Augusta Georgia Utilities Management Plan

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					Regional Profile of Georgia’s Coastal Counties

                      Prepared for

   Coastal Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee

                      Compiled by

        Georgia Department of Community Affairs
          Office of Planning & Quality Growth
                      October 2005

The jurisdiction of the Coastal Comprehensive Plan covers Georgia’s six coastal counties: Bryan,
Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh. These counties comprise the major portion of the
Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center (RDC) region. The following profile consists primarily of
relevant excerpts from the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center’s 2004 update of the Coastal
Georgia Regional Plan.

The profile includes excerpts from the elements addressed in the RDC Regional Plan Update of 2004,
including population, economic development, housing, community facilities, natural and historic
resources, and land use. Every reasonable attempt has been made to select and adapt excerpts and data in
order to accurately describe and analyze only the six counties of primary interest.

In comparison to the surrounding regions, the state, and U.S. population projections, the Coastal Region’s
population is increasing at a greater rate. The Coastal Region has, and is predicted to cont inue to outpace
adjacent areas, the state, and the nation. This difference in population growth between the regions could
be explained in part by the Coastal Region’s quality of life advantages, which include coastal resources
and the availability of a wide range of employment opportunities such as the presence of two major
military installations. Following is an analysis of county-level population growth:

Bryan County. The majority of the population of Bryan County is located in the unincorporated areas.
The City of Richmond Hill’s population increased at a rate of 137.0 percent from 1990 to 2000, more than
7 times that of the region. This growth is attributed to the city’s proximity to Chatham County, Fort
Stewart, and Interstate 95. Transportation systems, a comparative low tax rate, a good school system, and
employment are four key components for growth. The county is projected to grow by approximately
20,000 people between 2000 and 2005, at an overall growth rate of 88.2 percent. Growth between 2000
and 2005 is estimated to have occurred at a rate of 17.1 percent, and is projected to continue at about 12
percent for each five year period between 2005 and 2025. Most of the projected growth is expected to
result from the influence of Fort Stewart and other employment related incentives, while migration from
adjoining metropolitan Chatham County will also influence growth especially in Richmond Hill and areas
in the county close to the Chatham County border. With their convenient access to Interstate 95 and 16
these areas are currently and will continue to attract “bedroom community” growth.

Camden County. Incorporated areas contain the majority of the county’s population. The cities of
Kingsland and St. Marys both have experienced tremendous growth during the past ten years. This
growth has been linked to the development and continued operation of the Kings Bay Nuclear Submarine
Base. Growth in Camden County between 1980 and 1990 can be attributed to the development of Kings
Bay Naval Submarine Base bringing in over 10,000 jobs by 1990. Future growth trends are also
dependent upon the status of the Naval Base. Camden County is expected to increase in population by 26
percent between 2000 and 2025. The majority of this growth has been seen and is expected to occur on
the Naval Base, in the City of Kingsland, the City of St. Marys, and areas within the unincorporated
county adjacent to these jurisdictions. In addition, growth is expected to continue in areas with views
and/or access to water and marshlands.

Chatham County. Nearly seventy-five percent of Chatham County is incorporated with the largest
percentage of the population living in the cities. The most populous and most highly developed county
has a steady growth rate slower in comparison to the rest of the region. Neighboring counties have been
receiving a large number of persons from Chatham into their cities and unincorporated areas. People often

move to these areas to enjoy the attributes of less developed settings that still provide convenient access
to the amenities of an urban The county is projected to grow by approximately 37,622 persons
between 2000 and 2025, at an overall growth rate of 16 percent. Growth between 2000 and 2005 is
estimated to occur at a rate of 2.8 percent. It is projected to continue at about 3 percent for each five year
period between 2005 and 2025. Most population growth has occurred and is expected to occur in the City
of Savannah, Pooler, and Unincorporated Chatham. Unincorporated Chatham County has experienced
some population losses as a result of annexations. This trend is expected to continue through the planning
period. Chatham County is the most populous county in the Coastal Region. Development in Chatham is
constrained by the abundance of wetlands, which could in part account for the modest population growth
in the county in the past.

Glynn County. Growth in the unincorporated, as well as incorporated areas has been slow in comparison
to much of the Coastal Georgia Region, with the majority of growth occurring in the unincorporated
areas. The popular barrier islands of St. Simons, Little St. Simons, and Sea Island are all unincorporated.
Although the islands are the most popular places in Glynn County to live, growth of these islands is
restricted by a number of factors, including the price of land and housing and the amount of developable
property. In addition, there are a limited number and type of employment opportunities available on the
islands and no public transportation to the mainland. Between 1995 and 2000, Glynn County grew at a
rate of 4.2 percent. For each five-year period from 2000 to 2025, growth is expected to continue at a rate
of 5 percent. Glynn County had 67,695 residents in 1990; 86,379 are expected by the year 2025
according to projections. The rate of growth has been stable. This trend is expected to continue with only
a slight increase related to net migration primarily attributed to residential retirement development. The
City of Brunswick has notably experienced and is slated to continue to experience population declines as
inner city residents move to the unincorporated and coastal areas. However, there is an anticipated
development of the City of Brunswick into one of the busiest ports on the Southeastern United States
coast. This economic catalyst could redefine population trends in Glynn County and more noticeably the
City of Brunswick.

Liberty County. Liberty County’s 2000 population of 61,845 is projected to increase to 71,669 by 2025.
It grew at a rate of 4.3 percent from 1995 to 2000, and is expected to grow at a rate of 3 percent over each
successive five-year period. The majority of past growth in Liberty County can be attributed to the
growth of Fort Stewart and the development it has spawned. Much of the growth predicted is also based
on the viable presence of Fort Stewart. However, future population growth is not predicted to occur at the
elevated pace the county has seen since 1970. Any significant changes in Fort Stewart’s population would
impact that of Liberty County. The population of Hinesville comprises 49 percent of the county total.
Between 1990 and 2000, Hinesville captured 41 percent of the county’s population growth. This growth
is associated directly and indirectly with the presence of neighboring Fort Stewart. (An important note
from review of Liberty County data indicates that census population figures and projections should be
used with caution, as local authorities suggest that the 2000 census has underestimated total population
figures. It is also suggested that the predictions for future growth are not reflective of past growth trends
or Liberty County’s own projections based on information currently furnished to the Census for review.)

McIntosh County. While McIntosh County lacks the allure of major employment opportunities, it does
have direct access to a major thoroughfare, Interstate 95, and the coast. The access to I-95 has created
such opportunities for their population as the opening of a large retail outlet mall, which has become a
regional shopping center with employment opportunities. From 2000 to 2025, the population of McIntosh
County is expected to increase from 10,854 to 14,890. The growth rate is expected to remain at a steady
average of 6 percent during the twenty-year planning period. Lack of infrastructure and employment
opportunities along with expanses of wetlands and forested land have constrained population growth in
McIntosh County. Only about one-fifth of the population has historically resided in the City of Darien.
This proportion is projected to remain stable.

Regional Growth Trends. As shown in the table below, the region’s population increased 14 percent
from 1990 to 2000. The two largest counties in the region experienced lower growth rates for the period
than the region at large. The population projections suggest that this trend will continue: the greatest
population growth is predicted for the least populated counties in the region. (Of the six coastal counties)
the most significant increase in population is found in Camden County. A combination of suburban
growth, willingness of residents to commute to work, major military facilities in outlying areas, and the
location of several manufacturing plants in rural counties has contributed to this trend. It is important to
note that caps on water withdrawal in some coastal counties due to the risk of salt water intrusion into the
Floridan aquifer, may constrain population increases throughout the region.

   Coastal Counties Percent Change in Popul ation 1980 - 2020
   County                1980-1990         1990-2000          2000-2005         2005-2010           2010-2015    2015-2020
   Bryan                       52%               52%                18%               15%                 13%          12%
   Camden                     126%               45%                 6%                5%                  5%           5%
   Chatham                        7%                 7%                 3%                3%                3%            3%
   Glynn                         14%                 8%                 5%                5%                5%            5%
   Liberty                       38%                17%                 3%                3%                3%            3%
   McIntosh                       7%                26%                 7%                7%                6%            6%
   Region                        18%                14%                 4%                4%                4%            4%
    Adapted from Coastal Georgia RDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six coastal counties.

   Coastal Counties Population Growth 1980 - 2020
   County      1980       1990      2000         2005                           2010                2015           2020
                                              Projecti on                     Projecti on         Projecti on    Projecti on
   McIntosh           8,046        8,634        10,847            11,624            12,492             13,203          14,020
   Bryan             10,175       15,438        23,417            27,623            31,717             35,854          40,097
   Camden            13,371       30,167        43,664            46,085            48,226             50,520          52,935
   Liberty          38,360        52,848       61,845              63550           65,327              67,314          69,419
   Glynn            54,981        62,496       67,568             71,106           74,611              78,364          82,263
   Chatham         202,226       216,935      232,048            239,044          245,873             253,420         261,571
   Region          327,159       386,518      439,389            459,032          478,246             498,675         520,305
    Adapted from Coastal Georgia RDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six coastal counties.

                                Coastal Counties Population Growth Trends 1980 - 2020

            70,000                                                                                                 McIntosh
            60,000                                                                                                 Bryan
            30,000                                                                                                 Liberty
            20,000                                                                                                 Glynn
                         1980         1990         2000        2005       2010       2015       2020
                                                             Projection Projection Projection Projection

                          Chatham County Population Growth Trend 1980 - 2020







                             1980    1990     2000      2005         2010         2015         2020
                                                      Projection   Projection   Projection   Projection

Economic Development
Georgia’s coastal counties have experienced remarkable improvements in terms of the level and diversity
of economic activity since 1980. These improvements are in part attributable to the region’s many assets
for economic development, which include:

          deep water ports                                         mild climate
          major interstate and rail facilities                     unique natural and historic features
          ample supply of industrial parks                          (beaches, shores, colonial history)
           served by water, sewer, rail, and                        abundance of undeveloped land
           major highway access                                     reasonable housing costs
          adequate labor supply, job training                      adequate educational and health
           facilities and non-union environment                      facilities

Employment by Sector. As shown in the table below, growth in employment has varied widely among
the various economic sectors. Notably, sectors associated with resort and tourism development - services,
construction, retail trade and finance/real estate - have grown to constitute 60 percent of the economic
base in 2005. Tourism now employs an estimated 27,150 in retail trade and services, supported by a total
volume of business approximating 1.6 billion, which is almost one-fifth of the state total. However, the
distribution of benefits from tourism activity is highly skewed, with most of the business and employment
centered in Chatham and Glynn counties. Although the less developed counties contain some of the most
interesting historic and natural areas attractive to tourists, they have not yet captured the great economic
potential of these amenities. Ports and military facilities are also among the region's greatest economic
engines. These sectors are sizeable and stable. Like manufacturing, they provide some of the highest
paying jobs, and are catalysts for a variety of indirect business activity, which contributes to further
economic diversification. The economic base of the region consists of the following:

          military bases                                           strong and growing tourist economy
          manufacturing facilities
          port operations
          fishing industry
          forest products
          government operations/training

Though still an important part of the region’s economy, manufacturing has declined somewhat and is
projected to continue to further decline in the future. Future manufacturing employment is expected to be
oriented toward assembly, fabrication, and light industry, not basic production functions due in part to the
projected rise in the cost of water.

 Regional Employment by Sector 1980 – 2020
 Category                                 1980           1990             2000          2005         2010        2020
 Farm                                     699            432              362           351          335         305
 Agricultural Services, Other             2,164          1,955            2,789         2,906        3,004       3,241
 Mining                                   64             75               122           128          134         143
 Construction                             9,249          16,009           15,203        15,760       16,093      16,757
 Manufacturing                            26,199         25,393           23,247        22,567       22,125      21,823
 Trans, Comm, & Public Utilities          11,517         12,593           13,497        13,675       13,813      14,048
 Wholesale Trade                          5,928          6,980            7,597         8,048        8,380       9,127
 Re tail Trade                            26,482         38,387           49,881        53,463       57,270      65,268
 Finance , Insurance, & Real Estate       10,353         10,600           13,814        14,478       15,176      16,768
 Services                                 31,421         53,015           76,541        84,998       94,188      114,739
 Fe de ral Civilian Government            6,509          9,495            9,410         9,623        9,828       10,177
 Fe de ral Military Government            21,570         21,343           26,490        26,900       27,228      27,597
 State & Local Government                 18,841         22,557           27,670        29,340       30,977      34,444
 Total                                    170,996        218,834          266,623       282,237      298,551     334,437
Adapted from CGRDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six coastal counties.

