TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – Next summer, Tybee Island locals and visitors may get to enjoy swings on the beaches again.

At the direction of the Tybee City Council, the city submitted an application in January for a Shore Protection Act (SPA) permit for authorization of benches on beach crosswalks.

However, the city is now modifying its SPA permit request to include all structures on the beach, including crosswalk benches and swings, along with pavilions at North Beach and 19th Street.

The city expects to submit the final version of the application this fall, though a date is not currently certain.

The latest inventory of swings in April showed there were 32 swing locations on Tybee Island’s beaches. There were nine swing frames with no seat, leaving 23 usable swings on the beach, of which nine were in the dunes.

A swing frame in a dune on Tybee Island’s north end now houses a turtle nest. (WSAV’s Molly Curley, June 7, 2022)

As Michelle Owens, Tybee’s assistant city manager and director of communication and outreach, explained, at this time, none of the structures on the beach have been permitted nor authorized by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“We are not clear on the history of how they came to be built, but currently, the DNR requires any structure within their jurisdiction to be authorized,” Owens added.

She said the city removed benches during crosswalk repairs. Likewise, any broken swing seats were removed as well as swings now surrounded by dunes due to their migration.

The DNR’s Shore Protection Act regulates activities and structures in jurisdictional beach and shore areas.  Projects that require an SPA permit include beach renourishment, rock revetments, landscaping, dune crossovers, any structure in the jurisdictional area and any modification to any such structure.

Anyone planning construction or activity in or near the shore, beach or dunes in Georgia must contact DNR for a jurisdictional determination and to find out if an SPA permit is needed for a project.