Georgia Department of Natural Resources officials are changing how much marina operators have to pay to lease coastal marshland.
It’s the first time in 17 years that marsh lease rates have changed.
The move comes after marina operators complained about disparities in how much for-profit marinas pay to lease the state-owned marsh.
Some marina operators have been paying a flat, unchanging $1,000 per acre rate, while others have been paying variable rates that increase over time.
“It depends on when they came into the system,” says DNR Coastal Resources Division Director Susan Shipman. “This will start everyone over again on a level playing field.”
Non-profit marinas will continue to pay $1 for 10 year leases.
But starting next year, the DNR will charge all private marinas at the same $1,000 per acre rate, plus an increase or decrease to reflect inflation.
State officials haven’t yet decided which inflation measure to use, but most state agencies use the Consumer Price Index.
A hearing next week will solicit comments on the proposal from the public.
There are about 40 for-profit and about 20 non-profit marinas on the Georgia coast, with most concentrated in Chatham and Glynn Counties.
The public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 29 at the DNR’s Coastal Resources Division headquarters in Brunswick.