History of Landings Development

The Landings on Skidaway Island

Reflections from Bill Foster

Bill Foster is a highly respected, now retired, civil engineer with a long history at The Landings, who served as general manager and chairman of the board of Thomas & Hutton. He wrote about the early years of development and then, in a telephone conversation added some additional thoughts.

Bill also served as a moderator at the 2010 Skidaway Audubon panel discussion: Our Island’s Water Conservation Imperative.

In 1969, the Union Camp Corporation owned what is now know as the Marshwood section, Oakridge and Deer Creek sections of The Landings. Union Camp had purchased the Braniger Organization, a land developer with headquarters in Chicago and, through Braniger, a team of planners and engineers were brought together.

Having a great appreciation for the natural beauty of the island, the planning team began to develop a master plan for “The Landings” that would protect as many trees as possible and protect the natural marsh and stream edges of the island. The plan would not allow private docks or any other encroachment on the marsh or streams. Access to the rivers and streams was through planned marinas only.

A walking/bike trail system to connect all parts of The Landings was planned. One commercial center, outside the gates, now The Village on Skidaway, was set aside and properly zoned to eliminate future problems of locating commercial establishments. Golf courses, tennis courts, swimming facilities were carefully planned. A number of natural “open space” areas were included in the plan for the enjoyment of the residents.

The Marshwood section was the first to be developed. The plan established major collector streets with many minor “side” streets with little or no through traffic possible. Access to residences was from the minor streets only and those rights-of-way were made more narrow to save as many trees as possible. “On street” parking was discouraged by requiring at least two “off street” parking spaces, in addition to garages, for each home.

A lagoon system was designed as the overall drainage system, that also serves as an important amenity for The Landings.

In 1972, the covenant documents for The Landings were established to control the building types and land use in The Landings as actual development moved forward.

In the 1970s, the section of the Landings now known as “Plantation” and “Midpoint” were being developed by a different developer. During the financial problems of the late ‘70s, that development went into bankruptcy and Braniger/Union Camp purchased the land from the former owners. Through careful planning, Plantation and Midpoint were added to The Landings master plan.

Q. It seems as if Braniger was very conscious of planning for water conservation from the outset.

A. Yes, Braniger was very conscious of the environment. From the beginning Braniger had calculated on using treated waste water for watering the golf courses. But the State of Georgia put a moratorium on using reclaimed water. In spite of that, Braniger dedicated wooded areas for spray fields and five years ago shallow wells were installed and they are now being used.

Q. What about our storm drain system?

A. As much rain water as is practical is stored in lagoons, they are the backbone of the storm drainage system. And they are another of Braniger’s good amenities, with the dirt used in borrow pits and golf course construction. Some lagoons, especially the fresh water ones on Oakridge and Deer Creek are pumped to golf courses.

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