                  Regional Employment by Sector - 2005 Estimate
                                      Agricultural Services,
                    State & Local             Other Mining
                    Government          Farm 1%          0%                               Farm
                        10%              0%                            Manufacturing
                                                      Construction                        Agricultural Services, Other
         Federal Military                                 6%
                                                           Trans, Comm, & Public          Construction
         Federal Civilian                                           5%
          Government                                                                      Trans, Comm, & Public Utilities
                                                                      Wholesale Trade
              3%                                                           3%             Wholesale Trade
                                                                                          Retail Trade
                                                                Retail Trade
                                                                                          Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate
                                                                                          Federal Civilian Government
                                         Finance, Insurance, &                            Federal Military Government
                                              Real Estate                                 State & Local Government

Earnings by Sector. Earnings include wages, salaries, other labor income, proprietors’ income as well
as personal contributions for social insurance. The earnings of an employee, who lives in one county and
works in another, are counted in the county of employment. Table 4 below represents the earnings for
each reported sector of employment for the region consisting of Georgia’s coastal counties. These figures
should be viewed as a measure of what sectors provide significant financial contributions to local

 Regional Earnings by Sector 1980 - 2020
 Category               1980          1990                                        2000                   2005                  2010                 2020
 Farm                                $7,665,000           $3,484,000              $2,502,000             $2,581,000            $2,602,000           $2,682,000
 Forestry, Agricultural            $30,159,000           $30,818,000             $44,501,000        $48,327,000             $52,046,000          $60,789,000
 Services, Other
 Mining                            $13,518,000             $578,000               $2,206,000             $2,330,000            $2,447,000           $2,682,000
 Construction                     $246,634,000          $473,479,000            $435,804,000       $462,452,000            $483,292,000         $526,861,000
 Manufacturing                    $970,694,000       $1,020,837,000        $1,205,084,000        $1,251,796,000          $1,305,735,000        $1,437,319,000
 TCPU                             $363,625,000          $435,422,000            $511,507,000       $537,757,000            $563,653,000         $616,626,000
 Wholesale Trade                  $173,351,000          $215,627,000            $270,454,000       $293,801,000            $313,142,000         $356,297,000
 Re tail Trade                    $400,501,000          $524,999,000            $748,352,000       $820,983,000            $899,808,000        $1,072,855,000
 Finance , Insurance, &
                                  $146,941,000          $209,673,000            $343,730,000       $381,071,000            $420,644,000         $511,167,000
 Re al Estate
 Services                         $589,387,000       $1,217,571,000        $1,873,633,000        $2,213,460,000          $2,603,548,000        $3,557,171,000
 Fe de ral Civilian               $273,632,000          $407,115,000            $503,712,000       $535,681,000            $568,889,000         $636,875,000
 Fe de ral Military               $663,183,000          $746,026,000       $1,101,103,000        $1,169,203,000          $1,237,252,000        $1,370,806,000
 State & Local                    $433,629,000          $634,617,000            $889,697,000       $973,249,000          $1,059,139,000        $1,249,722,000
 Total                          $4,312,920,000       $5,920,251,000        $7,932,277,000        $8,692,687,000          $9,512,203,000
Adapted from CGRDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six coastal counties.

                                    Regional Earnings by Sector - 2005 Estimate
                                            Agricultural Services,
                                                    Other              Mining
                                                     1%                 0%

                          State & Local Government                       Construction                           Farm
                                    11%                                      5%                                 Agricultural Services, Other
                                                                                Manufacturing                   Mining
                      Federal Military                                              15%                         Construction
                          14%                                                                                   Manufacturing
                                                                                       6%                       TCPU
                                                                                                                Wholesale Trade
                        Federal Civilian                                               Wholesale Trade
                                                                                                                Retail Trade
                         Government                                                          3%
                                                                                                                Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate
                             6%                                                 Retail Trade
                                                                                    9%                          Services
                                                                                                                Federal Civilian Government
                                                                                                                Federal Military Government
                                             Services                Finance, Insurance, &
                                               26%                                                              State & Local Government
                                                                          Real Estate

Regionally Significant Industry. For the purposes of compiling an inventory and analysis of significant
Coastal Georgia economic development resources and activities, the RDC Planning Advisory Council
developed guidelines limiting analysis to resources noteworthy from a multi-jurisdictional perspective.
Regionally significant industry was defined by the council as those with over 500 employees. Clearly the
distribution of such industry and business does not include all the counties in the six-county region.

    Major Employers by County & Esti mated Number of Empl oyees (1995)

    County         Employer                               Type of Business                  Number Employed
    Bryan          None over 500 employees
    Camden         Kings Bay Naval Base                   Military Defense                              4.500
                   Lockheed Missiles & Space Co.          High-Tech Defense                               665
    Chatham        Hunter Army Airfield                   Military Defense                              4,891
                   Gu lfstream Aerospace                  Small Jet Aircraft Manufacture                3,770
                   Union Camp Corporation                 Pulp & Paper Manufacturing                    3,337
                   Great Dane Trailers, Inc.              Transp .Equip. Manufacturer                   1,100
                   Georgia Ports Authority                Shipping                                      6,500
    Glynn          Georgia Pacific Corporation            Gypsum Board & Gen. Forestry                  1,019
                   Sea Island Co mpany                    Resort                                          937
                   King & Prince Seafood Corp.            Seafood Processing                              825
                   Federal Law En f. Training Ct r.       Law Enforcement                                 673
    Liberty                                                                                  Military- 15,875
                 Fort Stewart Army Base       Military Defense                               Civilian- 3,356
    McIntosh     None over 500 employees
       Adapted from CGRDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six coastal counties.

Income. There remain significant pockets of poverty in the region, particularly among racial minorities
and female-headed households. However, income per capita and the median income of households have
increased substantially as indicated in the following tables.
              Per Capita Income Trends 1970 – 2003 (in dollar value for year recorded)

              County/Year                1970             1980       1990         2001        2003*
              Bryan                    $ 2,486        $    5,214   $ 13,015     $ 24,456    $ 26,871
              Camden                   $ 2,785        $   7,707    $ 11,875     $ 19,516    $ 22,730
              Chatham                  $ 3,481        $   8,432    $ 17,664     $ 29,525    $ 30,022
              Glynn                    $ 3,316        $   8,798    $ 17,478     $ 29,998    $ 30,032
              Liberty                  $ 2,564        $   7,046    $   8,257    $ 16,890    $ 19,064
              McIntosh                 $ 2,089        $   5,087    $ 10,884     $ 16,971    $ 19,783
              Regional Average         $ 2,717        $   6,748    $ 12,698     $ 21,537    $ 24,750
              Median Househol d Income – 1999 and 2002
              County/ Year                                         1999                    2002
            Bryan                                        $ 48,345                $ 49,527
            Camden                                       $ 41,056                $ 42,756
            Chatham                                      $ 37,752                $ 36,259
            Gl ynn                                       $ 38,765                $ 37,963
            Li berty                                     $ 33,477                $ 33,389
            McIntosh                                     $ 30,102                $ 33,389
            Regional Average                             $ 37,349                $ 29,156
          Income tables adapted fro m CGRDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six coastal counties.

Housing Types. Single-family units predominate in all coastal counties. As expected, multifamily units
have a higher share of total units in the more urbanized counties than in rural counties. This type of
housing unit generally declined from 1990 to 2000 in its share of the total housing units for all counties.
This may indicate housing affordability issues, especially for transient populations associated with
military installations. McIntosh County’s high percentage of mobile home/other housing is noteworthy.

 1990                 Bryan        Camden     Chatham      Gl ynn        Li berty     McIntosh    Region Total
 Households              5,070        9,459      81,111        23,947       15,136        3,186          137,909
 Total Units             5,549       10,885      91,178        27,724       16,776        4,276          156,388
 Single-family            63%          57%         64%           66%          46%          57%              62%
 M ultifamily                 5%       20%         29%           21%          25%           3%              25%
 M obile home/other       32%          23%          7%           14%          28%          40%              13%
 Households              8,089       14,705      89,865        27,208       19,383        4,202          200,920
 Total Units             8,675       16,958      99,683        32,636       21,977        5,735          226,807
 Single-family            65%          63%         68%           64%          55%          53%              53%
 M ultifamily                 9%       18%         27%           22%          20%           3%              19%
 M obile home/other       25%          19%          6%           13%          25%          44%              10%
Adapted from CGRDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six coastal counties.

Age and Condition of Housing. As shown in the table below, the age of the housing stock in the region
has a uniform distribution, particularly in the more urbanized counties. Counties experiencing rapid
growth (Bryan, Liberty, Camden) show new housing peaks in the high percentage of units 2-10 years old.

 Age of Housing – 1990 & 2000
 1990             Bryan Camden                Chatham     Gl ynn        Li berty     McIntosh     Region Total
 Total Units          5,549         10,885       91,178       27,724      16,776         4,276          156,388
 One year old           7%            13%           2%           3%          5%            5%               4%
 2 - 5 years old       23%            28%          11%          11%         20%           10%              14%
 5 – 10 years old     14%             20%         10%           14%         23%           11%              13%
 11 – 20 years old    24%             16%         19%           23%         32%           32%              21%
 21 – 30 years old    12%              8%         15%           19%          9%           17%              15%
 31 – 40 years old     7%              7%         18%           15%          5%           12%              15%
 41 – 50 years old      5%             3%         12%            9%          4%            6%              10%
 over 50 years old      7%             3%          9%            8%          2%            4%               7%
 Total Units          8,675         16,958       99,683       32,636      21,977         5,735          185,664
 One year old           7%             4%           3%           4%          3%            4%               3%
 2 - 5 years old       17%            17%           7%          11%         18%           14%              11%
 5 – 10 years old      20%            22%           8%           8%         16%           13%              11%
 11 – 20 years old     25%            32%          18%          21%         30%           24%              22%
 21 – 30 years old     14%            10%          17%          18%         21%           19%              17%
 31 – 40 years old      6%             6%          13%          15%          7%           12%              12%
 41 – 50 years old      3%             5%          15%          12%          3%            7%              11%
 over 50 years old      8%             5%          19%          12%          3%            8%              14%
Adapted from CGRDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six coastal counties.

The average condition of housing has improved in the region, in part because of the amount of growth
that has taken place, and also through the substantial rehabilitation efforts in major urban areas. There
has been less housing assistance to the small cities from State and Federal programs, and the worst
housing conditions are in the smaller cities and rural areas. The relatively high percentage of units served
by shallow wells in McIntosh counties is another indication of poor housing conditions.

1980                             Bryan      Camden     Chatham       Gl ynn   Li berty   McIntosh     Region

Total Units                        3,511        5,380      77,485   22,358     10,800         3,643   123,177
Units w/o plu mbing                  8%           6%          2%       2%         6%           11%        3%
Units w/o kitchen                    7%           6%          2%       2%         5%            9%        3%
Units w/o heat                       1%           1%          0%       0%         0%            1%        0%
Units served by shallow well         8%           3%          1%       1%         5%           11%        2%
Total Units                        5,549       10,885      91,178   27,724     16,776         4,276   156,388
Units w/o plu mbing                  3%           1%          1%       0%         0%            2%        1%
Units w/o kitchen                    2%           1%          1%       0%         0%            2%        1%
Units w/o heat                       1%           0%          0%       0%         0%            0%        0%
Units served by shallow well         5%           3%          1%       2%         3%           11%        2%
Total Units                        8,675       16,958      99,683   32,636     21,977         5,735   185,664
Units w/o plu mbing                  1%           2%          1%       1%         1%            2%        1%
Units w/o kitchen                    1%           2%          1%       1%         1%            1%        1%
Units w/o heat                       1%           0%          0%       0%         1%            1%        0%
Units served by shallow well        N/A          N/A         N/A      N/A        N/A           N/A       N/A
Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2000; SF3-H40, SF3-H47. N/A info rmation not available.

