I‘m astounded that Sea Island is still trying to build eight new residences on the south end of the island, known as the “spit.”

Since the south groin was installed on Sea Island, the Spit has been deprived of natural beach-restoring sand moving north to south. It has become much more fragile — shorter by hundreds of yards, narrower, with a diminished sandy beach and fewer, less robust dunes.

Because of the spit’s high-risk vulnerability, the Center for a Sustainable Coast and others opposed the initial eight-lot development proposal, but we were overruled.

A powerful storm-surge brought by Hurricane Irma last year nearly breached the Spit in several places, sweeping across the very area where new residences are proposed. Accordingly, we assumed that Georgia’s Coastal Resources Division, Glynn County Commissioners and Sea Island’s owners would abandon the eight-lot “Reserve” project. They didn’t.

Facing the additional menace of global warming and accompanying sea-level rise, the most exposed ocean shorelines are at ever-greater risk. Ill-advised new residences may become losses for the general public as well as owners, if storms reduce them to destructive hazards whose broken pilings, beams and joists batter homes, docks and boats even miles away.

This is no time to marginalize precautionary rules or to ignore required procedures serving public participation. That’s why the Center filed legal action against the county for failing to uphold the law, which undermined citizen involvement when the beach and dune ordinance was amended.

To protect the public, this irresponsible development must be prevented, not accommodated.

Steve Willis

Center for a Sustainable Coast

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