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Jekyll group talks land categories
A group responsible for designing Jekyll Island's land delineation guidelines is still discussing how to keep the island in compliance with a state law mandating limited development and says it's getting close to making decisions.

Members of the 65/35 Task Force have been discussing what can be called developed or undeveloped land and how to determine the land mass since the group was formed in April.

The group, reconvening Monday to further discuss criteria, did not draw final conclusions, but members said they expect to make recommendations at their next meeting. That meeting has not been scheduled.

The 65/35 Task Force will make recommendations to a steering committee and ultimately the board of the Jekyll Island Authority for approval about how best to follow a state law that requires only 35 percent of the island be developed, leaving the other 65 percent undeveloped.

Members have been debating how to measure the island's landmass since it began meeting more than five months ago. It was decided at July's meeting to use a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration standard on the eastern shore between Clam Creek and Beach Creek.

The group chose to use LIDAR data, a system that maps elevation from a helicopter using light technology, to measure the marsh side of the island but remains indecisive on whether to include interior marshlands in Jekyll's landmass.

Options have been narrowed down to not using any marshlands in measurements or presenting the steering committee with two maps to consider. One map would include no marsh and the other would include only marsh inside the perimeter of the island.

No final decisions were made about mapping the island because several members of the group were absent.

In trying to decide what can be called developed and undeveloped land, members have looked to national standards, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Resources Inventory, for defining what can be considered land. It agreed, however, that exceptions should be made for Jekyll because the island is a unique area serving as a wildlife haven and resort area.

Jekyll Island's master plan was created in 1996 and last updated in 2006. It contains criteria for developed and undeveloped land, but some task force members believe the criteria may need tweaking.

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