Ga lawmakers looking to change Shore Protection Act

Ga lawmakers looking to change Shore Protection Act
Tybee Beach (Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Georgia lawmakers are looking to change the Shore Protection Act, which determines the state’s influence on private beach property.

Depending on what gets changed, the state could have more or less to say about what people do with their beachfront property.

Lawmakers say the goal of House Bill 445 is to remove the current way of determining the jurisdictional line of public and private beach property.

The Shore Protection Act was created nearly 40 years ago. Lawmakers wanted to protect the sand dunes along Georgia's coast. Basically, the act establishes a special zone. If a property owner owns land within this zone, he or she must seek state approval if they wish to build on that land.

State Representative Jesse Petrea says right now, the state of Georgia uses old buildings and trees to determine this zone. As you can imagine, this method creates zig-zagged boundaries up and down our coast, specifically places like Tybee Island.

Petrea says if the new guidelines are passed, some property owners would be removed from this zone, while others may be included.

"It’s got to be a tricky issue on Tybee, so for that reason, I chose to not get involved with this bill. Indeed, I did not vote on this bill," Petrea said.

Those against the bill say the current draft is too close to the shore. Any future beach development that close to the shore could see major damage during a hurricane.

House Bill 445 is currently being discussed inside the senate and waiting for a vote.

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