St. George Island Geography and Neighborhood Information
St. George Island is a 28 mile long (1/2 - 1 mile wide) barrier island. It lies approximately 4 miles off Florida's Southern Gulf of Mexico coastline. The island is known for white sand beaches, large sand dunes covered with sea oats (illegal to disturb dunes/oats). Other vegetation includes pine trees (slash, loblolly, and long leaf) palmetto forests, scrub oak groves, hammocks of live oaks, and cedars. The island ranges from 3 - 30 feet above sea level. St. George Island is accessible by vehicle from the mainland via bridge. Development of the island created three neighborhoods; The East End, Gulf Beaches, and The Plantation.
A two lane bridge (state maintained) extends 4 miles across the Apalachicola Bay from Cat Point (in the town of Eastpoint) to St. George Island. The bridge is commonly referred to as the St. George Island Bridge. The official name is the Bryant Patton Bridge. The original bridge built in 1965 was referred to as the "two dollar bridge" because of the $2.00 crossing toll. That bridge was replaced in 2003 with the current structure built just west of the original site. The remaining portions of the adandoned bridge are used as fishing piers on the Eastpoint and St. George Island sides of the bay. A section of abandoned roadbed has been preserved as a bird sanctuary and is referred to by locals as "bird island". Native and migrating birds use the island for nesting. Bird island is off limits to people. The water surrounding bird island is a popular and productive area for commercial oystering and recreational fishing.
St. George Island contains all the land mass east of Little St. George Island. At the eastern most end lies St. George Island State Park (Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park.) East of the state park is the East Pass waterway which separates St. George Island from Dog Island. Flanked by St. Vincent and Dog Islands, St. George Island dominates the barrier island chain that protects the mainland. The chain has been described as a gleaming white and green pine covered barrier enclosing the Bay and sound with a wall of dunes cast up by the sea against the spreading red of the river. Eighteenth century maps refer to the island as "San Jorge" (named by Spanish explorers). North of St. George Island on the mainland the fresh water Apalachicola River empties into East Bay. Apalachicola lies on the river's western bank. Fresh water flowing into East Bay forms a true delta. (A delta is made up of swamps, Bayous, creeks, and streams.)
The stretch of water from Indian Pass to Dog Island is thirty six miles long and from one to fourteen miles wide. This stretch is commonly referred to as the Apalachicola Bay area. St. George Island, Eastpoint, and Apalachicola are in Franklin County.
At the west end of the big island there is a water passage known today as "The Cut". Years ago The Cut was called the "new inlet" or "west gap". The gap physically divides the island and was originally created by hurricanes. It refilled with silt over time joining the two land masses. In 1957, the US Army Corps of Engineers permanently opened the passage to the Gulf to shorten time required for fishing boats (pleasure and commercial) leaving Apalachicola. The pass is officially named the Bob Sikes Cut in honor of Robert Sikes, the district's congressman in 1957. The Cut is a hugely popular fishing area. On the other side of The Cut lies the island's western third (historically called Little Saint George Island.) Little St. George island widens on the western end into an elbow before becoming "Cape St. George". The far western end of Little St. George Island is separated from the Island of St. Vincent by the West Pass. St. Vincent Island is separated from the mainland by St. Vincent sound. The sound opens on the west to the Gulf through narrow Indian Pass and widening on the east into Apalachicola Bay.
St. George Island is divided into the Plantation, Gulf Beaches, and the East End.
The Plantation is 13 miles long and lies on the west end of the island. Gulf Beaches stretches for 4 miles in the center of the island between 12th Street West and 11th Street East. The East End extends for 2 miles from 11th Street East to the State Park. (These neighborhoods are further subdivided into smaller communities). The State Park is 9 miles long and runs from the East End to East Pass. All Gulf front construction is subject to the Coastal Construction Control Line (which establishes the seaward limit of construction on Gulf front Lots). County zoning codes limit county-wide building height to no more than 47 feet from natural grade to a roof's apex. The limitation on building height ensures that St. George Island's population remains low density (because high rise hotels and condominiums cannot be built). A paved walking (and biking/jogging) path extends 6.3 miles from 12th Street West through Gulf Beaches and the East End terminating at the State Park.
