Depending on which Glynn County Commissioner you ask, an art museum Sea Island Co. owner Philip Anschutz wants to build in the heart of the Pier Village could be many different things.
On Thursday, the seven-member body approved a rezoning that will allow the museum — planned for the block at the northeastern corner of the intersection at Mallery Street and Beachview Boulevard — to happen by a large margin.
Commissioner David O’Quinn called it a “catalyst for great things.” Judging by other Sea Island projects, its construction will be “second to none,” according to commission vice chairman Bill Brunson.
Commissioner Bob Coleman analogized it would be like “a heart transplant when the one (the Pier Village has) works fine,” while fellow commissioner Peter Murphy countered that it was more like “a much-needed face-lift on an older individual with sagging skin.”
Commissioners expected it would be “additive and not reductive” to the village and “educationally and culturally impactful” to the entire Brunswick area.
Coleman was the only commissioner to vote against the rezoning as the motion passed 6-1.
A majority of citizens present at the meeting were there to oppose the rezoning. Some opposed the museum itself, while others were more concerned about the precedent the commission would set by rezoning the property. It is now the only property in the island preservation district not designated as village mixed-use or village residential.
The rezoning is only part of the process. The Islands Planning Commission is still set to consider, in the near future, a permit request that would give the developer — Sandy Vacation LLC, also owned by Anschutz — permission to demolish the structures already on the site.
All but the building containing Simons Gallery Gifts and Antiques will have to come down to make way for the new structure.
The museum would house much of Anschutz’s extensive Western art collection, as well as pieces depicting historic periods from the American Revolutionary War to the American Civil War to the westward expansion, according to an application filed with the county earlier this year.