Shoreline Protection Act, State lawmaker proposes revision to current law

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. – The Shore Protection Act has been enforced since 1979. Now, Representative Jesse Petrea wants to revise it to further protect the beaches and help private property owners.

“The current system is difficult to enforce, it is difficult for private property owners to know where the jurisdictional line is and that ultimately leads to a more poorly protected coast,” Petrea said.

Petrea is talking about the Georgia shoreline. He introduced House Bill 271 which would revise the Shoreline Protection Act.

The current act causes a zigzag type line along the coast and interferes with private property lines.

“You’ve got people that are well away from the dunes who are in the system because of the presence of a tree,” Petrea said.

A change Petrea wants to make.

“This bill will basically provide that where you have a dune system you have a jurisdictional line that gives 25 feet from the tow landward to 25 feet from the sand dune,” Petrea said.

This would help property owners who want to build decks or ramps by not going through the extensive process to cross that line.

“If they do not encumber less than 1/3 of your jurisdictional area it allows the state to grant you approval without it having you go through a burdensome process.”

Petrea said most everyone is on board except for some environmentalist. They would prefer the line to be drawn 150 feet from any area without a dune, structure or tree.

“They would like the distance to be greater when you don’t have a dune or a structure and you only have the ordinary high waterline,” Petrea said.

There was a public meeting Wednesday where people could state their opinions. No word yet on when a final decision will be made.

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