The Plantation was platted in 1976 and Incorporated in 1977. The Plantation is a 13 mile long gated community between 12th Street West and The Cut. Amenities include 24/7 security, underground utilities, a swimming pool, 3 tennis courts, 26 elevated boardwalks for beach access, 5 miles of biking and walking trails, boat access at The Cut, and airplane access via a 3800' landing strip on the Bay side of the Plantation. There are 14 subdivisions on the Gulf side and 13 on the Bay side. All properties are subject to annual assessment based on value. The Architectural Review Committee oversees all site preparation and construction to ensure compliance with Plantation restrictive covenants.
Gulf front home construction setback is approximately 75' forward of the Coastal Construction Control Line.
(Plantation setback standards differ from the rest of the island). Bay front setbacks cannot encroach on a critical habitat zone. Structures must be set back a minimum of 150' from the critical shoreline district. A 15' setback is required for all side or rear property lines (legal lot boundaries). This provides a 30' setback between houses. A 25' setback is required at all front property lines. Lots range in size from approximately Â½ - 1+ acre except Bay front lots. Bay front lots vary greatly in size and shape.
The total overall maximum building height cannot exceed 47' from maximum natural grade to roof apex. Maximum building width is 60' including decks, porches, and steps. First floor elevation can be no higher than 12' above natural grade. Minimum heated living area is 1350' and the 1st floor minimum living area must be at least 1000'. There are additional site and structure specifications listed in the Plantation's covenants, articles, and bylaws.
Gulf Beaches was platted in 1952 and was the first subdivision on the Island. It is comprised of residences and the islands commercial district which lies within the center six blocks of the Island. Gulf Beaches is the 4 mile long area beginning at 12th Street west and ending at 11th Street east. Gulf Beaches is divided into Units 1,2,3,4 5. Unit 1 has east and west designations. Units 2 and 4 are designated east. Units 3 and 5 are designated west. The bridge to the island from the mainland provides access via Florida State Highway 300 South. The state highway dead-ends in Gulf Beaches at county maintained Gulf Beach Drive (County Rd. XXXX) near the light house.
Home construction setback is approximately 75' forward of the Coastal Construction Control Line. Side property line setbacks are 10'. There is an additional 8'side setback between lots south of Gulf Beach Drive (28' minimum setback between homes). This creates a public easement providing beach access. Front and back setbacks are 25'. Minimum square foot requirements are 1000'.
Residential lot sizes are approximately 1/3 acre in size. Gulf and Bay front lots are approximately 100'x150' and 100'x175'. Interior lots are 90'-100'x150'-175'. Commercial lots range in size from 25'x100' up to 25'x125'.
The East End
The East End is the 2 mile stretch of island starting at 11th Street East and ending at the State Park. The East End was created by way of a sale of 5 acres tracks in the mid 1970's. There are 23 communities within the East End. This area consists of many one acre home sites on the Gulf and Bay. Lot dimensions vary. Beach frontage ranges from 61'-120'. Bay frontage ranges from 85'-115'. There are several properties that extend south from East Gulf Beach Drive to the Gulf and north from East Gulf Beach Drive to the Apalachicola Bay.
Home construction setback is approximately 75' forward of the Coastal Construction Control Line. The most common side and rear property line setbacks are 10' and 25' respectively. Front setbacks differ and are based on lot shape. All setbacks may vary depending on lot shape. Minimum square footage requirements are 1000 square feet. Beach access is deeded or granted via public easement.
This document was reviewed and updated February 2023 by Michael Billings, Licensed REALTOR. Information is deemed accurate and current. Any and all mistakes, oversights, or omissions are unintentional. This document is not an all-inclusive review of building and zoning requirements or limitations and should not be relied upon as such. Prospective buyers should seek the professional advice of a Florida licensed REALTOR and/or an attorney before entering into a Contract For Sale and Purchase of Real Property.