Once upon a time, it was suggested that Glynn County, as guardian of the Golden Isles of Georgia, adopt a fifty foot building setback from the high water line in order to preserve the shoreline of the islands in its natural vegetated state. Of course, the electeds would do no such thing, since such regulation might interfere with how many dollars their land speculating buddies could extract from the rubes they can still entice to buy near underwater lots.
However, it might well not have made any difference because the regulatory geniuses at the Coastal Resources Division of the Dapetment of Natural Resources, whose mission is to preserve resources for future exploitation (not unlike putting up strawberry preserves for Christmas dinner), still do not know where marshland begins and ends. Perhaps it depends on whether their feet get wet when they stick in their little flags. Perhaps the CRD cannot afford to hire trained botanists and that accounts for why they cannot tell the difference between a swamp, a saltwater marsh, a freshwater marsh and seasonal wetlands needed by frogs and toads to reproduce.
Comp plan critique
Character areas are not in parallel construction, some are place/subdivision names, some describe vegetation, some are directional, some refer to land use. For example, the designations of Brunswick, Jekyll Island and Sea Island have nothing to do with character. Two are politically distinct areas and and one is just a subdivision.
Now, if one consults the color-coded accompanying map, it becomes obvious that the designations are not only inappropriate and confusing, but the underlying planning principles are being wrongly applied. For example, calling the airport and surrounding public lands, including the historic Brunswick/Altamaha Canal an “employment center” which seems to be a euphemism for light industry, and locating it immediately adjacent to residential uses is inappropriate.
More egregious is the falsification of the dimensions of the Sea Island subdivision to include the Coastal Marshlands.
This is our whalerock in New Hampshire, also known as a “glacial erratic” because, having been rolled and tumbled by the glacier, it was left behind, along with other, smaller rubble, when the glaciers retreated north. The smaller rubble is what the frost continues to unearth and what farmers have, for several centuries, piled up as “walls” to define the boundaries of their properties.
While Glynn County has incorporated the state of Georgia’s Erosion and Sedimentation Act (O.C.G.A. Chapter 12-7) into the building code, that is probably an inappropriate limitation. The state’s intent is obviously to address any soil disturbance other than normal agricultural and forestry practices. But, Glynn County has conveniently washed its hands of soil disturbance by shifting plan review to the Satilla Soil and Water Conservation Board and ignoring follow up inspections entirely.
Self-centered people suffer from a kind of myopia. Whatever protects/serves them is good; everything alse is a threator bad. That is how the snail darter became an ogre. It interfered with somebody’s plan to make a buck exploiting the environment.
Here on the Coast of Georgia, it’s the marshes that are anti-environmentalists’ target. All that is require is to drain off the water and mow down the tender grasses to get that manicured front lawn effect.