Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Congressman Lends a Hand to Glynn Keeping Urbanized Status Key for Area

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Congressman Lends a Hand to Glynn Keeping Urbanized Status Key for Area

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, Times-Union staff writer

BRUNSWICK -- Glynn County is getting help from a Florida congressman in changing a U.S. Census Bureau rule that would remove the county's status as an urbanized area and block $1.5 million in transportation planning funds.

The county is the victim of a proposed regulation that designates the 4 miles of marshlands between Brunswick and St. Simons Island as habitable land. U.S. Rep. Dan Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Subcommittee on the U.S. Census, drove the F.J. Torras Causeway between St. Simons and the mainland and said it is clear nothing can be built on the land.

By combining the most densely populated areas of Brunswick and Blythe Island with the 12,800 residents on southern St. Simons Island, Brunswick and Glynn County meet the 50,000 minimum population threshold for urbanized status.

Federal rules also say those areas can be up to 5 miles apart but that the separating area must be uninhabitable. If the marshes were declared habitable the county would not meet that criteria.

"It is interesting how policy changes are made in Washington,'' Miller said as he stood with U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., at Brunswick's Overlook Park at the Marshes of Glynn. "How this is characterized as usable land makes no sense.''

Miller characterized it as a "bureaucratic type'' of mistake and predicted it would be corrected.

"We see it all the time in Washington,'' he said.

Glynn County officials learned of the possible loss when the Census Bureau published its proposed rules in the Federal Register last March, said Ed Halbig, who administers the Brunswick Area Transportation Study as part of his duties in the county's Geographical Information System.

Census officials decided that the marshes they saw on the computer maps were areas that could be developed, Miller said. …

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