On December 16th, the JIA Board of Directors adopted a new Master Plan for Jekyll Island State Park. Two years in the making, the Master Plan (MP) includes the following provisions regarding future development of the state park:

Replacement of the state law limiting development to 35% of the land area of Jekyll Island that lies above water at mean high tide.

The MP proposes to replace the so-called 65-35 law with a statute limiting development to 1,675 acres, which is 78 acres larger than the existing footprint of development. The new statute, which will be submitted to the Georgia General Assembly in January 2014, specifies that 46 of those 78 acres may be used for public safety, public health or public recreation purposes, 12 acres for campground expansion, and 20 acres for “any purposes determined appropriate by the JIA and consistent with the Jekyll Island legislation.”

In justifying the proposed legislation, the MP cites the inherent difficulty in accurately determining the percentage of Jekyll’s vast tidal marshland that is above mean high tide and thus subject to the 65-35 formula [see Dr. Chester Jackson’s commentary on this problem, which is included in the appendix of the MP]. The negative impact of the public controversy regarding the JIA’s application of the 65-35 law is also cited by the MP as a reason for adopting a fixed acreage approach to limiting development of Jekyll Island.

Definition of the terms “developed” and “undeveloped”

The MP has, with minor exceptions, defined “developed” and “undeveloped” in accord with national standards for land use classification. As stated in the MP, “The core element of classifying land either developed or undeveloped is the use or actual function of the land.” 

  • Developed: land that is built upon or paved (includes roads and bike paths); land that has been disturbed and no longer maintains original, natural functions (golf course and certain dirt roads); land or other areas that do not maintain ecological integrity (golf course ponds; borrow pits).”

  • “Undeveloped: land that remains free of the built environment (beach above MHT and lots on south end of the island); land where the built environment does not impact its ecological integrity (sand dunes and the associated walkways); undisturbed tree canopy; and wooded areas within the golf course larger than one acre in size.”

Use of the above definitions has resulted in a substantial increase in the number of acres deemed “developed.” The previous (1996) MP, which did not adhere to national standards for land use classification, had the developed area at 1,379 acres. The new MP has it at 1,609 acres.

Reportedly, the new MP will be posted on the JIA’s website sometime during the next few weeks. A link to the MP will be provided on IPJI’s website. Below is the MP’s Table of Contents.

VISION STATEMENT

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

WHY THE MASTER PLAN WAS UPDATED

HOW THE PLAN WAS DEVELOPED

HISTORY OF JEKYLL ISLAND

HISTORY OF CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT ON JEKYLL ISLAND

TRENDS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, ISSUES AND ACTIONS

  • ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY
  • HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES
  • NATURAL RESOURCES
  • TRANSPORTATION, INFRASTRUCTURE AND MUNICIPAL SERVICES
  • RECREATION

FIVE-YEAR, SHORT-TERM WORK PROGRAM 

APPENDIX


Click here to read IPJI's analysis of the proposed "fixed acreage" legislation for future development of Jekyll Island State Park.