I was disappointed in the headline of Taylor Cooper’s front-page article in last Wednesday’s Brunswick News. The real “news” is not that the developer of the Sinclair tract is seeking to withdraw their appeal — of course they are, now that they have gotten what they wanted. The real news is that, (a) despite this developer’s prior preliminary plat application being denied by the Island Planning Commission and (b) despite Glynn County Superior Court’s finding in favor of the county when this developer filed suit over the IPC ruling, this same application was approved by county staff.
How did this happen? Earlier this summer, our board of commissioners amended an ordinance and took the right to review preliminary plats away from the IPC and gave that right to county staff, in its sole discretion. The application was approved by county staff, so the applicant is withdrawing its appeal.
The IPC has repeatedly pointed out that using a “check the box” approach to evaluating preliminary plats does not properly consider all the impacts of a proposed plan. The IPC has consistently pointed out things that should be considered when evaluating a preliminary plat that are not necessarily on the county’s checklist, and this position has been supported when tested in court.
But, rather than amending the ordinance to require a more comprehensive review of an application, our BOC chose to shift the approval authority to someone who would consider only the items on that current checklist. The result was inevitable.
St. Simons Island