We are a group of concerned citizens, residents of Saint Simons Island, who care about the future of the island and want to do something to protect this wonderful place we call home.

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  • 11/17/09

  •     Monday, November 4th, our Board of Commissioners held a meeting allowing any and all residents of the county to speak of their desires regarding the coming changes in our zoning regulations.  The BOC has told us without equivocation that they will be the ones to decide what changes ultimately are made to our zoning laws. The good news is that close to 100 folks attended. Public comments went on for close to an hour.  By a show of hands, almost all were residents of the islands.  The bad news is that of the seven BOC members we expected to be listening, only two, Bill Brunson and Peter Murphy, attended the meeting.  In the past, the BOC has done what they think is best for us without our input.  This is a chance for them to listen to us and implement zoning changes we want.  I hope the changes they make are in line with what we have been saying.

  • 11/16/09

  •      At the public comment meeting held on November 4th., a past Island Planning Commissioner, Ed Meadows, said that despite BOC statements to the contrary, he knows from past professional experience that ordinance revisions can change zoning without being considered "taking" from landowners.  Fear of law suits resulting from "Taking" has been a prime reason stated for not changing zoning ordinances on SSI in the past.  PD zoning put in place by previous BOCs decades ago, currently allows high density development on SSII in locations that no longer can support high density development.  I would think that Ed's statement would allow the BOC to change this.  

  • 10/30/19  

  •     Thursday, Oct. 24th an overflow crowd of around 500 people attended a big screen showing of Lance Lipman and George Crains’ movie, Saint Simons … Surviving Success.  I was impressed with how many attended, even though this was held in the middle of the workday.  More so that the auditorium was filled again, an hour later, with people who were unable to get into the first showing.   This was my takeaway from the event and comments that followed: 

  •      While hundreds of people attended this showing and also Peter Murphy’s town halls, only ten or twenty typically attend the county meetings that decide our fate.  If we do not participate in the discussion about the future of the islands, our board of commissioners will do what they think is best for the islands without our input.  Representatives speaking at county meetings for a large group of people would make a difference.  One specific set of groups that would have a vested interest in attending are Home Owners Associations.  Will concerned home owners go to their HOAs and get this started?.

  •     When attending county meetings, we should tell the board what we want rather than complaining about what is wrong.  For instance, complaining about future traffic jams on Frederica Rd. might result in removing trees and four-laning Frederica, when that is not necessarily what we want. 

  •      One possible solution suggested at the screening was an overlay of the islands with ordinances created for this overlay only applicable on the islands. 

  •      The next opportunity for us to be heard will be on November 4, 2019 between 5:30 and 8:30 PM at the Brunswick-Glynn County Library, 208 Gloucester St.  This meeting is about future ordinances and will encourage our comments.

  •      10/12/19:  A suggestion has been made by the advisors rewriting our county ordinances that to control density, it could be possible to phase out future Planned Development (PD) zoning.  PD zoning allows land owners to have special zoning on their property which is different than the zoning of the land surrounding their property, often allowing them to have higher density development on their land than the surrounding area.  Also, a sunset clause might be put on existing PD zoning, bringing the land back to its original zoning if the land is not developed as specially allowed by the PD exception within a reasonable period of time. If the county does not adopt this concept, a municipality could. 

  •      10/12/19:  As it currently stands, forest and agriculture zoning allows the owner to put in a subdivision on Forest and Agriculture (FA) zoned land with 1/2 acre lots.  To control density, it was suggested to change the language of this zoning to either eliminate subdivisions in FA zoning, or replace the size of the lots to something like two acre lots or more.  If the county does not adopt this concept, a municipality could. 

  •      10/05/19:  On October 5th, 2019, TSW (the company our Board of Commissioners has hired to rework our outdated zoning ordinances) held a meeting with the public at the casino.  This meeting was an opportunity for the public to suggest specific ordinance changes which might reduce the density of future development on the island.  High rises were one of the topics discussed.  Only 65 people attended the meeting. Thankfully, many residents had contacted TSW prior to the meeting, possibly due to earlier posts about high rises on the island, and TSW said in this meeting that high rises were off the table for their recomendations.

  •    10/02/19:  Past Board of Commissioners member Dale Provenzano, and current member, Peter Murphy derided the communication about potential height increases and high rises as a "false post", effectively discouraging people from going to an Oct 5th meeting related to zoning changes on the island.  It is unclear why, despite a planning commissioner suggesting a revisit to the idea of higher buildings inland on the island, that these two felt a planning commissioner’s suggestion should be ignored as irrelevant.  Several Board of Commissioners members, but not all, stated that they are against high rises on the island.  The planning commissioner in question was appointed by one of our Board of Commissioners.  His stand on increasing the height of buildings on the islands is unknown.

  •     9/24/19:  On September 24th, 2019, in a county planning commissioners' meeting, one mainland planning commissioner, appointed by a member of the Board of Commissioners, suggested increasing the height limit of buildings built inland on the island.   As the current height limit is three stories and because of his suggestion, a post went out letting people know that a potential topic of concern to be addressed at a meeting on Oct. 5th. was high rises on the island as well as other island zoning changes.