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Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 10:38am

Controversial Marina Approved But Bankrupt

The Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee has approved one of the largest and most controversial private marinas on Georgia's coast.

The decision comes after five-years of contentious litigation that went all the way to the state Supreme Court.

A developer wanted to build a 3.25 acre, 17,500 square foot marina near St. Marys.

Environmentalists sued, saying the project violated the state's Coastal Marshlands Protection Act.

Now that a big legal hurdle has been cleared, it's the economic hurdle that looms.

The Orlando-based developer, Land Resources Co., is bankrupt. A Cleveland-based bank, KeysBank, now controls the project.

Incoming Saint-Marys Mayor Bill Deloughy says, he's optimistic a buyer will appear.

"I think we really look forward to that getting back on track," Deloughy says. "It was a great project initially. The economy sidetracked it."

As part of the approval process, the marina is required to institute conservation measures to protect threatened and endangered species, like right whales, manatees and sea turtles.

The marina approval could help the bank find another buyer.