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Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 10:43am

A Good Deal Ends on Jekyll Island

Updated: 4 years ago.
Residents on Jekyll Island are having their rents increased for the first time in decades. (photo Orlando Montoya)

After two-years of sometimes heated debate, Jekyll Island officials have approved new lease terms for about 600 residents who call the island home.

Residents own homes on the island but they lease the land from the state-run park authority that controls Jekyll Island.

The new leases mean residents will pay more. But, Norman Haft of the Jekyll Island Citizens Association says, the terms are more generous than those proposed two-years ago.

"It's the fairest deal we could get," Haft says. "We do understand that the authority needs some additional revenue."

For the first time, residents will pay lease amounts based on the actual value of the state-owned land on which they live.

Residents say, the current, more inexpensive leases don't amount to a "free ride."

"I mean, there have been people in the legislature who've said people on Jekyll have a free ride because of the inexpensive lease," Haft says. "Well, the lease is just one small part of what we have to pay. As I say, we pay full county taxes."

In five to ten years, average rents will creep from a few hundred dollars to one-thousand dollars annually.