a state we are very blessed. Georgia is one of the fastest growing states in the county. Last year we added more people to the population than any other state, with the exception of two larger states. That means there will be more opportunities and also more challenges.

We have to begin to plan better for right now and for the future."

One of the components for preparing for Georgia's future means making health care coverage more affordable and trauma care more readily available, the trio said.

"One concern I have is the lack of access to trauma care centers - particularly in this area of the state," Keen said. "We need to come up with a funding system for these trauma centers so that our residents have access to them. The state has never been positioned in a better place financially to meet those challenges."

The officials also stressed the key role education will play in Georgia's future. Cagle used the development of Golden Isles Career Academy, which he helped procure state funds for, as an example.

"We have to do things to ensure our future is bright - like focusing on education," he said. "I am very proud to have been a part of the Golden Isles Career Academy initiative. I want Georgia to continue things like the career academies to ensure that high school dropout rates go down - not up."

To ensure that Georgia's population and commerce continue to grow, existing road networks need to be strengthened - which means a heavier workload for the Georgia Department of Transportation, Cagle says.

"I am confident we can do 30 percent more projects on the same dime if we work efficiently," he said. "And right now, we have a new DOT commissioner who is focused on reorganizing the department to run more efficiently."

01/10 - Jekyll developer says Chapman wrong

Date January 10, 2008
Section(s) Local News
The Brunswick News

The man who's heading up the proposed multi-million dollar revitalization of Jekyll Island says Sen. Jeff Chapman has it all wrong.

The public will have just as much access to the beach that it has today when the new Jekyll Town Center is built at the waterfront, says Jim Langford, project executive for Linger Longer Communities.

Linger Longer is spearheading the $441 million development, which includes new hotels, a new convention center, shopping district and condominiums, for the Jekyll Island Authority.

Chapman, R-Brunswick, the only Georgia legislator who is speaking publicly against the Jekyll Island plan, is soliciting support for a resolution that asks the General Assembly to prohibit taking up the large asphalt parking lots on the front beach. He said reconfiguring the lots, as proposed in the revitalization plan, would deny beachgoers easy access to the sand and surf, he said.

"He claims that a proposed revitalization of a small portion of the island 'threatens to severely diminish direct access to virtually all of the park's main public beach.' To be kind, this claim is completely off the mark," Langford said in a prepared statement released Wednesday.

"Under the proposed plan, every current public access point will continue to exist and the beach will be as open as ever to all visitors. In addition, changing facilities and restrooms will be upgraded to further accommodate everyone, particularly day visitors."

Langford, noting visitation to the island has dropped by more than 47 percent since 1990 due in part to aging facilities and infrastructure, said the revitalization is designed to draw Georgians back to Jekyll.

He said Chapman's contention that the town center will block the beach is also not true, he said.

"In fact, the existing convention center currently blocks much of the view and it will be moved further inland under the plan," Langford said. "It is also important to note that of the nine miles of Jekyll beaches, the beach village site will border only about 4,000 feet, less than 10 percent of the total beachfront area. And every inch of this beach will continue to be just as available to the public as it is today."

Langford said eliminating the asphalt parking is the environmentally friendly thing to do. Runoff from the impervious pavement can cause beach erosion and pollution, he said.

"Under the revitalization plan, these unsightly and environmentally unfriendly lots will be replaced with over 2,000 parking spaces on porous surfaces bordered by trees," he said. "These porous surfaces will ensure that nearly 100 percent of rainwater is captured and reused in an appropriate way that protects the natural environment.

"In addition to the environmental improvements, parking will be spread throughout the town center and a short walk from the beach and other amenities. More than 700 of these spaces will be within a three-minute minute walk of the beach."

He said maps of the proposed parking can be found at

"The essence of the plan is to enhance access to Jekyll while adhering to environmentally sensitive design and construction," he said.

01/09 - Public needs Jekyll access

Date January 09, 2008
Section(s) Commentary
The Brunswick News

As Senator for District 3, I have often taken inspiration from the exhibit at the Georgia State Museum, which compliments "our past and present governors and our Department of Natural Resources for the excellent job they have done in keeping our coastline free from pollution, commercial exploitation and destruction," and for providing "thousands, of yet unborn generations, the pleasure of exploring and enjoying Georgia's seashore."

The spirit behind the Capitol exhibit is enshrined in the 1996 Master Plan for Jekyll Island State Park, which states that the park's "principal attraction is the accessibility it provides to an unspoiled microcosm of the coastal environment. It is this unique opportunity upon which all future plans for the island's viability should be based."

The above-stated emphasis on the value of accessibility to Georgia's coastal "jewel" should make the violation of this principle unthinkable, yet Jekyll Island State Park is currently the subject of a proposal that would severely limit direct public access to its main beach. The proposal, which envisions an oceanfront village to be built along nearly the entire span of the park's most popular beach calls for the elimination of four beachside public parking lots that service Jekyll's day visitors and those staying at off-beach locations on the islands.

