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Is county putting in marina?
Rumors, meetings spark wave of speculation
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Questioners of a rumored Colonels Island land deal got no answers from county commissioners Tuesday night. Commission Chairman John McIver told the crowd there had been no official action on the reported purchase.
John Henderson, chairman of the commissioners' Citizens Advisory Committee, reported to the commission that the issue had been raised by residents at a Feb. 25 CAC meeting.
Citizens were reacting to persistent rumors that the commissioners were considering buying waterfront property along Cattle Hammock Road for use as a marina or boat ramp.
An unsigned flier circulating in the Colonels Island area said the commissioners were purchasing land on Cattle Hammock for $1.5 million and called on residents to phone their commissioners and stand up to protect their community. Apparently this plea met with some success, as Commissioner Marion Stevens said he had had a lot of phone calls on the subject.
McIver immediately interjected that all the commissioners had had phone calls: "I could barely eat dinner the other night. My phone was ringing off the hook!"
Henderson submitted these written questions to the commissioners:
• Is land in the process of being purchased or has it been purchased by the county on Cattle Hammock Road in the east end of the county? Has the county considered alternative locations?
• If this land has been purchased, is the intent to place either a marina or boat ramp on this property?
• Is the current zoning for this property residential?
• If the intent is to build a marina or boat ramp, will residents have any input on this matter?
• Currently, concerns that the residents have expressed from rumored discussions of this issue are: safety for children, noise of boaters, drunkenness/disorderly conduct of boaters, excessive traffic on inadequate road, and safety of residents. Do the commissioners plan to do anything to address these concerns?
McIver replied, "You know me, you know I will respond."
Unless the county closes a deal first, the answer will apparently be that real estate negotiations are not subject to public scrutiny.
Georgia law does provide that governments can negotiate for real estate without disclosure until the deal is closed or abandoned.
Tuesday the commissioners held a closed -- what they call "executive" -- session, apparently to discuss land acquisition, but took no action.
More than 20 people, many residents of the coast, attended Tuesday's commission meeting, even sitting through the closed-door session as a mark of their concern.
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