Housing Values and Rents. Coastal communities have seen the greatest increases in housing value, as
well as property tax assessments. Often these substantial increases make existing housing immediately
less affordable. This recently occurred (1997) on Tybee Island as a result of substantial city-wide
improvements and marketing of the area. Eventually, this inflation can force low income home owners
off of land that has sometimes been in their family for years. Creating a decline in low income housing in
these areas can destroy a community’s heritage and can cause an increase in the cost of service and retail
sector employment. Working class wages rise because the workers must make up for the cost of traveling
longer distances to reach their place of employment. The local economy suffers because prices are higher
due to increased labor costs. Therefore, displacement of low-income housing hurts the community in the
long run. This scenario only holds true for the region’s barrier islands.

Overall, home-owner housing values in the region have consistently been lower than the remainder of the
State. In 2000, only Bryan and Glynn Counties had higher valued housing stock than the state average.
For a region containing all of the States highly valued beachfront property this shows a positive level of
housing affordability. Bryan County retains its position as most expensive place to buy a house in the
region, due largely to the exclusive housing developments that are springing up in the coastal area of the
county in Richmond Hill. Similarly, Glynn County’s high prices are due to the coastal St. Simon’s Island
and Sea Island developments. Chatham County remains fairly stable in 3rd and 4th place. Camden County
housing values have grown at a slow rate, and the county’s housing value score has dropped from 3 rd to
5th in the region. McIntosh County has recently experienced a surge in the construction of high-end
homes, as evidenced by the county’s elevation from 6th to 5th place. Finally, Liberty County has
experienced a relative decline in the value of housing stock compared to the other counties in the region,
dropping from 1st in 1980 to 6th in 2000.

                         Housing Values                1980                     1990                   2000
                         County                   Value         Rank     Value         Rank    Value          Rank
                         Bryan                    $30,000       4        $70,200       1       $115,600       1
                         Camden                   $28,900       5        $66,700       3        $85,300       4
                         Chatham                  $36,100       3        $63,300       4        $95,000       3
                         Glynn                    $36,700       2        $67,200       2       $114,500       2
                         Liberty                  $36,900       1        $60,400       5        $79,800       6
                         M cIntosh                $19,000       6        $37,500       6        $81,700       5
                         S tate of Georgia        $36,900                $71,300               111,200
                       Adapted from CGRDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six coastal

                     Median Rent                      1980                       1990                     2000
                     County                   Rent          Rank         Rent          Rank      Value        Rank
                     Bryan                    $108          5                                    $450         3
                     Camden                   $142          2                                    $462         2
                     Chatham                  $133          4            $296                    $475         1
                     Glynn                    $141          3            $295                    $417         5
                     Liberty                  $185          1            $345                    $428         4
                     M cIntosh                $101          6            $170                    $274         6
                     S tate of Georgia        $153                       $344                    505

Significant Housing Tre nds. Housing projections by type through the year 2020 were prepared by
the Coastal Georgia RDC using the basic rate of change method. The total number of units was based on
the Census data for 2000. The total number of households was obtained from Woods & Poole data
available on PlanBuilder. The projections for the year 2020 are shown in the following table:

2020                    Bryan        Camden         Chatham         Glynn        Liberty       McIntosh           Region    Georgia
Households                14,127         25,197        107,373         33,730      27,877           6,234         214,538    3,929,140
Units                     14,927         29,104        116,693         42,460      32,379           8,653         244,216    4,568,375
Single Family             10,057         19,652         86,175         26,765      20,635           4,158         167,442    3,173,101
SF % of units                 67%          68%              74%          63%            64%            48%           69%         69%
M ultifamily                 1,830        4,683           26,130       10,261          4,928            292        48,124     836,093
MF % of units                 12%          16%               22%         24%            15%           3%             18%         18%
M obile home/other           3,040        4,769             4,388       5,434          6,816        4,203          28,650     559,181
MH % of units                 20%          16%                4%         13%            21%          49%             12%         12%

The following trends were identified:

The number of single-family homes as a proportion of the total number of housing units is expected to
decline. Multi-family units are predicted to remain roughly the same percentage of the total housing units
through the planning period. The rate of growth in multi-family housing slowed from 1970 to 1980, but
has increased over time, to its current (2000) level.

Perhaps the most significant housing trend in the region is the increase in the number of manufactured
housing units, a trend that is expected to continue into the future, unless affordable housing alternatives
are found.

A review of the region’s local comprehensive plans indicates that the need for affordable housing
underlies the increase in manufactured housing. In nearly every local comprehensive plan in the Region,
the need for affordable site-built housing was identified as a significant issue – and the increase in
manufactured units is identified as the direct result of this need.

The increase in manufactured housing has created additional needs and problems. Most of the growth in
manufactured housing has occurred in the unincorporated areas that are not served by public water and/or
sewer systems, which is also cited as an issue in local plans. Such development is potentially risky for
both the resident and the environment. There is a need for standards for the safe placement of
manufactured homes and installation of sanitary systems.

At present, most manufactured homes are taxed as personal property. This rate is substantially less than if
the property were appraised and taxed as real property. Supposedly, the services these residents require
exceed what they are currently paying in taxes and the cost is then shifted to site-built property owners in
the form of higher taxes. Therefore, there is a need to create more equitable taxation policies.

The military installations and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) have created a high
demand and subsequent high cost for rental housing. Therefore, there is a need to address inflated
housing costs in areas where there is a high demand for rental housing. In addition, there is a need for
affordable housing for persons with special needs such as the elderly, physically disabled, and mentally
disabled persons. Rising land costs and tax assessments are forcing low income home owners away from
the coastal communities and into the interior of the State. Therefore, there is a need to preserve areas for
low-to-moderate income housing for both social and economic reasons.

Manufactured housing projections are based on past trends of housing development and therefore could
be altered by intervening factors, including (among others) any of the following:

      The expansion or closing of either Fort Stewart in Liberty/Bryan counties or Kings Bay Naval
       Submarine Base, in Camden County.
      Changes in the economy that either support or thwart construction financing for single family and
       multi-family housing. Recent Federal Home Loan programs for the development of low to
       moderate-income homes have made multi-family housing an attractive investment. Market
       opportunities such as these may slightly increase the total percentage of multi- family housing
       units in the Region, but will most likely not create a significant shortage.
      The housing preferences of predicted predominant populations such as the elderly, whose numbers
       are expected to peak around the year 2015 when the first wave of the baby boomers reaches age
       sixty five (65), shift from the projections from single family dwellings and manufactured housing
       to multi-family housing.

Community Facilities

Road Network and Transportation Corridors. Along with the growth of major highway systems and
other roadways within Coastal Georgia, costs for road maintenance have increased. Bryan, Camden,
Chatham, Effingham, Glynn and Liberty counties have experienced a faster rate of development than an
average county in Georgia. Georgia’s ten-year average increase in total miles of streets and roads was 22
miles between 1994-2003 as compared to an average of 88.8 miles in the (nine-county) Coastal Region
during the same period.

The ratio of paved to dirt roads in the (nine-county) Coastal Region has consistently been slightly above
the state average. Unpaved roads, while less expensive to construct, are more expensive to maintain over
time. As previously stated, the majority of the new roads in the region are the result of the development of
new subdivisions. To avoid the maintenance issues of unpaved or substandard road surfaces, the local
comprehensive plans state the need for local governments to adopt specific standards as part of
subdivision regulations that mandate road standards that the developer must adhere to before the
jurisdiction accepts responsibility for a road. Unpaved roads also become problems in areas that were
once rural and are undergoing a rapid change to urban. This phenomenon has been experienced not only
in the counties with high urban density such as Glynn, Liberty, and Chatham, but in more rural counties
such as Bulloch, Effingham, Bryan, and Camden as well. Bulloch County has the highest percentage of
unpaved roads in the state. In Effingham and Bryan counties, this rapid growth can be attributed to out-
migration from Chatham County. In Camden County, it is attributed to the Kings Bay Naval Submarine
Base and consequent population growth.

Although there are two interstate highways in the Coastal Region (I-16 and I-95), the one that has the
most regional impact is I-95. Interstate-95 is not only regionally significant; it is nationally significant as
well. Many communities along the Georgia coast are now beginning to realize the economic
development potential this transportation corridor has to offer. For example, relatively rural McIntosh
County recently opened one of the largest outlet malls in the southeast at its I-95 exit. The mall has
spurred other traveler related commerce at this exit. Liberty County has recently developed its I-95 exit:
the South Newport Development. The South Newport Development also caters to the needs of the
traveler with gas, lodging, and fast-food. Interstate-16, which runs from Chatham County to Macon
(Bibb County) is also an important regional transportation corridor. Interstate-16 provides rapid access to
I-75, which like I-95 is of national significance. Interstate-75 provides excellent access to the Atlanta
region, which is important economically and politically to the Coastal Region. Some traveler related
commerce has also evolved at I-16 exits providing economic development potential.

Public Transportation. Public transportation (buses and shuttle service) is provided by the Chatham
Area Transit (CAT) Authority. McIntosh County utilizes a private contractor, Silverhair Transportation,
as its only form of public transit. This operation serves mainly elderly persons. With the exception of
Chatham County, no specific goals or implementation strategies have been developed in terms of public
transportation. The need for public transportation may arise with the trend toward living outside of the
urban centers and commuting to work, educational opportunities, and services.

Airports. The Coastal Region is currently served by seven airports, which provide a variety of private
and commercial aviation services. The Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport is the region’s largest
airport and is served by four major/national carriers (American, Delta, United, and USAir) and three
regional commuter carriers (American Eagle, United Express, and USAir Express). The Glynco Airport in
Brunswick is served by Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), and offers service to Atlanta.

Ports. Ports are among the region's greatest economic engines, with direct and indirect employment
totaling many thousands of jobs statewide. Not only is this sector sizeable and stable, but like
manufacturing, it also provides some of the highest paying jobs and is a catalyst for support ing indirect
business activity. The Georgia Ports Authority coastal facilities include six deep water (ocean) terminals,
two in Savannah and four in Brunswick. With substantial investments that have been made in ocean port
facilities, channel improvements, and related infrastructure such as the Talmadge Bridge replacement and
the deepening of the channel to 42 feet, the Savannah port will be accessible to 98 percent of the world's
shipping fleet. Among the modernization projects scheduled for Brunswick are three additional berths at
Colonel's Island as well as the expansion of berth and storage space at Mayor's Point. Another critical
project recently completed, is the replacement of the Sidney Lanier Bridge with a high-level, fixed-span
structure. Despite its substantial cost ($70 million), the investment is expected to net the state about $107

million in income and $16 million in new tax revenues through the creation of at least 1,100 new jobs,
achieved through the expanded port activity accommodated by the new bridge. With the continuing
improvement in political and trade relations among numerous foreign nations and the United States, the
prospects for future port activity have never been better. Added to this favorable demand is the
undeniable competitive advantage of the GPA facilities resulting both from enhanced facilities and
channel conditions as well as the excess capacity available at Savannah and Brunswick.

Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The mainland areas of Georgia’ six coastal counties are bordered on
the east by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, which serves as an inland water route and a connector to
the Atlantic Ocean for recreational and commercial boaters and fishermen; commercial barge traffic, ferry
operations, and military boats and submarines. The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway between Port Royal
Sound, South Carolina, and Fernandina Beach, Florida, provides for a channel twelve (12) feet deep at
mean low water mark and a bottom width of at least ninety (90) feet. The main route crosses Savannah
Harbor, traverses three (3) miles of Brunswick Harbor, and four (4) miles of Fernandina Harbor. The
waterway formerly traversed the western end of South Channel (Savannah River) and the northerly end of
the Wilmington River, but after completion of the Elba-McQueens Island Cut in March 1943, this section
was made an alternate route. The alternate route between Mile 671 and Brunswick, Georgia and the
protected route around St. Andrews Sound (Mile 686-695) have a project depth of seven (7) feet.

