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Governments Plan for Development of Land Vulnerable to Rising Sea Level: Camden County, Georgia

Additional background prepared by the staff of Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center and Jim Titus

All developed lands within the county are almost certain to be protected, The main challenge of this study was mapping the areas where future development is likely.

Extensive new development is taking place in selected areas. For example, a Sea Island Company-owned tract of land is to be developed into a high-end residential retreat. The land is located in an area of the county above the 20-foot contour and, so, was not classified with regard to likelihood of protection. Existing flooding problems with Highway 40 are being highlighted in the county's Hazard Mitigation Plan. County planners also indicated that agriculture and silviculture are not vital to the county's economic base, so residential development in the western, forested, portion of county is considered likely. The opening of the Sidney Lanier bridge to Brunswick will generate new residential development in the northeast portion of the county.

Camden County Court House (Woodbine), Kingsland Historic District, and St. Marys Historic District are not marked for protection from sea level rise or erosion. Shorelines surrounding the Little Cumberland Island Light House will not be armored, according to DNR. Nor will the County act to protect historic sites in St. Marys, Kingsland, and elsewhere in the county. However, these sites will benefit from protection efforts in adjoining commercial and industrial areas

The County is committed to protecting its roads by elevating them when the threat of inundation becomes apparent. It is unlikely, however, that the County will accept maintenance responsibilities for private roads. There is no viable re-route option available for evacuation routes, which include I-95, U.S. 17, GA Hwy 110, GA Hwy 252, and GA Hwy 40, which is affected by flooding during high tide. DOT plans to elevate and widen portions of Hwy 40. County-owned evacuation routes include Harriet's Bluff Road (currently affected by flooding) and portions of St. Marys and Kings Bay roads. These roads will be elevated as necessary.

Tish Watson, former planning director of Camden County, reviewed our final draft maps and provided additional suggestions for future development.

1. Change the NW and NE quadrants of I-95 and Dover Bluff Road to brown. The NW quadrant will have 300 homes. The NE quadrant is Sanctuary Cove at St. Andrews Sound, an upscale development with golf course.

2. Change land 1/4 mile on either side of Dover Bluff Road to brown. There are four more developments in various stated and more are anticipated.

3. Change all usable land between Waverly Creek and White Oak to protection certain. It is all developed or in the process of being developed.

4. Change the land within 1 mile of the new interchange of Horse Stamp Church Rd and I-95 to brown. Major development is planned in response to this new interchange.

5. Change the entire area from Harrietta Bluff Road to Cumberland River (including Grover Island) to brown. Sea Island Company has obtained rezoning for this entire area.

6. Change 1/4 mile on either side of GA 252 and 110 from US-17 to New Post Road to brown.

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Governments Plan for Development of Most Land Vulnerable to Rising Sea (PDF, 7 pp., 1.3 MB) was originally published in Environmental Research Letters , Issue 3, Volume 4 (2009).

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