The Bryan County Board of Commissioners voted in closed session Tuesday to intervene as an advocate on behalf of the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee in pending litigation.
The committee’s decision to issue the county a permit to build the Waterways Township Marina near Red Bird Creek is being challenged by the Center for a Sustainable Coast and by William Butler, owner of Kilkenny Waterfront Properties LLC. The permit was granted during a joint meeting of the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee and Shore Protection Committee in late September.
Both the center and Butler are seeking court orders to deny the county a construction permit for the marina. The two parties claim the committee violated the Heritage Trust Act and the Constitution of Georgia by issuing Bryan County a permit. They argue the construction of a marina in that location will adversely affect marshland and states the marina is not a public facility. The opponents state the committee is giving a gift to a private developer and stress that is a violation of the constitution’s gratuities clause.
County officials have said the marina will be open to the public and emphasized the committee – which comes under the Department of Natural Resources and has the responsibility for protecting the state’s natural resources – approved of Bryan County’s partnership with the private sector.
Former Gov. Roy Barnes, attorney for Kilkenny Waterfront Properties LLC, wrote in a letter dated Oct. 22 that he also had not received any formal written notification of the committee’s issuance of a permit to Bryan County and so questions the validity of the permit itself.
Both Barnes and the center are requesting the case be heard before an administrative law judge.
Waterways Township, where the marina is to be located, is planning to build 3,000 residential units on 2,200 acres of land in south Bryan County. Waterways Township was formerly known as Genesis Point.