Mystery surrounds plans for wetlands near coast
by Kelly Quimby, The Brunswick News
December 05, 2013 08:00 AM | 388 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Glynn County Commissioner Michael Browning is still waiting for answers about what a landowner plans to do with a 416-acre tract in the western portion of his commission district.

The owner, Francis Williams of St. Marys, has twice had his request for a rezoning of the land near Sterling removed from Mainland Planning Commission agendas.

Neither Williams nor local engineer Chris Amos, who is acting as an agent for Williams, are talking about it. The general descriptions in the rezoning application of plans for a self-sustaining community with its own roads, water and sewer system, and a community garden and barn have Browning wondering what the proposed project will entail.

Williams did not immediately return telephone calls Wednesday from The News to a telephone number listed for him on the project's preliminary plat plan.

The number connects to an answering machine for a company called Global Silver Investors, an organization with a mission described on its website of informing "the average investor, and the average person who knows nothing of investments and investment markets, of the pitfalls of the fiat money system." The term "fiat money" often is used to refer to money, such as U.S. currency, that is not backed by gold or silver.

Browning says to his knowledge the property's representatives are anticipating appearing at the planning commission's meeting Jan. 7.

"What I heard from someone unofficially was that they're maybe going to come back and talk to folks in the community about what they're going to do," Browning said Wednesday.

"I'm a big property rights (advocate), but we've got a duty to find out who's coming in, and what they're going to do with the property. I've got a lot of questions. If nothing else, I've got a lot of questions that I need answers for."

Browning says the location of the property within a wetlands is delicate, and he wants to make clear to a developer that there will be requirements to protect the surrounding land.

Amos says property owner Williams and representative Kyle Colafrancesco of Dennis, Texas, opted to put off the rezoning request until they can attend a planning commission meeting to provide information about the development.

The rezoning application describes the intent of the project as, "to develop a low-density, low-impact, mixed-use residential and agricultural development." Water for the property would be provided by wells on site and a private dirt road would provide access.

Colafrancesco said Wednesday, the day after the rezoning was removed from the planning commission agenda a second time, that a goal of the development is to accentuate the marsh. He said such surroundings are an asset to a community, and the goal is to leave the wetlands in "pristine" condition.

"We chose (that property) for that particular type of layout," he said. "That's why there's only (29) parcels being put in there. We look for properties that have pretty strong natural characteristics like that -- that we can just leave alone."

He declined, however, to discuss details of the project until after he can visit the area later this month.

Based on information from property owner Williams, County Planner Eric Landon has recommended that the planning commission approve both a rezoning from forest agricultural to planned development and preliminary plat plan for lots. Recommendations by the planning commission must then be adopted or rejected by the county commission.

The planning commission meeting Jan. 7 will be at 6 p.m. at the historic Glynn County Courthouse, 701 G St., Brunswick.

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Information from: The Brunswick News, http://www.thebrunswicknews.com



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