Tributary channels to the ocean are located at Calibogue Sound, the Savannah River, Wassaw Sound,
Ossabaw Sound, St. Catherine’s Sound, Sapelo Sound, Doboy Sound, Altamaha Sound, St. Simons
Sound, St. Andrews Sound, and Cumberland Sound. Tributary channels, which run inland, are the
Savannah River to Augusta, Georgia, the Ogeechee River, the Altamaha River, the Satilla River, and the
St. Marys River. In Georgia, anchorages and facilities exist along the waterway at wharves operated by
the Georgia Ports Authority and other terminal operators at the Savannah River, Thunderbolt Marina, Isle
of Hope Marina, Delegal Creek Marina, Kilkenny Marina, Fisherman’s Lodge Marina, Two Way Fish
Camp, Golden Isles Marina, Jekyll Creek Marina, and the City Wharf and the Fish Wharf at St. Marys,

Railways. Railways in Coastal Georgia are closely networked to ports and military installations. The
Region is served by CSX (Seaboard Coastline), Norfolk Southern and Georgia Central Railroads. Several
small railways also link industrial facilities to major railroads, such as the St. Marys Railroad that links
the Gilman Paper Company site to the CSX corridor and the Colonel’s Island Railway that links the Port
of Brunswick with the CSX railway. The Ogeechee Railroad provides service to Bulloch County from
Dover where the line joins Norfolk Southern rail. This line is used mainly to transport agricu ltural and
timber products. All the Coastal Georgia counties have access to freight rail except for McIntosh County.
Amtrak only provides passenger rail services to Savannah. However, there is an Amtrak station in Jesup
in nearby Wayne County that provides service to passengers from Glynn County.

Water Supply and Treatment. Water supply is a significant issue in the Coastal Region. As explained
in the Natural Resources Element, increased restrictions on municipal and private use of the Floridan
Aquifer are eminent. Cities and counties in the Coastal Region are faced with the need to identify
alternative sources for potable water and landscape irrigation. Relative to the State of Georgia, average
per capita water use in the Coastal Region is significantly lower. Industry and certain recreational uses
require a large portion of the permitted capacity drawn from the Floridan Aquifer.

Countywide Water Treatment. The regionally significant water treatment facilities are those that serve
entire counties. There are only two such systems in the Coastal Region: Chatham County and Glynn
County. However, Effingham, Liberty, and Camden counties are currently exploring county water
service. Although Chatham County is served entirely by public water systems, only a small proportion is

owned and operated by the county. Water is provided mainly by the City of Savannah and private

McIntosh County has a water system; however, it does not provide service to the entire county but is
limited to the area surrounding its industrial park and the City of Darien. In addition, water services in
McIntosh County are provided through eight (8) satellite water associations and 28 private subdivision
systems. The county does not operate these systems. These systems are required to meet the same
standards as those that are publicly owned and are subject to inspection. Sapelo Island is served solely by
Existing supplies of water and water treatment facilities are adequate to meet present needs in most
jurisdictions. However, during peak periods, some areas such as St. Simons Island and locations in
Camden County have come very close to capacity. Of course, the caps on water withdrawals from the
Floridan aquifer at present levels in Chatham, Bryan, Glynn, and Camden, and parts of Effingham County
has an immediate affect on the future adequacy of the region’s ability to supply water.
There are many areas in the region that are not on a public water system. If the assumption is that public
water systems are the only form of adequate water service, then the service is not adequate. However,
this assumption is not used. Adequate water supplies in this context will be taken to mean safe drinking
water and adequate supplies to operate business/industry, and to fight fires. There are some isolated areas
throughout the region, mainly in the unincorporated areas of counties where water needs are possibly not
being adequately met. There is some evidence in Camden County that due to the presence of septic tanks
and shallow private wells co-located on small lots with poor soils, there are occurrences of cross
contamination. Fire fighting capacity is weak throughout the majority of the rural unincorporated areas in
the region. In addition, water shortages or the perception thereof may have impeded economic
development in areas of Liberty County.
Water supply and treatment facility improvements will be needed to meet the needs of projected
populations. This is especially true in regards to current caps on water withdrawals from the Floridan
aquifer due to dramatic water level reductions and salt-water intrusion. The present state of the region’s
water supply demands that alternative sources of public water be identified and present resources be
protected, managed, and conserved. The majority of local governments in the region are in the beginning
stages of developing their state mandated water supply management plans. Therefore, until these plans
are drafted, approved, adopted, and implemented, it is hard to determine whether the facilities will be
There are opportunities to coordinate actions for desired improvements. The Coastal Region has seen
several examples of municipalities extending services to either unincorporated growth spots or to the
incorporated areas lacking services. The City of Walthourville (Liberty County) received a 1997 CDBG
grant and other funding to total $4 million in order to connect to the City of Hinesville water system. The
City of Hinesville is also serving the City of Midway Industrial Park in a joint venture to increase
Midway’s water capacity in order to support new commercial development at I-95 exit 13 and along U.S.
84. The City of Richmond Hill has also extended water services beyond its city limits.
Countywide Sewer Tre atment. There are two regional sewer systems in the Coastal Georgia region.
Glynn and Chatham counties have publicly owned sewer systems that serve a portion of each county. In
Chatham County, sewage treatment is provided by the county, the City of Savannah, and private systems.
The use of community sewer treatment in the Coastal Region is not significantly different to that of the

Existing facilities and current levels of service are not adequate to meet the current needs of the region,
especially in . In nearly every county in the region, growth has been occurring at the fastest rates in the
unincorporated areas adjacent to city centers. These unincorporated areas are not served by public

sewage systems and therefore have been relying on on-site septic tank waste disposal. These systems
when properly installed and maintained are thought to have no adverse environmental impact.

Chatham, Camden, and Bryan county local comprehensive plans cite specific septic system failures and
deficiencies relating to the installation and inspection process. These septic system failures are especially
important to note in Camden and Bryan counties where water is also provided by on-site wells. Cross
contamination has already been reported in Camden County. Other areas within the region that are
potentially being under served southeast Bryan County (around the City of Richmond Hill and the
Chatham County border); Glynn County (development currently not served on St. Simons Island) and
Liberty County at the Interstate 95 interchanges.

Wastewater treatment needs are not being met by existing infrastructure. Population needs are
compounded by the need to protect natural resources in the Coastal region. Future plans do not adequately
address providing services for the expected population growth. The concept of extensive county sewage
service appears to be an answer, but is considered to be cost prohibitive. Some local comprehensive plans
suggest stringent land use regulation and inspection of septic systems as the answers to the sewage
treatment problem.

According to the Camden County local comprehensive plan, the cities of Kingsland and St. Marys are
both in need of sewer and water line upgrades coordinated to serve more people in a more cost-effective
manner. The cities of Hinesville and Riceboro also have extended services to developing areas adjacent
to city limits.

Solid Waste Collection and Disposal. Solid waste disposal in the Coastal Region is proportional to that
of the State. Every county in the Coastal Region has a plan to reduce per capita waste disposal by 25
percent by 1996 as formerly mandated by the Georgia General Assembly. The table below provides the
base year solid waste disposal on which the per capita waste reduction is based. So far, no county or
municipality in the Coastal Region has reached this goal. However, there are very few counties or cities
in the entire state that have reached this goal as of 1996. Therefore, the General Assembly is in the
process of amending the state mandated goal.

Regionally Significant Developments Affecting Community Facilities. The following list of planned
activities reflects a substantial amount of regionally significant development in the coastal area, especially
in Chatham County. Each county in this region that anticipates development of this type, will need to
take careful inventory of current and future needed community facilities.

    1)    Commercial development subdivision along I-95 in Richmond Hill, Bryan County.
    2)    Polly Creek Village, a mixed use development in Effingham County.
    3)    Morgan Lake, a planned unit development in Pooler, Chatham County.
    4)    Reynolds construction asphalt plant project in Brunswick, Glynn County
    5)    Laurel Island Coastal Community, a mixed use development in Camden County
    6)    Rice Hope Community, a mixed use development in Port Wentworth, Chatham County
    7)    Richmond Hill P lantation, a housing development in Richmond Hill, Bryan County
    8)    Atlantic Waste Services, Inc., a waste handling facility in Chatham County
    9)    Brookshire Green, a housing development in Kingsland, Camden County
    10)   City of Pooler Waste Water Treatment Facility in Chatham County
    11)   Blue Bell, an industrial development site in Pooler, Chatham County
    12)   The Villages at Bradley Pointe, a housing development in Chatham County
    13)   Sweetwater Station, a housing development in Chatham County
    14)   The Morgan Tract, a mixed use development in Pooler, Chatham County
    15)   Cabin Bluff, a mixed use development in Camden County

    16)   Bryan County Interstate Center a mixed use development n Bryan County
    17)   New Port Subdivision, a housing development in Port Wentworth, Chatham County
    18)   Bradley Plantation, a housing development in Chatham County
    19)   Timber Trail Road, a housing development in Richmond Hill, Bryan County

Regionally Significant Recreational Facilities. The coastal region is fortunate to have access to several
state and federal parks and numerous historic sites. Existing facilities appear to be adequate to meet the
current needs of the region as a whole. There are both passive and active recreation opportunities
available within a reasonable traveling distance for all residents. The coastal region is fortunate to have
access to beaches, which provide miles of natural, passive and active public recreation. Also, the
extensive network of rivers that empty into the Atlantic provide inland water related recreational

For the most part, recreational needs are presently being met in combination with planned improvements,
therefore, future needs will be met. However, there are certain segments of recreational pursuits and
special populations that are not served by existing recreational facilities and there are no specific plans
identified to do so. These special sectors include mentally and physically challenged persons. Also, there
is some concern about the lack of hiking trail development. There may also be a shortage of public
river/water access facilities.

The predicted growth for the region will require significant increases in many forms of local
infrastructure to comfortably meet the needs of the population. Recreation infrastructure planning and
implementation will need to be increased to meet the demands in the growth target areas. Recreation for
teenagers and young adults will be an area of concern for areas adjacent to the urban Chatham County –
Savannah area. Recreation in Glynn, Camden, and McIntosh counties may need to be focused on aging
adults and the elderly if population projections and marketing strategies for these areas are accurate.

The advent of such projects/plans as the Statewide Bicycle Plan, the Coastal Georgia Trail, the Wiregrass
Trail, and the Liberty Trail present an opportunity for the local governments and private interest groups in
the region to coordinate route planning and management. This would create a cohesive and logical
network of bicycle/pedestrian routes that could fill a regional need for such recreation.

Many jurisdictions feel the need to develop state of the art facilities for specific sports in order to host
regional/state tournaments. This is especially seen in this region regarding softball. There may be an
opportunity to plan regionally for these expensive facilities in order to develop a wider variety of state of
the art equipment/facilities to be promoted and utilized on a regional scale.

In regards to public access to water recreation resources, in some cases, especially along the region’s
rivers, public access is in conflict and competition with private property rights. Along the same lines,
public recreation is in conflict with the State’s plans for preservation of many of the Coastal barrier

Regionally Significant Educational Facilities. Growth in all of the region’s counties has caused
overcrowding in grade and high schools. This is especially evident in Bryan County. In comparison with
the state, the coastal region is presently adequately served by institutions of higher learning, however,
there are still some needs going unmet in terms of access to higher education. McIntosh Counties is one
area in the region that does not have local access to academic or technical education beyond high school.
Based on the population projections for the region, supplying the growth target areas with educational
infrastructure and resources will be a constant challenge that will require extensive and constant
improvements to existing facilities and infrastructure.