The proposal's author, Linger Longer Communities, points out that only 63 acres, one percent of the island's total acreage, would be taken up by the town center. This same tract, however, runs along the beach which is most accessible to the general public at high tide.

Understandably, the public is upset over this controversial proposal. In a questionnaire administered to the park's visitors, including thousands of Georgians, 90 percent of the respondents said they want Jekyll's main beach to remain open, free of condos, and the like. Ninety-five percent of the participants in the Jekyll Island Authority's own 2006 Guest Survey responded similarly.

Linger Longer maintains that its Jekyll Village would not interfere with public access to the beach, despite its elimination of beachfront parking lots. JIA spokesperson Bill Crane, in denying the necessity of the beachfront parking lots, has stated that, "To put surface lots (there) is a waste of that land. It would be more desirable for hotels, retail space, and residences."

Given the above thinking, the question becomes, what can be done to preserve Jekyll Island State Park's long-standing tradition of accessibility to the general public? The answer comes down to Georgians speaking out with one voice on protecting the people's park to ensure that the planners abide by the original charter and current state law.

To give Georgians a convenient way to come together on this important issue, I am inviting local government agencies, church and youth groups, civic associations, and individual citizens to endorse the following Resolution:

"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." The Resolution can be either downloaded or endorsed online by visiting

Widespread adoption of the Resolution will provide a tangible means of showing where public opinion stands on the issue at hand. The people's Resolution can then be brought to the floor of the General Assembly, encouraging our state's elected leaders to take action to safeguard Jekyll Island State Park's founding principle of accessibility to all the people of Georgia in perpetuity.

- Jeff Chapman is the Georgia State Senator for District 3, which includes Glynn County.

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."

01/05 - Chapman ramps up Jekyll fight

The Florida Times-Union
January 5, 2008
Times-Union Correspondent

A resolution to protect parking on Jekyll Island's main beach appears headed for the General Assembly, and one senator is asking for a public voice vote to back it up with a new approach.

Sen. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, whose district includes Jekyll Island, has posted the resolution on his campaign-funded Web site, which advocates protecting direct beach access on Jekyll Island. Those who agree can submit their names, addresses and contact information as an endorsement.

Today, Jekyll Island visitors can park at one of four large lots overlooking the main beach. But a proposed oceanfront town-square center would cover that area with hotels, condos and shops and move the main parking a quarter-mile inland.

Chapman said that's just not right.

"Building high-priced beachfront condos will displace day visitors from the only beach on the island that is visible at high tide," Chapman said. "It goes against everything that is fair and reasonable for the rest of Georgians."

The state's redevelopment partner for Jekyll Island, Linger Longer Communities, asserts that its plans call for a new 88-space parking lot that, when combined with parking along new streets and in retail lots, will provide plenty of parking for day visitors. Nonetheless, the Jekyll Island Authority has expressed some dissatisfaction with Linger Longer's plans and asked the developer to make improvements.

Within the past year, Chapman has criticized other plans for Jekyll's development, which he said would turn the state park for "the plain people of Georgia" into an upscale resort.

In this most recent resolution, Chapman cites Jekyll's 1996 Master Development Plan, which affirms the island's principle attraction is its accessibility to an unspoiled portion of Georgia's coastal environment.

Protecting access to Jekyll's natural wonders should guide the island's development, that document states.

The Chapman resolution proposes that oceanfront parking areas and beach access points remain convenient to day visitors, with special consideration given to children, the elderly and people with disabilities. Chapman hopes widespread endorsement of the resolution will show other legislators where the public stands on this issue and bring the matter to the floor of the General Assembly for a vote.

If the resolution gains enough backing, it could provide backing for state legislation to protect Jekyll Island's beach access from development, he said.

Chapman said he hopes it won't come to that.

"If I were the Jekyll Island Authority and Linger Longer, I would do everything possible to make sure that is not necessary,'' he said.

Chapman has ridden other waves of populist support in his efforts to restrict development of Jekyll and to protect property owners from expansion of the government's power of seizure through eminent domain, but those were generated by more traditional methods of speeches, newsletters and contacts with activists.

Other legislators have created Web sites, and even a few have begun blogs. But capitol observers say it's unusual for a lawmaker to generate support through an online petition.

Veteran media consultant and political blogger Grayson Daughters of WaySouth Media in Atlanta says Chapman's success depends on his ability to draw attention to his Web site.

"The key about communicating online though is to get people to share the effort with you; thus, the petition [and I haven't explored the content of it yet] will work if you and your network actively distribute the petition through use of online, social media methods," she said in response to an e-mail inquiry.

She suggests using social-networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and e-mailings as ways to draw attention to it.

"Creating it is one step; sharing it is the next in the online context," she said.

From Chapman's standpoint, the petition represents a broad principle with a statewide following of people who would logically be easiest to reach online.

"This isn't just about Jekyll Island," said Chapman. "It's about protecting any state park from commercial exploitation."

Times-Union writer Walter C. Jones in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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