Soapbox: Jekyll Island Authority ‘at it again’

State senator says a recent study of a controversial plan to redevelop the state park is misleading.

State Sen. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, has been the most vocal critic of developer Linger Longer’s plans for Jekyll Island, the idyllic state park on Georgia’s coast. In this op-ed, entitled “They’re At It Again,” the senator says the governor-appointed board tasked with overseeing the island either misunderstands a recent study of the proposal or is misleading the public.

The Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) is at it again, this time endorsing a density study conducted by the Bleakly Advisory Group, which claims that the proposed 150 percent increase in the state park’s year-round residences and rental accommodations by the year 2023 would still make Jekyll “significantly less developed than other comparable coastal destinations in terms of resident and seasonal population, housing density and traffic volumes.”

Truth be told, Bleakly based his calculations on a U.S. Census Bureau Report that includes more than 5,000 acres of marshland, most of which surrounds the six-mile long Jekyll Causeway, as part of Jekyll Island. By artificially doubling Jekyll’s real size, Bleakly attempted to show that, on a per acre basis, the built-up Jekyll of the future would not be overdeveloped or overcrowded, when, in fact, the exact opposite would be true.