Improvements planned by local governments in the region for the growth target areas of Bryan county
have already, in some cases, been surpassed by current needs. The target areas are trying to develop
innovative ways of raising the funds necessary to pay for these improvements through such measures as
special sales taxation dedicated to schools. In regards to higher education, the planned expansions of
local community colleges and the use of the satellites and the Internet to teach courses in areas presently
not served could go a long way toward meeting future education needs. There is however a need to
expand the types of graduate degrees that can be earned at the region’s colleges/university. The use of
satellite classrooms and the Internet offers an opportunity for the region to share educational resources. It
may also be the key in the future to reduce overcrowding in schools and increase the teacher to student

Regionally Significant Libraries and Cultural Facilities.                According to a review of local
comprehensive plans, the existing library facilities are adequate to meet the present needs of the region.
In terms of cultural facilities, with the exception of Chatham County – Savannah, there are few cultural
facilities in the region. All areas of the region are being served adequately by at least one library.
Although it is not stated in the local comprehensive plans, most of the region is not adequately served by
conventional cultural facilities: live theater, ballet, live concerts, lecture series, art exhibits, museums,
etc. Locally, these needs are often met by southern cultural facilities such as church, family, pageantry,
nature pursuits, etc. Many of the local comprehensive plans state the need for an auditorium to hold
cultural and civic events. The cost of constructing and managing an auditorium is what has prevented
most of these local governments from meeting this need. Perhaps there is an opportunity to create a
regional facility to meet this need.

Natural and Historic Resources
The Coastal Georgia Region has an abundance of natural resources, which provide its inhabitants and
visitors with a wealth of ecological, economic, and recreational advantages.

Climate. The Coastal Region is classified as subtropical, favored by both latitude and proximity to the
Atlantic Ocean, resulting in moderate temperatures. Average winter temperature is about 45 degrees and
the average summer temperature is near 80 degrees. Temperature exceeds 90 degrees from 75 days
(coastal) to 80 days (inland) a year. Freezing temperatures in winter are infrequent (averaging 12 days a
year on the coast, 25 days a year inland) and seldom last longer than half a day at a time. Humidity is
high, averaging between sixty (60) percent and seventy-five (75) percent, higher in early morning and
decreasing slightly by early afternoon.

Annual rainfall ranges between 49 and 54 inches, with slightly higher levels just inland from the coast.
Snow is rare and short-lived, although in winter hail and freezing rain are not uncommon. Seasonally,
rainfall is greatest between June and September, when over one-half of the annual rainfall occurs in one-
third of the year. As a result of this pattern, there is a seasonally high “water table” (superficial aquifer)
in October. November is the driest month, with an average of about two inches of rain. Year round, there
are between 75 and 80 days when more than one-tenth of one inch of rain falls.

Like any coastal area along the Atlantic seaboard, Coastal Georgia is subject to hurricanes and severe
tropical storms. Due to the contour of the eastern shoreline of the Southeast, Georgia is more protected
from the open ocean and therefore somewhat less prone to hurricane risk than many other coastal areas.
Historically, storms of hurricane intensity occur less than once in ten years and very few of these have
produced severe damage. There are only about half a dozen hurricanes in recorded history that have
caused major loss of life and/or property in the region.

Geology & Topography. The geological history of the region has created the string of ocean islands
(“barrier islands”) and marsh islands (“hammocks”) through a series of fluctuations in sea level over
several “ice ages.” The higher ridges along the mainland were formed as primordial sand dunes when
the higher sea level made the shoreline many miles further inland than where it is today. The region is
very flat, with minor exceptions, having the typical topography of the “coastal plain” found throughout
the southeastern United States. The only notable exceptions are the dune ridges and river bluffs, where
elevations may reach thirty feet or more above mean seal level. Elevations gradually increase as one
moves inland, and the only natural contours are the remnants of prehistoric sea levels and associated
movement of materials caused by ice formation and thawing. Due to the low contour of the region, rivers
meander, having many miles of bending, winding, and “ox-bows.” Marshlands and lagoons that were
located behind these primordial barrier islands trapped a range of sediments brought by a combination of
ocean tides and discharge from major rivers having upland drainage basins many thousands of square
miles in area. These sediments, including various types of sand, clay, and loam, vary from a few inches
to many feet in thickness. The earlier deposits served as the natural base for vegetation, which in turn led
to the formation of organic-rich topsoil as the debris of thousands of generations of plant and animal life
were deposited.

Coastal Resources. There are numerous areas that are classifiable as environmentally sensitive in the
Coastal Region. Among these are tidal marshlands; freshwater wetlands; habitats of critical and
endangered species; hammocks (marsh islands); beaches, dunes, and the “sand-sharing system”; and
aquifer recharge areas (for the Miocene aquifer).

Barrier Islands. All 100 miles of Georgia’s ocean beaches are on the seaward faces of barrier islands.
In spite of their obvious attraction for commercial and residential use, ten of the eighteen major barrier
islands along Georgia’s coast are in public ownership. Except for Jekyll Island in Glynn County, none of
these publicly owned islands are accessible by car from the mainland. The rest are designated for wildlife
management, environmental research, and/or undeveloped recreational uses. Of the total land area of the
fifteen largest barrier islands, about 65 percent is in public ownership (36 percent state and 29 percent
federal). The Georgia barrier islands are unparalleled in the continental United States as undisturbed
islands in their natural state. Because of their uniqueness, importance to environmental research and
habitat for numerous species, and particularly because of their ownership, it is unlikely that development
will occur on any of the undeveloped islands in the foreseeable future.

                Coastal Georgia Barrier Islands
                                                          Approxi mate   Approxi mate
                Island                                    Acreage        Miles of Beach
                Tybee                                     1,500          3.4
                Little Tybee                              1,600          3.0
                Wassaw                                    2,500          6.0
                Ossabaw                                   11,800         9.5
                St. Catherines                            7,200          11.0
                Wolf Island + (Egg and Little Egg)         5,126
                Blackbeard                                3,900          7.5
                Sapelo                                    10,900         5.6
                Little St. Simons                         2,300          6.5
                Sea                                       1,200          3.8
                St. Simons                                12,300         3.8
                Jekyll                                    4,400          8.0
                Little Cu mberland                        1,600          2.4
                Cu mberland                               15,100         16.9
                Totals                                    81,426         88.3

Due to the focused concentration of development potential on only three of the ten largest barrier islands
in Georgia, those with this potential are confronting considerable growth pressure. Both Tybee Island and
St. Simons/Sea Island (combined here due to their accessibility by way of only one causeway from the
mainland) are continually undergoing public scrutiny of development proposals and their consequences.
As infill development continues and the density of land use increases, the potential for conflicts over
development issues can be expected to escalate. It is therefore extremely important that these areas are
properly managed to preserve the environmental balance of their fragile ecosystems. The table below
lists the major islands approximate acreage and miles of beach.

Floodplains. Most of the coastal land area is within the 100-year floodplain, as determined by the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and depicted on the federal flood insurance maps. The
FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), in which nearly all coastal local governments
participate, requires that all construction be built to FEMA specifications, including minimum elevations
above mean sea level, as determined by computer modeling of flood conditions. These requirements also
prohibit construction within certain areas due to the high probability of severe flood damage. These
restrictions are enforced by local government building permits and inspection activities, subject to
periodic monitoring by FEMA. Meeting and enforcing these requirements makes local governments
eligible for federally subsidized flood insurance. (The Cities of Gum Branch and Walthourville in Liberty
County are not currently participating in the National Flood Insurance Program and have not had areas of
Special Flood Hazard identified.)

Some communities in the coastal region now also participate in the FEMA Community Rating System
Program, which provides discounted insurance protection of property within the floodplain by imposing
greater requirements on local governments, including public education and enforcement through zoning
and subdivision regulation. Property owners within the jurisdictions of those local governments
participating in the Community Rating System receive preferred rates for federally subsidized flood

While these standards are intended to reduce risk of flood damage to life and property, in some cases they
may also reduce the destructive effects of building at ground level: on the gradient. Even so, it is argued
that the effect of federal insurance subsidies is to encourage development in areas where flood risks
would otherwise preclude or greatly reduce the market for development. Although most of Coastal
Georgia is within the 100-year flood plain, undoubtedly those areas not within the flood plain, namely the
highest elevation uplands that are at least risk, would be more intensely developed if there were no FEMA
insurance program. Conversely, the market for low-lying areas along marshes and shorelines, many of
which are now in high demand for residential use, would diminish without low-cost property insurance.

With the majority of Coastal communities participating in the FEMA Flood Insurance Program, the
impacts of human activity and inappropriate land uses on the floodplain have been greatly reduced.
However, land uses existing before the inception of the National Flood Insurance Program still pose a
threat to both the floodplain and personal property. Most local jurisdictions state that the regulations
imposed by being a NFIP member community are adequate to protect the floodplains resource in the

In coastal areas there is always the competing priority of people wanting to live as close as possible to
coastal waters and the need to reduce development in flood hazard zones. In turn, this desire to live near
water essentially is at odds with the need to encourage development outside of the floodplain. Most
communities have tried to resolve this potential conflict of interest by using a best management approach
to construction on the floodplain with the adoption and enforcement of local floodplain ordinances.

Soils. Most of the Coastal Georgia region has been sampled, analyzed, and classified by soil type by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The region’s soils fall
into one of seven “associations” ranging from well-drained sand to wet clay. According to NRCS
findings, the majority of the coastal area is either poorly suited or only marginally suited for development
due to the drainage characteristics of soil types. Although septic tanks are commonly used, according to
criteria for percolation administered by the various county health departments, many septic systems now
in place function poorly, either because of soil characteristics or the seasonally high water table. Due to
both soil characteristics and land costs (smaller lots, higher density) increasing proportions of areas to be
developed in the future are expected to be served by sewer systems. Like most other environmental
characteristics, reliable site-specific soil information can only be determined by sampling and analysis on
a case-by-case basis. In other words, any restrictions on a particular site’s development suitability based
on soil maps would be inappropriate since these maps suggest characteristics in the vicinity, not definitive
information about the site.

Septic tanks that are improperly located on unsuitable soil or that are improperly installed/maintained
pose a regional threat to potentially both ground and surface water. As many areas in the region adjacent
to urban areas grow hot spots, such has been seen in the Unincorporated areas adjacent to Chatham
County in Effingham County, large scale development outpaces the jurisdictions ability to provide public
water and sewer services necessitating the installation of private water systems and septic tanks. In
addition, much of this new growth is taking place in areas where the water table is very high, which pose
a greater risk to the environment.

According to local comprehensive plans, septic tanks pose a risk of contaminating the region’s water
resources. All Effingham County soils have limitations for septic tanks. In Camden County, 95 percent
of the soils are not conducive to residential development and there have been incidences of well
contamination directly caused by septic tank seepage. Glynn County, with 67 percent of the soils having
septic limitations, has identified septic problems in three areas on St. Simons Island and at I-95 Exit 6,
north of Brunswick. Bulloch County’s local comprehensive plan states that a pollution threat exists from
septic tanks, which are located too close together, and on inadequately sized lots. Also in Bulloch County,
the incidence of improperly operating septic systems or not even connecting to septic or other waste
disposal system has occurred. This occurrence has increased throughout the Region with the proliferation
of manufactured/mobile home placement. This rapid growth has impacted both the Code Enforcement
Offices’ and Health Departments’ ability to adequately enforce and monitor existing regulations.

In response to threats of water contamination from septic tanks, local comprehensive plans state basically
the same causes, effects, and solutions. The most prevalent cause is rapid development in areas that are at
best marginally suited for residential development without the benefit of public water and sewer services.
The effects are contamination of shallow wells, improperly operating sewage disposal systems, and bio
contamination of surface waters. The top solution is to serve septic sensitive areas that have already been
developed with public water and sewer systems. Some local plans suggest the need to require larger lot
sizes as well as requiring public sewer and water connection. In areas where finances will not allow for
the installation of water and sewer infrastructure, improvements in permitting, monitoring, and
enforcement are a possible solution.

Many sites that are developed are filled with a foot or more of soil to improve drainage and elevation.
These practices in combination with the usual earth-moving equipment used in clearing and site
preparation increase the risk of erosion, especially during construction. Local governments enforce
provisions of the state’s Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Act, which include the use of filtration
screening and various stabilization techniques. Erosion also results from certain natural and artificially
influenced effects of coastal creeks, estuaries, rivers, and ocean (tides and wave action).

