Planning commission approves division of Cumberland parcel

After hearing from both sides, the Camden County Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a hardship variance to allow 87.51 acres on Cumberland Island to be divided into 10 lots.

Owned by the Candler and Warren families through Lumar LLC, the land was purchased for $3.5 million in 1998, according to county property records.

“This is a step toward what we want to do,” Glenn Warren said. “Yeah, we want to build some residences for ourselves, for our own families. There are residences down there now.”

A variance was sought because county code stipulates that each lot in a new subdivision must front a paved road and there aren’t any paved roads on the island. If there were a paved road, a variance would not have been needed because a 10-lot subdivision is allowed by right in a conservation preservation zone.

A zoning change would have to be approved for houses to be built. The land is currently zoned “conservation preservation,” a designation in the county’s code created to “preserve and control development within certain land, marsh and water areas of this county.”

The allowed uses in a conservation preservation zone include public utilities, a fishing supply or bait store, museum, historical site, nature park, wildlife sanctuary, marina or neighborhood recreation canter. Accessory buildings for a church, museum or exhibit area or a caretaker residence in a nature preserve or wildlife sanctuary are also allowed by right.

Special uses include a hotel, motel, resort, cemetery or mausoleum, a church or religious facility. 

Although much of Cumberland Island is a national seashore, there are still tracts of privately owned property such as this one. The parcel, which was once owned by the Rockefellers, stretches across Cumberland Island from the beach to the sound near the National Park Service’s Sea Camp dock.

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