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Planning group OKs new island hotel
The site plan for what will be known as the Inn at Sea Island was approved Tuesday by a 6-0 vote at the meeting of the Glynn County Islands Planning Commission.

What will be an 86-room hotel is currently part of the old Sea Island Co. headquarters, located behind the Island Cinemas movie theater complex on St. Simons Island. Most of the building has been unoccupied since the former owner of Sea Island Co. declared bankruptcy in 2010.

A spokesman involved with the project said the building will be a "select service" hotel targeting golfers. While continental breakfast will be served to hotel guests, there are no plans for a restaurant or lounge.

Work will begin at the site in early January and should take about nine months to complete, county officials said.

David Hainley, director of the county's Community Development Department, said if the hotel is sold and the new owner wants to add a lounge or restaurant, it would have to meet county parking requirements.

Currently, there are enough parking spaces to meet requirements for the hotel as planned, county officials said.

Traffic should not be an issue because a deceleration lane and left-turn lane already in place will accommodate traffic leading into or leaving the hotel, county officials said.

If everything goes as planned, Hainley said, renovations will start in January, and the hotel should be ready for occupancy in nine to 12 months.

Hainley said there are no competing hotels in the immediate vicinity, and there are plenty of businesses at the Shops at Sea Island to accommodate the guests.

The recommendation for the new hotel will now go to the Glynn County Commission for approval.

In other business on Tuesday, the planning commission tabled a request to amend the planned development and master plan for a regional park on St. Simons Island.

The proposal would transfer 40 acres of regional park designation on a tract in south St. Simons Island to a site in the north end of the island called Cannon's Point.

Commission chairman John Dow questioned what the county would gain by swapping the regional park designation.

"Cannon's Point is never going to be developed," Dow said. "From a policy standpoint, it doesn't make sense to give up 40 acres."

The request was tabled until the Jan. 15 meeting.

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