The 1.47-acre parcel of land located at 1810 Frederica Road was among the most talked about pieces of land on St. Simons Island in recent years. It had been at the center of one of the island’s biggest fights when it comes to development.
The kerfuffle began in 2016 when plans were filed to build a Dollar General on the lot. That plan was met with much consternation by several who live on the island.
Ultimately, the Islands Planning Commission denied the site plan for the Dollar General on Aug. 16, 2016. Teramore Development, the group behind the proposed store, sued the county and the IPC over the matter.
Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley denied Teramore’s request for a writ of mandamus, and their appeal would be thrown out of court in 2018. About a month after the appeal was denied, Teramore agreed to sell the parcel of land to the St. Simons Land Trust for $1.55 million.
The land trust planned to use the parcel for new offices. Their purchase of the property was met with great joy from the neighboring Laurel View subdivision, many of whom were opposed to building a Dollar General at the location.
“The day we announced the land trust had purchased this, we were inundated with thanks,” said Emily Ellison, development director of the land trust.
We credit the land trust for taking it upon themselves to find a way to help the county move on from this controversy. With new development regulations and zoning changes in the works, the changes made will hopefully prevent such acrimonious situations in the future.
Credit should also go to the Anschutz Foundation, who are also the owners of Sea Island Co.. for their generous grant that allowed the land trust to purchase the lot.
Land Trust Executive Director David Pope also thanked Teramore for selling the land to the trust.
“We’re grateful to (Teramore) because they could have said ‘No, we want to build a dollar store here,’” Pope said Thursday.
The new office will provide a benefit for the land trust. They will no longer have to pay rent on a building, and they preserve a massive green space for St. Simon. They can host a variety of events at the location, with Pope putting an emphasis on the fact that any event that takes place at their offices will be done with respect.
The cherry on the top is the green space that is left on the property. There is still enough that the land trust hopes it will eventually become a place where passersby can stop and enjoy the scenery. We suspect the view will be a pretty good one for a long time to come.