The Anschutz Proposal

JULIAN SMITH’S COMMENTS DURING THE JULY 21ST 2020 IPC PUBLIC HEARING ON ZM4299

I’m Puddy Smith, I live on Saint Simons, and I’ve enjoyed visiting dozens of art museums on three continents—and I would like to visit the Anschutz Museum of Western Art further to the west, in Brunswick, on the mainland.

As proposed, this museum simply does not belong on Saint Simons Island and I encourage you to recommend to the Board of Commissioners that they deny this zoning change.

If this museum is built, and if it is successful in drawing art lovers to the village area, it will exacerbate the parking problem.

If it is built and it is unsuccessful, it will take up land on which a higher and better use might be a grocery store and/or a pharmacy that would be of use to the many island residents who live within easy walking distance of the village.

Whether or not it is successful or unsuccessful, this museum and this application will not comply with the stipulation in the first article of our Zoning Ordinance because it will not encourage “the appropriate use of land”. In fact, the application before you proposes to remove both a grocery store and a pharmacy from the list of permitted uses in the Village Mixed Use District.

The design of this museum will not “protect the historical and architectural character” of the nearby village area, as required by the Island Preservation District ordinance.

Although Mr. Anschutz, a prominent supporter of climate change denial, is to be commended by some for putting his money where his mouth is, for putting millions of dollars worth of art within a short distance of the Atlantic ocean. he is not to be commended for risking the safety of that art. Although he may own the paintings and other art works, he does not own what they represent and he has an obligation to protect those art works from hurricane tidal surges.

And what is it that these art works represent? It is images of the lost American West, of the frontier that no longer exists, the frontier Mr. Anschutz has exploited with his oil and mineral leases.

So let me return to my starting point: that this museum belongs on the mainland, perhaps in the downtown area, or perhaps on the east side of highway 17 looking out over the Marshes of Glynn.

Although some of you may not yet understand why you should encourage good development on the mainland, I believe you should do so to take the pressure off Saint Simons by helping to make Brunswick a more attractive place to live, work, and visit.

Thank you.