Tybee Development on Hold

A controversial development on Tybee Island is on hold. At Tybee's city council meeting last night, they were supposed to talk about a proposal to build condos at Lazaretto Creek, right at the bridge. The city attorney advised council not to decide anything. Now, developers will have to wait six months to submit the same plan, or change it and start the entire process over again.

A huge majority of people at the meeting were happy with the council's decision, but that doesn't mean there aren't people who support the idea of condos at Lazaretto Creek. For those who turned out in force last night, the reasons for opposing development are obvious. "We all live at Tybee for a reason," said resident Kathryn Williams. "We love it here and want to preserve our community."

They're worried that letting another condo development, especially right at the virtual front gate of the island, will change the island's atmosphere.

But developers disagree. "I think there is some misunderstanding about what is trying to be developed," said developer Lynda Long. "We just want to be able to show what the plans are and how we feel this is a good thing."

And they're not the only one's excited about the proposal. Area businesses say they believe the condos are just what the island needs. "It's very encouraging for the short run and the long term," said Eric Norton of Loggerhead's. "Particularly with the number of condos they're talking about creating for this entire business area."

But Norton says he's also happy to see so much opposition, which might seem odd for his point of view. "Quite simply, Tybee is developing and it's growing in leaps and bounds and it's good to have that influx and protest, so we can go ahead and find that middle ground," he said.

But for opponents to the development, there doesn't appear to be that much middle ground to give. They, for the most part, want it all or nothing. "I don't see any condos in the future for that area of the island," said resident Edwin Longwater. "Maybe I'm an optimist."

We talked with developers after the meeting, and they're not sure exactly how they're going to try to bring this back to the city, but they did seem pretty confident that they will be back.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com