IPC green-lights Sea Island employee housing

Jan. 18—The site plan for an 84-unit, four-story, multi-family development for Sea Island Co. employees was approved at Tuesday's Glynn County Islands Planning Commission meeting.

During the public comment period, concerns were expressed about Sea Island Co. changing plans for the 30,000-square-foot building and turn it into short-term vacation rentals or condominiums.

St. Simons Island resident Julian Smith asked questioned why the company wanted to build employee housing and at that particular site at 651 Sea Island Road.

"Sea Island is notorious for changing its mind," said Smith, a resident of St. Simons Island.

County resident Jeff Kilgore said the application left questions over the stormwater management plan for the site and plans to use an existing employee parking lot for residents living in the proposed building.

"You don't have what you need for an informed decision," he told members of the IPC.

Another critic, Sea Island resident Jane Fraser, said the application was incomplete, and there is a risk of the development causing flood damage.

Later, during the public comment period, Smith asked to speak again — this time in favor of the application. He said the location was good for employees because of its close proximity to a grocery store, shopping and a movie theater.

"It would be a gift to employees to be in such a nice location," he said.

It was later pointed out that people are not allowed to speak both in favor of and in opposition to the same agenda item during the public comment period.

A consultant speaking on behalf of the developer said there would be no time limit for Sea Island employees living in the housing complex.

In other business, a conditional-use permit for improvements on the seaward side of a single-family home at 826 Park Way was approved after a lengthy discussion about 25-foot development setback lines approved by the county last year.

The request was for a pool, patio, outdoor fireplace and native landscaping.

Planning Commissioner Patrick Duncan shared the concerns of other commissioners about the uncertainty regarding how new distance requirements on development near dunes apply while Chairman Robert Ussery said the application request might be premature.

Commissioners voted 5-1 to approve the request, with the exception of the outdoor fireplace because of its close proximity to the property line. Commission member Odessa Rooks expressed concern over the precedent approving the request could set before casting the lone vote opposing the request.

Another conditional-use permit for a single-family home at 4212 Thirteenth St. was deferred until the Feb. 21 meeting.

The request for construction of a pool, patio and native landscaping was deferred until updated setback lines are provided by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The final order of business was the election of Ussery to another term as chairman and Bryce Brock as vice chair.