The majority of jurisdictions in the Coastal region state that the enforcement of the state’s Soil Erosion
and Sedimentation Control Act is adequate to protect the region’s soil resources. In addition, inland soils
in this region are not highly erodable. Soils best suited for development are located outside of the
metropolitan Chatham-Savannah area where most of the region’s development has been and is expected
to continue to occur at a rapid pace.

Plant and Animal Habitat. Coastal Georgia has an abundant marsh, estuarine, riverine, and forest
habitat that is home to many different plants and animals. Some of this flora and fauna is endangered or
threatened in the State and federal levels. The following lists those plants and animals that have been
sighted in the Region that are either Federally or State listed.
Flora                                                        Picoides borealis (Red Cockaded Woodpecker)E
Elliottia racemosa (Georgia Plume)*                          Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle)E
Stewartia Malacondendron (silky camellia)*                   Falco peregrinus anatum (Peregrine Falcon)E
Sarracenia minor (hooded pitcherplant)*                      Trichechus manatus (West Indian Manatee)E
Nectanassa violacea (yellow crowned                          Mycteria americana (Wood Stork)E
nighteron)*                                                  Charadrius melodus (Piping plover)T
Croomia (Croomia pauciflora) SR                              Drymarchon corais couperi (Eastern Indigo
Fauna                                                        Caretta caretta (Loggerhead sea turtle)T
Kinosternon bauril (striped mud turtle)*                     Lepidochelys kempii (Kemp’s ridley sea turtle) E
Notophthalmus perstriatus (striped newt)*                    Dermochelys coriacea (Leatherback sea turtle)E
Umbra pyrmaea (eastern mudminnow)*                           Acipenser brevirostrum (Shortnose sturgeon)E
Fundulus chrysotus (golden topminnow)*                       Right Whale-E
Menidia beryllina (tidewater silverside)*                    Humpback Whale-E
Gopherus polyphemus (Gopher tortoise)SR
*-State only protected species
E-Federal/State endangered list
T-Federal/State threatened list
SR- Status Review species: are not legally protected under the Endangered Species Act, and are not subject to any of its provisions, until they are
officially proposed or listed as endangered/threatened.

There is a definite likelihood that rare, endangered, and threatened plant and animal habitats and species
are currently and will be in the future affected by inappropriate land uses or other human activity. There is
the chance that areas denoted as hot spots for growth and development (areas adjacent to Chatham
County) could adversely impact significant plant and animal resources should they be present in these
developing areas. The desire to develop and expand could easily be in competition for significant plant
and animal habitat. Most local governments are not aware of what significant plant and animal habitats
and species exist in their area and where they are located. There is local interest in protecting signif icant
plant and animal resources from the pressures of development once these resources are identified.
However, there are currently few local measures to protect these resources. The only local management
tool for flora or fauna noted in the region is Glynn County’s protection of nesting sea turtles from
residential lighting and limitation on development in conservation preservation districts through zoning.

Regionally Important Natural and Historic Resources. The following natural and historic
resources were nominated for designation as Regionally Important Resources (RIR), but were not selected
in part because of concerns relating to the identification of boundaries. Also, the success of the RIR
process was contingent upon public support and many of the nominations throughout the state met with
public concerns relating to private property restrictions.

1) Historic Cemeteries
   Nominated by: McIntosh County Comprehensive Plan/Historic Preservation Committee
   Location: City of Darien and scattered throughout McIntosh County

    Description: McIntosh County contains cemeteries that date from 1726 where early settlers are
    buried. Several African-American cemeteries have never been recorded and are in danger of being

2) Tabby Ruins of early and mid 1800s -Darien waterfront and The Thicket
   Nominated by: McIntosh County Comprehensive Plan/Historic Preservation Committee
   Location: City of Darien, Georgia
   Description: Tabby ruins provide a visible reminder of the earliest period of Georgia history. They
   are evidence of a unique, functional architecture of the early 1800s. The “Thicket” and the Darien
   Waterfront Tabby ruins were warehouses for sugar and other goods to be shipped.

3) Isle of Hope Settlement
   Nominated by: a suburb of Savannah, Georgia
   Location: Chatham County
   Description: Isle of Hope, founded in 1736 is an important historic and natural site. Located on the
   Skidaway River, Isle of Hope is a prime example of an early coastal settlement.

4) Ebenezer Creek, Effingham County
   Nominated by: The Nature Conservancy of Georgia
   Location: Effingham County
   Description: Ebenezer Creek is a unique natural cypress-gum swamp forest in the Savannah River
   basin. The site is important as a spawning ground and habitat for striped bass and the American

5) Savannah/Ogeechee Canal
   Nominated by: Chatham County Parks/Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department
   Location: Savannah, Garden City, and Pooler
   Description: The Savannah/Ogeechee Canal was constructed in 1820 to connect the Savannah and
   Ogeechee Rivers. It was the first canal constructed in Georgia and several original brick locks remain
   in place.

6) Trustees’ Garden Site
   Nominated by: Historic Savannah Foundation, Inc.
   Location: Savannah, Georgia
   Description: The Trustee’s Garden was the first public agricultural experimental garden in America.
   Upland cotton, which becomes the major source of the world’s cotton supply, was propagated here.
   The period of significance for this ten-acre garden was 1733-1755.

7) Altamaha River
   Nominated by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy
   Location: Wayne, Long, McIntosh, Glynn, Montgomery, Toombs, Tattnall, Appling, and Jeff Davis
   Description: The Altamaha River, which drains over 25 percent of the land area of Georgia, is
   important in maintaining the ecological balance of Georgia’s estuary coast. The undeveloped portion
   of the Altamaha contains the most extensive bottomland forest river in the southeastern U.S..

8) Evelyn Grantly Tract
   Nominated by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
   Location: Glynn County

    Description: The Evelyn Grantly tract is a 2,311-acre ecologically significant fresh-brackish tidal
    marsh in the delta of the Altamaha River. The site provides habitat for osprey, bald eagle, wood
    stork, peregrine falcon and shortnose sturgeon.

9) Satilla River Delta
   Nominated by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
   Location: Ware, Pierce, Charlton, Brantley, Camden counties
   Description: The Satilla River Delta transects Ware, Pierce, Charlton, Brantley, and Camden
   counties. The river delta system is essential in maintaining production in estuary ecosystems along
   the Georgia coast.

10) Lower Ogeechee River and floodplain
    Nominated by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    Location: Effingham and Bryan counties
    Description: The Lower Ogeechee River is one of the most important remote remnants of river and
    hardwood flood plain along the river. The Ogeechee River supports valuable sport and commercial
    fishery, including largemouth bass, redbreast sunfish, striped bass, shad, and shortnose sturgeon.

11) Red-cockaded Woodpecker (statewide nomination)
    Nominated by: Coastal Georgia Audubon Society, Georgia Conservancy
    Location: All counties
    Description: The red cockaded woodpecker is an endangered species with the population declining
    rapidly in the last decade. The loss in numbers is due primarily to habitat destruction. The red
    cockaded woodpecker is a habitat specific bird, requiring over mature pine trees infested with red
    heart disease. In Coastal Georgia, Liberty, Bryan, Camden and Long counties support small
    populations of this bird.

12) Nesting and Wintering Shorebird Habitat
    Nominated by: Coastal Georgia Audubon Society, Georgia Conservancy
    Location: All counties where nesting or wintering has been documented by G.O.S.
    Description: The diversity of wildlife and birdlife is of great importance to the state. Coastal Georgia
    is a part of the Atlanta flyway and is critical to shorebirds for nesting, wintering, resting, and feeding.

13) Wood Stork Habitat for nesting and foraging (statewide nomination)
    Nominated by: Coastal Georgia Audubon Society, Georgia Conservancy
    Location: Any county that contains suitable wetlands
    Description: The wood stork requires standing water around nesting trees in order to successfully
    nest. As Florida develops, the wood stork’s habitat is being destroyed. An increasing number of
    wood storks are now showing up in Georgia as a result. Palustrine forests are now under increasing
    pressure for preservation in this region.

14) Buffer Zones around State Parks, National Parks, and Wildlife refuges (statewide nomination)
    Nominated by: Coastal Georgia Audubon Society, Georgia Conservancy
    Location: Statewide
    Description: the development of a buffer zone around state parks, national parks and refuges would
    provide critical protection of the integrity of the sites from external influences. Taken on an
    individual basis, each site should be evaluated in terms of buffer requirements.

15) South end of Jekyll Island
    Nominated by: Coastal Georgia Audubon Society
    Location: Jekyll Island, Glynn County

    Description: The south beach area is an important loggerhead turtle nesting area. Other rare birds
    also use the area.

16) Jekyll Causeway Wood Stork Roost
    Nominated by: Coastal Georgia Audubon Society
    Location: Glynn County
    Description: a widening of the causeway could negatively impact this important wood stork roosting

17) Marsh Island
    Nominated by: Coastal Georgia Audubon Society
    Location: Camden County
    Description: This is an important nesting area for the white Ibis, great and snowy egrets, little blue
    and tri-colored herons.

18) Central Georgia Railroad District
    Nominated by: Coastal Georgia Heritage Society
    Location: Savannah, Chatham County
    Description: This is an important early railroad facility that includes a round house and a re pair
    complex. The passenger station and several other structures date from 1855. The site is also the
    location of the second bloodiest battle in the Revolutionary War.

Scenic Areas, Major Parks, and Recreation Areas. Areas of Preservation and Restoration
include areas exhibiting scarce or vulnerable natural habitats and physical features; areas offering
substantial recreational value; and areas of vital importance in protecting and maintaining coastal
resources. The Georgia Coastal Management Program Document identifies the following areas
as Areas of Preservation and Restoration.

Heritage Trust Program Lands established under the State’s Heritage Trust Act of 1975, include the
following Heritage Trust Preserves:
                  Ossabaw Island (Chatham County)
                  Richmond Hill Wildlife Management Area (Liberty, Bryan, & McIntosh counties)
                  Wormsloe Historic Site (Chatham County)
                  Little Tybee Island/Cabbage Island (Chatham County)
                  Altamaha River Corridor (McIntosh, Wayne, & Long counties)*

The Nature Conservancy, a national private, non-profit land trust and environmental research
organization, has designated an extensive area of the Altamaha River corridor as a “Bioreserve” project.
This entails detailed study, inventory, and assessment of resources, land ownership, and activities. The
efforts of the Nature Conservancy will result in a management plan and a conservation program, with
special attention to the most important and/or threatened resources within the corridor. The organization
is working with landowners to implement improved methods for resource management, including
protection of land through conservation easements.

State Wildlife Management Areas:
                 Altamaha Wildlife Management Area (McIntosh County)
                 Ossabaw Island Wildlife Management Area (Chatham County)
                 Paulk’s Pasture Wildlife Management Area (Glynn County)
                 Richmond Hill Wildlife Management Area (Bryan & McIntosh counties)
                 Sansavilla Wildlife Management Area (Glynn & Wayne counties)

                  Richard J. Reynolds Wildlife Management Area (McIntosh County)

State Parks & Historic Sites:
               Crooked River State Park (Camden County)
               Fort McAllister Historic Site (Bryan County)
               Skidaway Island State Park (Chatham County)
               Fort King George Historic Site (McIntosh County)
               Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Historic Site (Glynn County)
               Fort Morris Historic Site (Liberty County)
               Richmond Hill State Park & Fort McAllister State Historic Site (Bryan county)

Jekyll Island: (State owned and managed by the Jekyll Island Authority) sixth largest of Georgia’s barrier
islands, with about 4,400 acres of uplands, maintained and protected under State legislation passed in
1950. Used for a variety of active, passive, residential, recreational, and educational purposes. In 1978
the Jekyll Island Club Historic District was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary: established under Title III of the Marine Protection, Research,
and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, and administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA). A seventeen square (nautical) mile section of Gray’s Reef was designated a
National Marine Sanctuary in January 1981. It lies 35 miles northeast of Brunswick in waters ranging
from 50 to 72 feet deep. It is one of the nation’s largest, near shore live bottom reefs on the east coast,
with an unusual mixture of tropical and temperate species. It serves research, educational, and
recreational fishing functions.

Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve: Created in 1972, the National Estuarine Research
Reserve System fosters a wide range of coastal and estuarine habitats. The Sapelo Island reserve received
designation as a National Estuarine Sanctuary in 1976, the second in the nation. About 6,000 acres in
area, this reserve/sanctuary occupies almost one-third of Sapelo Island, the fourth largest of Georgia’s
barrier islands and one the most pristine. It includes unspoiled coastal salt marsh, maritime forest, tidal
creeks, beach and dunes areas within the Duplin River estuary. The property is used for both basic
research as well as public education and compatible, low-impact recreation. The University of Georgia's
Marine Institute operates a major research center open to qualified scientists from throughout the world
who study both biological and geological processes.

Agriculture and Forestry. Prime agricultural land has always been a scarce commodity in the Coastal
Region. In the coastal counties, agriculture is labor and management intensive and is therefore not
economically profitable. The area’s high water table and the tidal and non-tidal marshes and wetlands that
comprise nearly fifty (50) percent of the land area in the region are not conducive to farming. However, in
Liberty and Long Counties, approximately four (4) percent or 24,385 acres of land is considered to be
prime farmland. Another 124,491 acres are labeled as land of statewide importance. Farmland in general
makes up less than one (1) percent of the total land area in Camden and Glynn counties. Coastal land is
however prime for forest, hard and soft wood, production, for the very reason it is not suitable for
farming: high water levels. Therefore, management and preservation of forestland is more an issue in the
Coastal Region than the preservation of prime farmland.

Forest Lands. Coastal Georgia has an enormous area of land used for commercial forests. Of the region’s
total land area, over half, or about 2,000 square miles, is forested. In addition to this commercial forest,
local, state, or federal government hold another seventeen (17) percent of the land area, much of it also
forested. Although forestry itself is a relatively small employer in the region, manufacture of paper and
other forestry products is a major enterprise, employing over four thousand workers in six plants scattered

along the coast. The table below the number of acres in timberland for each Coastal County and the
region, as well as the percent of timberland when compared to all land area. Camden, Liberty, and
Effingham counties lead the region in acres of timber. The Coastal Region’s timber supply constitutes
eight (8) percent of the State’s timber.

 Forest Land and Ownership- 2002
 County      Forest       % of Total    Total        % Pu blicly   Acres Publicly   % Industry    Acres Industry
             Acreage      Land Area     Land Area    Owned         Owned            Owned         Owned

 Bryan         221,200           78.2      282,864          83.1          183,817          16.9           37,383
 Camden        267,600           66.4      403,012          59.4          158,954          40.6          108,646
 Chatham        86,600           30.7      282,085          89.7           77,680          10.3            8,920
 Glynn         147,400           54.5      270,459          26.3           38,766          73.7          108,634
 Liberty       237,800           71.6      332,123          71.8          170,740          28.2           67,060
 McIntosh      150,700           54.3      277,532          43.9           66,157          56.1           84,543
 Region      1,111,300           60.1    1,848,075          62.6          696,116          37.4          415,184
Adapted from CGRDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six counties.

Forestry as an economic enterprise is also important because forestry companies own much of the land on
the fringes of developed areas, including lands that are periodically marketed for residential and
commercial uses. Due to the sheer size of these tracts and their proximity to developing area s, projects
proposed on former timberland are often among the largest, in terms of both gross acreage and volume of
construction. In some cases forestry companies have their own development subsidiaries, while others
may simply sell the land to independent developers.

As a land use, properly managed forestry operations have minimal adverse effects on resources.
Professional biologists, botanists, and wildlife ecologists are often employed by forestry companies to
ensure that their activities comply with state and federal environmental regulations, while also protecting
their obvious vested interest in the trees they grow for profit. Vast stands of trees on company lands serve
as wildlife habitat, erosion protection, and flood control devices. In areas of low elevation and high water
table, such as those found in much of Coastal Georgia, trees also absorb high volumes of surface drainage
through natural evapotranspiration. After timber cutting, many tracts have soils that are saturated far more
thoroughly (closer to the surface) and more frequently than prior to harvesting. There are therefore
significant areas of transitional lands that by various criteria may be considered wetlands depending upon
the effects of trees on hydrology. Moreover, there are many areas classified as forested wetlands where
forestry activities are allowed under the federal Clean Water Act, Section 404. There is a possibility that
forestry companies owning large tracts of forest land on the outskirts of developing areas will choose to
convert forestland into residential developments. Existing and future land use maps indicate that a
portion of the region’s forest lands are being converted to developed land. It appears to be a case of
highest and most profitable use of some forestland is residential, commercial, or industrial development.

Impacts of Hazardous and Toxic Waste. The table below indicates the number of sites in the region
that have been determined to contain hazardous waste and are listed with the federal “Superfund”
program. The number of "hazardous waste sites" alone is an inconclusive indicator of environmental risk,
since some of these sites are undoubtedly far more hazardous than others. In terms of the number of sites,
the coast does not appear to be under a greater burden than the rest of Georgia. The degree of risk is
dependent on the type of material disposed, the methods of disposal, the natural conditions of the site(s)
in question, and the extent and effectiveness of efforts made to contain or remove the hazardous
material(s). Additional information is needed upon which to base decisions regarding what should be
done with these sites, at what cost, and the schedules for remediation/recovery. The volume of toxic

chemical released represents the amounts that are permitted by EPD under applicable air and water
pollution regulations according to federal and state laws. The Coastal Region registers a disproportionate
share of the state's total environmental burden as measured in terms of the release of toxic chemicals. In
proportion to population, this rate is about four times the state average.

                             Coastal Counties Hazardous Waste Sites (2003) *
                             Permitted Toxic Chemical Release (2001)
                             County                   Hazardous       Toxic Chemical
                                                      Waste Sites     Release (lbs/day)
                             Bryan                                    1                      -0-
                             Camden                                   2             1,229,598
                             Chatham                                 19             7,535,789
                             Glynn                                   13             1,712,931
                             Liberty                                  0               551,026
                             M cIntosh                                1                   3,228
                             Region                                  36            11,032,572
                             State                                  404           117,254,969
                             Region % of State Total                 8.9                   9.4
                             Adapted from CGRDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six coastal
                             counties. Original source: The Georgia County Guide (2003)

Solid Waste Impacts. The projections in the table below were made using a modified "straight-line"
method based on population forecasts; these figures indicate total waste generated, and do not reflect the
reduction in waste disposed in landfills that may be obtained by recycling. This means that recycling may
compensate for some of the increasing amounts of waste expected as further urbanization occurs, keeping
the average per capita amount of waste at about the same level.

      Coastal Counties Solid Waste Generation 1992-2002 (Tons per Year)
      Year/ County         1992          1994          1996          1998          2000            2002      Increase
      Bryan                12,046        12,548        13,043         13,544        14,046         14,675       21.8%
      Camden               30,603        32,453        34,727         36,135        36,823         37,336       22.1%
      Chatham             401,748        416,478       431,304      460,163       460,990          475,874      18.5%
      Glynn                66,280        73,577        78,592         81,325        84,058         86,384       30.3%
      Liberty              29,452        34,071        36,381         38,690        41,000         43,310       47.1%
      McIntosh             11,291          1,135       11,657         11,779        11,900         12,162        7.7%
      Region              551,420        570,262       605,704      641,636       648,817          669,741      21.5%
      Adapted from CGRDC Regional Plan Update 2004 to include six counties.
      Original source was Coastal Georgia Regional Solid Waste Management Plan (1994)

Properly managed, solid waste, theoretically, introduces minimal environmental risk. However, the
distinction between proper management and actual practices may result in significant exposure to such
risk, typically through contamination of ground water in the vicinity of landfills. Efforts to reduce these
risks have been made through more rigorous federal requirements under "Subtitle D" regulations
implementing the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Opinions about the degree
to which these requirements will lead to safer disposal and handling of solid waste vary greatly. One
concern is that by lining landfills as required under Subtitle D, over time toxins will become concentrated,
so that in the event of a leak contamination could be far worse than in conventional unlined landfills. By
the time leaks are detected by monitoring wells and leachate collection systems, contamination may go

beyond the point of feasible clean-up. These risks are especially troubling in the coastal area where high
water tables, vast areas of wetlands interlacing uplands, and numerous abandoned wells present
considerably higher potential for contamination of both ground and surface water. Underlying all of these
concerns are questions about long-term implications for water quality and other environmental conditions.

Impact of Port and Channel Maintenance. Shipping channels and harbors serving the world-class ports
in Savannah and Brunswick require extensive dredging in order to maintain the depths required to
accommodate ocean-going vessels. The millions of cubic yards of material removed in these operations
are placed in spoil areas approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Conditions for carrying out
dredge operations and for disposing of dredge material are permitted and monitored by the regulatory
branch of the Corps.

Over the years, dredging and depositing discarded dredge material have raised concerns over various
environmental consequences, especially because of toxic industrial pollutants that are sometimes found in
the dredged sediments collected. Also debated are the effects of significantly deepened channels on
conditions in adjacent shore and water-bottom areas. Some argue that rapidly increasing rates of erosion
and associated costs of shoreline stabilization are a direct result of channel dredging. Changes in the
hydraulics of water movement created by dredging are alleged to cause significant increases in "scouring
effects" that produce erosion of both shorelines and the bottoms of nearby rivers and creeks. Of course,
associated changes in water movement and salinity can also affect marine and estuarine habitat. In any
case, dredging for harbor and channel maintenance is essential to ensuring the economic benefits of
coastal ports.

Impact of Water Access, Boating and Commercial Fishing. Recreational use of coastal waters for
boating and fishing appears to be increasing at a much faster rate than population growth. There are
various reasons why these activities may compromise the condition of environmental resources, including
contamination from motor lubricants and fuels as well as increased shoreline erosion caused by vessels
and by construction and use of dock facilities, resulting in disturbed or destroyed marine or estuarine

According to the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, from 1988
to 1992 there was a 48 percent increase in the number of recreational boat licenses issued within the six
coastal counties. As of 1997, there were 28 public marinas and 36 public boat ramps among these same
six counties. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which issues permits for construction of private docks
as part of their function in maintaining navigable waterways, reports that between 75 and 100 permits
have been issued annually for building and replacing such docks along coastal rivers and creeks in recent
years. While there is some interest in promoting the use of community docks to reduce the proliferation
of private docks that accompany the rapid growth in residential development of waterfront areas, no
official state or federal policy has been adopted.

Commercial fishing activities, primarily shrimping, disturb water bottoms in near-shore areas by using
trawl nets that destroy vegetation and increase turbulence. Compared with channel dredging and
maintenance, these effects are considerably less significant.

Land Use
Chatham County (which includes seven municipalities) is the largest county in the region. Savannah is
primarily urban and the other six municipalities may be classified as suburban. Much of Chatham
County’s growth is attributed to excellent transportation facilities such as I-95 and I-16, Savannah
International Airport, Georgia Ports Authority, and rail and passenger rail services. Also there are higher

educational institutions such as Savannah State University and Armstrong Atlantic University. Savannah
has historic and cultural character and aggressive economic development incentives to attract business
and industry. These factors have dictated much of the land use in this area.

Bryan County has experienced much of its recent growth as a result of the migration of people from
Chatham County who are attracted to the lower tax base, excellent school system, low crime rate, etc.
Geographically, Bryan County is physically divided by the property of Fort Stewart. The northern part of
Bryan County and the city of Pembroke (the county seat) have not received as much growth as the
southeastern part of Bryan County. The area around Pembroke does have an industrial development park,
but it is not as well developed as the industrial park in Richmond Hill. The eastern part of Bryan County
has received tremendous growth and will continue to receive tremendous growth as a result of the
bedroom community effect offered by Richmond Hill for people who work in Chatham County and in
other instances are employed at Fort Stewart Army base. Richmond Hill also has tourism development
because of Fort Morris and Henry Ford-related historic resources. Richmond Hill also enjoys the benefit
of being on I-95, which offers easy access to Chatham County. U.S. 17 is now being widened to four
lanes, which offers additional access to Chatham County from Richmond Hill.

