IPJI NOTE ON JIA OBJECTIONS TO MEDIA COVERAGE OF TURTLE LIGHTING VIOLATIONS:
Regarding the JIA’s response to criticism over sea turtle lighting violations, please note that the claim that businesses out of compliance with the ordinance can expect a citation and a fine if they don’t deal with their infractions promptly does not square with the fact that the violations were recorded on May 19th, yet, despite the lighting ordinance’s 10-day deadline to remedy infractions, nearly two months have passed and no citations or fines have been issued. Also note that when the Westin hotel was in the pre-construction phase, records show that the hotel was advised by the DNR regarding the need to shield balcony lights, yet all of the hotel’s 100+ balcony lights remain out of compliance more than a year later. The JIA’s response is it has “the prerogative…to work with businesses to develop a reasonable timeline for compliance.”
Regarding the JIA’s “Turtle nesting facts,” the figures presented regarding nesting on the beach adjacent to the Westin over the past 17 years are based on a definition of the beach that matches the physical boundary of the hotel rather than the hotel’s field of light. When considering the actual reach of the light cast from the hotel, records show that the historical average of nests within that area is 8.0. This year is a good one for nesting numbers but, so far, only 2 nests have been recorded within that area.
The good news is that the lighting violations revealed in the May survey have been made public and are being addressed. Now that some light has been shined on this issue, beachfront businesses on Jekyll, especially the hotels, should be more attentive to the beach lighting ordinance.