Atlanta Forward readers responded to last week’s columns about a new hotel on Jekyll Island, with which the governing Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) seems to push building height restrictions on the state-owned barrier island.
Marilyn: It seems no one is able to leave this beautiful island “as is.” This added building height will take away so much from our lovely paradise. No matter how much we fight to keep it, the developers continue to want more. I am against the added height. I suppose money speaks. Sad.
Mangler: You’re acting like they want to construct another Westin Peachtree Tower. There are many architectural ways to reduce how the size of a building “feels.”
J train: It seems absurd to me that JIA derived its height limitation from the tower of the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel, built nearly a century ago under an entirely different circumstance and far removed from the beach area. While the Westin name and image are quite fitting for Jekyll, I’d have much preferred them to follow the guidelines of the new Hampton Inn just down the way. I’m most concerned that the precedent set by allowing Westin to build such a behemoth — which will stand in such stark contrast to any previous beachfront development — will pave the way for approval of the three additional “big box” hotels that are pending. It will completely change the character of everything we have come to feel and cherish about Jekyll.
Cyberteach: The Hampton is nestled behind very tall dunes covered with vegetation. You can barely see the roof line from the beach, and the sign for the hotel is so unobtrusive in the front landscaping, it’s easy to miss the entrance. None of this will be true for the Westin, which is going to gleam in the sunlight with nothing much to soften it no matter how many expensive, non-native palms are stuck around it at great expense.
Sawb: They do need to improve some of the accommodations on Jekyll, but I’m not sure a tall structure is appropriate. Why don’t they simply increase the footprint of the hotel and reduce the height by one floor?
Nora Sullivan: Every time I think Jekyll Island is becoming safe from further “improvements,” I read of some new plan to further destroy the natural beauty and tranquility of the island. Our politicians and greedy developers won’t be satisfied until the island is just another overbuilt touristy place beyond the means of the ordinary Georgians for whose benefit it is supposed to exist.
Greg & Sally: Leave the building heights alone! The pristine beachfront landscape needs to stay as is. This is supposed to be a state park for the people.