Liberty County and Hinesville’s growth is directly attributed to the growth of the 3rd Infantry Division
(Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, which consists of approximately 275,000 acres and is the largest military
base east of the Mississippi in the United States in land area. The population of Hinesville, the county
seat, is approximately 30,392, which makes it the second largest city in the region. The Liberty
County/Hinesville Chamber of Commerce/Industrial Development Authority has done an excellent job in
recruiting industry and business development opportunities. This has diversified the economic base of the
community so that it does not depend entirely upon the military base. Much of the future potential in
growth of Liberty County and Hinesville is directly dependent upon Fort Stewart.

The six other municipalities in Liberty County are Riceboro, Walthourville, Allenhurst, Midway,
Flemington, and Gum Branch. Midway, Riceboro, and Walthourville are growing modestly. Riceboro
has attracted such industry as Interstate Paper Mill. Riceboro’s and Midway’s land use and development
patterns are expected to be heavily influenced by proximity to Interstate 95. The city of Walthourville
provides affordable housing to Fort Stewart enlistees.

McIntosh County has recently begun to enjoy growth and development opportunities primarily as a
result of the location of one of the largest outlet shopping malls in southeast Georgia, which employs a
substantial number of people. Additional development continues to occur around the Interchange as a
direct result of this outlet shopping mall and more development is expected. The other activity that
generates income and employment is the fishing industry, which has historically been a mainstay in
McIntosh County. However, due to the seasonal nature of the fishing industry, employment offered by
the shrimp fleet out of Darien does not offer high-paying permanent long-term jobs. Many residents of
McIntosh County also are employed by business and manufacturing facilities located in Brunswick/Glynn
County. Recently, McIntosh/Darien has enjoyed the bedroom community effect because of the
uniqueness of Darien as a small fishing village and the easy access to Brunswick via U.S. 17 and
Interstate 95.

Glynn County by population, is the second largest county in the nine-county region, and has a strong
manufacturing, tourism, and industrial base. Probably the strongest economic factor in Glynn County is
the tourism industry, which is primarily driven by Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island, and Sea Island. Glynn
County has two large industrial parks, one located at the former Naval Air Station (NAS Glynco) which
has several large manufacturing facilities, some of which are hi-tech; and Colonel’s Island Industrial Park
which is a 6,500 acre facility that is served by sufficient rail, immediately adjacent to I-95 and the
deepwater port facility. The primary activity on Colonel’s Island is automobile processing facilities.

Brunswick is also home to a major operation of the Georgia Ports Facility. Glynn County enjoys the
services of a very successful and aggressive Chamber of Commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureau, and
Development Authority operations. Other large manufacturing facilities in Glynn County include
Georgia Pacific Pulp & Paper Mill, and Hercules. In addition, the Federal Law Enforcement Training
Center (FLETC) located on NAS Glynco premises which is the largest such training center in the United

Brunswick and the outlying areas in Glynn County continue to grow. The new hot spot in this area is the
planned city currently known as the “Golden Isles Gateway Tract.” This tract comprises 7,800 acres of
sprawling timberland along I-95. Several types of residential developments are planned in addition to all
the needed amenities.

Camden County is experiencing tremendous growth as a result of the nuclear submarine base located
near St. Marys. Durango Paper Company (formerly known as Gilman Paper Company) was the largest
employer, but closed its doors in the recent past. This unexpected event has left a great deal of Camden
County residents seeking employment elsewhere in the county and beyond. Growth continues, however,
in Camden County, and can be attributed to the growth and stability of the Nuclear Submarine Base. The
County also has the benefit of being accessible to the Jacksonville metropolitan area via Interstate 95. For
a while, Camden County was one of the fastest growing counties in the United States as a result of the
activity at the Nuclear Submarine Base. Three communities in Camden County: St. Marys, Kingsland,
and Woodbine, have continued to expand their municipal base by aggressive annexation which has
greatly increased the municipal boundaries of at least St. Marys and Kingsland, and, to some extent, in

Regional Land Use and Growth Issues and Trends.

Conversion of forest land to residential, commercial and industrial uses. Over half of the Coastal
Georgia Region is classified as commercial forestland. Although much of this land is held by small,
private, landowners who sell their timber to pulp and paper companies, vast acreage is owned by major
paper manufacturers. As the market dictates, these paper companies either sell land for development, or
else develop the land under a master plan for direct sale to residential, commercial, and industrial
customers. Acres of forested land within the region are being marketed or developed by paper company
divisions or their subsidiaries. Although this is a substantial area, it represents a very small portion of the
total landholdings of these companies (estimated at less than five percent of the total). Even so,
conversion of timberlands to more intensive uses represents a major component of the existing and
projected patterns of change in land use.

Public Ownership of Coastal Lands. With two military bases, several wildlife management areas, a
National Seashore (Cumberland Island), and vast areas of state-managed tidal wetlands, public areas
constitute approximately 34 percent of the region’s total land area, including tidal wetlands. The
proportion of public lands varies significantly from county to county.

Environmental Constraints on Development. Only three of Georgia’s eight major barrier islands are
accessible by land via causeways. The remaining five islands are either publicly owned or managed by
various public agencies while remaining privately owned. It is highly unlikely that there will be any
significant development of these remaining islands in the foreseeable future for at least two reasons. First,
state and national research and wildlife protection functions being carried out on these islands make them
unique and significant, with an active constituency among naturalists, environmentalists, and university
research proponents, and their counterparts in state and federal government agencies. Second, federal law
now discourages further development of barrier islands by restricting the use of federal subsidies (grants,
loans, and flood insurance protection) for construction of roads, bridges, and residential and commercial

buildings on previously undeveloped islands.

Infrastructure Needs of Small Communities and Unincorporated Areas. Comprehensive plans of
local governments indicate the need to deal with water, sewer, roads, and other services that are needed to
keep up with and promote growth. Those rural communities that experience significant rates of net
population growth have come to realize that such growth does not automatically pay for itself. Demands
for public facilities and services tend to exceed the financial capacity of many rural counties and small
towns. With funding assistance from state and federal government at an ever-higher premium, rural areas
often fail to keep pace with the service levels expected. This tends to restrict the quality and type of
development that can be captured by such areas until outside funding can be secured. In many areas, lack
of infrastructure will dictate land uses. Comprehensive plans of the area indicated the need for water and
sewer facilities due to the potential environmental concern associated with septic tanks

Housing Quality. Many newer residential developments consist of housing for the middle and upper
income brackets, such as in areas adjacent to Richmond Hill and Brunswick. Much of the older housing in
rural counties is in need of repair or simply substandard, especially outside incorporated areas. Many low-
to-moderate income households are unable to acquire or retain ownership in conventional housing,
turning to the “manufactured housing” market and buying units built outside the coastal area. Rates of
increase in manufactured housing units have outpaced site-built housing for at least twenty years in
virtually all rural areas. In contrast, many new site-built units are targeted for the retirement and second-
home markets, with average value well above the existing median. However, again these site-built units
are expected to be concentrated in and around the Savannah and Brunswick urban and suburban areas.

Job Opportunities for Economically Disenfranchised Groups . Certain segments of the population are
less integrated into the mainstream economy of the region: minorities, particularly African-American
females, and females in general tend to have much higher rates of unemployment and/or much lower
labor-force participation rates than white males. This is largely a result of past hiring practices, limited
experience, and lower education achievements within these groups. Public employment training programs
intended to correct these problems may fail to reach those most in need of training. This is due in part to
the remote location of rural residences and the inability to afford reliable transportation and the need for
affordable childcare.

One unique group of the underemployed consists of the military spouses of those assigned to Fort
Stewart. A study funded by the Cooperative Extension Service, the U.S. Army, and the Georgia Research
Alliance investigated the feasibility of and means for implementing a telecommunications-based back-
office industry for the Hinesville area, center of the Fort Stewart complex. As the study makes clear, there
are ample opportunities for data processing businesses in the Fort Stewart area, which could serve as an
important growth industry, especially for military spouses. It is reasonable to assume that similar
advantages could be realized in other coastal communities, with proper coordination of targeting and

Commuting to Urban Centers . Historically, as many as 60 percent of those working in rural counties
within the region have commuted to jobs in nearby urban centers. Commuting workers spend
disproportionate amounts of their income near their workplaces outside their resident counties, which
represents a significant drain on the economy of non-urban areas. Thus the economic base multiplier for
rural areas is further eroded compared to its urban counterpart by restricting the potential for commercial
development. Moreover, taxes generated by businesses, including both sales tax and tangible and real
property taxes, are much lower in rural areas, leading to additional pressure on residential property tax
increases. Ironically, some rural counties therefore have higher mileage rates than more urbanized
counties, despite having far lower levels of public facilities and services.

Development of Land Nearer to Industrial Uses: As available buildable land in metropolitan areas
become more scarce, marginal land (areas that builders, developers and consumers previously avoided)
will be developed. This has already occurred in Chatham County, where prime buildable land is in short
supply and development is occurring on the western edge of the metropolitan areas, formerly considered
too close to industrial areas for development of non-industrial use.

Sprawl and Leap-Frog Development in Metropolitan Areas: Land development for non-industrial
uses near metropolitan areas, such as Savannah and Brunswick tend to pass over large buildable parcels
that are being held for price speculation, to less costly sites. Extending public water supply, sewerage
systems, and other public services to the more distant sites is always difficult, expensive, and, sometimes
impossible. When private systems are substituted, their operating standards may not consistently match
the higher standards of public systems and services, and community health and environmental quality
often suffer.

Smaller Lot Sizes and Fewer Amenities: The consequent cost associated with the scarcity of readily
buildable land has resulted in a trend toward smaller lot sizes and fewer amenities for new moderately-
priced houses. Builders are trying to avoid being priced out of the market. Development of lower unit
cost townhouses, zero lot line, patio homes and atrium house styles is becoming more prevalent.

Mobile Home and Manufactured Homes: An average of 27.6 percent of the total housing stock in the
coastal region is mobile or manufactured homes, with Long County having the highest percentage at 60.5.
However, local government resistance to single lot manufactured home development seems to be
increasing. Mobile home and manufactured home developments will continue to be developed to
accommodate that special segment of the low-income housing market, where local government
development policies and regulations do not actively discourage such development types.

More Large-Scale Mixed Use Development: In some jurisdictions, attitudes and local requirements for
single use land developments are changing in favor of permitting large-scale mixed-use land
development. As land and building costs continue to increase, the economies of scale for large land
developments and the greater affordability for more purchasers will become more evident. These
developments can have a positive affect on local infrastructure. Many mixed use developments plan for
public amenities such as schools and recreation. Also, the mixed use concept can alleviate some
vehicular impacts with the grouping of commercial needs among residential dwellings whereby
decreasing on-road travel times.

Fiscal Pressures on Local Governments: Increased development can result in increased fiscal pressure
are facing increasing financial pressures resulting from land developments within their jurisdictions and
are becoming increasingly aware of the effects of development on operating and capital costs for local
services. Service-specific user fees for consumers and public service impact fees for developers will
become more common. Many local comprehensive plans state the need to amend or adopt subdivision
regulations to include specific provisions and standards that require developers to absorb some or all the
costs of providing infrastructure to their subdivisions.

Increased Resort and Residential Development: Increasing numbers of affluent retirees are seeking
the benefits of the sun coast life style. Resort style developments along Georgia’s seacoast have
capitalized on that demand, but increasing pressure for development in environmentally-sensitive areas is
polarizing conflicts between developers and conservationists. Those conflicts are expected to continue to
intensify during the next decade.

Increased Public Awareness of Environmental Concerns: General public awareness of, and public
support for, environmental protection is part of the thrust for growth management and will increasingly

contradict land development that adversely affects environmental quality. Efforts to balance economic
development with environmental protection will become more difficult and expensive for both


Description: Augusta Georgia Utilities Management Plan document sample