Mr. Alan Ours, Glynn County Administrator
W. Harold Pate Building
1725 Reynolds Street
Brunswick, GA 31520
Dear Mr. Ours:
This is to inform you that in recommending the development of the 15 acre parcel on Hamilton Road on St. Simons Island into a 125+/- multifamily residential community to the Island Planning Commission, the Glynn County planning staff was either negligent or grossly deficient. Having visited the site, I can only conclude that either,
1) the planning staff failed to conduct a site visit and accepted the owner’s (Gascoigne LLC, a Florida corporation) and the owner’s surveyor’s representations at face value
2) the planning staff, after visiting the site, chose to misrepresent conditions to the Island Planning commission as to the appropriateness of the site for development of any kind.
Had they provided an accurate description, the staff would have noted, among other things, that
a. the fifteen acres are currently operating under a surface mining permit from the Department of Natural Resources, which does not, however, allow for the dumping of soils, stumps and building debris that is going on
b. the contours presented by the surveyor/engineering consultant are obviously in error in that they do not accurately portray either the two pits that have been dug, or the 12′-15′ mounds of dirt that have been trucked in from elsewhere to elevate the terrain
c. the pits left as a result of the mining operation are being mechanically dewatered and the effluent is being discharged into a ditch along Sea Island Road, a ditch which, in turn, drains into the salt marsh at the gateway round-about.
d. the site is being used as a repository for hazardous wastes in ad hoc storage containers
e. the site is serving as a repository for broken down equipment, as well as operational Sea Island Company vehicles
f. excavated soils are being routinely delivered from off-site in vehicles that are not properly covered with mesh and whose tires are depositing dirt on public streets
g. in addition to sand, clay and soil, the excavata contain plastic pipe and other building materials suggesting off-site demolition debris is being trucked in
h. the stagnant water in the borrow pits is a source of mosquitoes, as are the multitudinous plastic containers littering the site.
In other words, the planning staff failed to inform that what is being approved for residential development is an unpermitted landfill and dump site where who knows what hazardous materials have been deposited and leaked over a considerable number of years. While the property is locally known as the “nursery site” because of its historical use to grow and propagate various flowering plants, bushes and trees to beautify Sea Island properties, worse management practices (WMPs) cannot be imagined and the property looks to have been a pollution source for some time.
Had the staff been conscientious, they would have made a referral to codes enforcement, the Department of Natural Resources, the Environmental Protection Division, the Fire Department and whoever is in charge of dealing with hazardous waste in order to set up a remediation plan before any development for residential uses can occur.
Please consider this a notice that much work needs to be done before the threats to public health and safety presented by this site are abated.