cumberland construction

Construction has begun on a private dock on Cumberland Island that has some questioning if it is truly a single-family or community dock.

A legal complaint has been filed in an effort to stop construction of a private dock at Cumberland Island National Seashore.

The complaint was filed Wednesday by the Center for a Sustainable Coast in Fulton County Superior Court. Joining the center in the complaint is Karen Grainey, a coastal conservationist and Center for a Sustainable Coast employee.

“We believe that private construction within the National Seashore is explicitly prohibited by language Congress adopted in the 1972 legislation that created the park,” Grainey said.

Lumar LLC was given a letter of authorization from the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to build the dock in December 2015. But the approval was not authorized by the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act.

According to the complaint filed by the center’s lawyer, Jon Schwartz, authorization to build the dock, currently under construction, should have undergone a public notice and comment period. Published notifications should have been made to enable the public to learn about the proposal and comment about it.

Schwartz notified Lumar’s legal counsel and asked construction to stop until the issue is resolved, but Lumar indicated it does not plan to halt ongoing work on the dock.

The center is seeking a temporary restraining order to stop work on the structure because the dock is intended to serve residential development on land that has not been approved. The property is not zoned for single-family development, and the permit to build the dock should be revoked immediately, according to the complaint.

Lumar plans to subdivide an 88-acre tract on the island into 10 lots for development. The center is concerned that the dock could lead to the approval of development that otherwise would not be granted and should not be approved under the national seashore’s founding legislation. No hearing date has been set.

“It is deeply regrettable that such legal actions are needed to prevent violation of the law intended to preserve this unique barrier island for the public to enjoy in its natural state,” said David Kyler, the center’s director.

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