Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Spaceport Camden Plan

Spaceport Camden launch complex (Credit: Camden County)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Camden County voters overwhelmingly rejected the Board of Commissioners plan to buy 4,000 acres of land to build a spaceport near on the Georgia coast for small-satellite launch vehicles.

Unofficial results show that 4,168 residents or 72.12% voted to rescind the board’s resolution to purchase the land from Union Carbide. Only 1,611 residents or 27.88% voted to affirm the board’s decision.

The referendum was ordered after Spaceport Camden opponents submitted signatures of 10 percent of the county’s voters. The reference was allowed under a provision in the Georgia constitution.

Camden County, which has spent $10 million on the spaceport project, has argued that the referendum was not legal under the state constitution. Last Friday, Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett denied a county motion to cancel the referendum on those grounds. The county is appealing the ruling.

In a special meeting held after the courtroom setback, the Board of Commissioners filled five vacant seats on the Spaceport Camden Authority. Opponents of the project raised concerns that the board would ignore a negative vote and transfer the right to purchase the land to the authority. Commissioners did not answer when asked by a resident whether that was the purpose behind filling the seats.

Rep. Steven Sainz, who represents Camden County in the Georgia legislature, posted a video on Facebook saying this was not the purpose of the spaceport authority when he co-authored legislation that created it. The authority was created to work with companies that decided to launch from the spaceport. To date, the county has not announced any tenants.

Supporters of the spaceport say it will bring high tech jobs and tax revenues to the county. Opponents claim the benefits have been overstated, and that visitors to Cumberland Island National Seashore and private homeowners in the area would be at risk from launch failures.