This page is a compilation of stories by The Current staff about the Hogg Hummock community and the recent zoning fight with the McIntosh County Commission, its challenges, documents, recordings and notes. It will be updated as The Current publishes new information.
Hogg Hummock, the final intact Gullah Geechee community on the Atlantic Coast, sits on Sapelo Island in McIntosh County. The small community of descendants of enslaved workers on the island remain isolated; there is no bridge to the island and most of the island is controlled by the state of Georgia. Daily access to the island is by a state-run ferry. Many descendants own parts of Hogg Hummock. The estimated resident population ranges from 30 to 50, as new owners arrive to build larger houses. Residents of Hogg Hummock fear gentrification will endanger their future as property taxes rise in response to new, larger dwellings.
Island residents have been fighting in federal and state courts for years for basic services that other parts of the county receive. There are few jobs on the island, no schools or medical care. There is one fire truck available, recently put in a shelter by the county after a court order. In 2022, the county agreed to provide more services, ending the lawsuits.
On Sept. 12, the McIntosh County Commission voted 3-2 to rezone Hogg Hummock. The controversial plan includes larger dwelling sizes up to 3,000 square feet, double previous sizes allowed. Residents said the county did not enforce the older zoning laws; the county argued that the ordinance could not be enforced.
- Sapelo natives reach agreement in long fight with county over basic services
- Sapelo Island’s Geechee residents worry state Senate bill could disenfranchise them
- Origin of Sapelo zoning proposal uncertain; residents want their say
- Commission to discuss changes at Sapleo; protest planned
- Update: Controversial Sapelo rezoning moves forward to final vote. See changes.
- McIntosh votes to rezone Hogg Hummock
- Sapelo residents petition for zoning repeal
- County manager statement following vote: McIntosh County Manager Patrick Zoucks attacks perceived misstatements, falsehoods about new zoning ordinance.
- County statement before the vote: A statement from McIntosh County Manager Patrick Zoucks about the plan’s goals to address dwelling sizes and enforce zoning was posted on Sept. 12 in the Darien News before the 5 p.m. meeting. The statement mentioned the lengthy litigation over county services to taxpayers on the island. (Link to full statement.)
- Zoning proposal: The 14-page document passed Sept.12 by the McIntosh County Commission.
- Previous zoning: Document overridden by Sept. 7 vote.
- McIntosh County Commission work session, Sept. 11. Sapelo zoning discussion begins at 11:29. Recording provided by McIntosh County attorney. Speakers are not named but they are primarily Commission Chair David Stevens and Sapelo district representative Roger Lotson.
- McIntosh County Commission meeting, Sept. 12, discussion of Hog Hammock District proposal only with final statements/reports by commissioners Poole, Lotson and Stevens.
HOGG HUMMOCK, HOG HAMMOCK?
Most people note the variety of spellings of the community on Sapelo Island. The name and spelling are points of contention between the residents and the county — residents have told The Current staff in its reporting that they call the area Hogg Hummock. The county installed signs that say Hog Hammock, and that’s been a complaint by residents for some time.
In stories from last year to now, we’ve deferred to those who live there. As we continue to report on the zoning and other matters of Sapelo, we’ll traverse that line carefully. The recently passed county zoning law creates a Hog Hammock District on Sapelo. We likely will refer to Hog Hammock District in references to governmental regulations and such — but we will also use Hogg Hummock when addressing the small community of Gullah-Geechee residents there as it makes sense to do so.
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