SAVANNAH, Ga. -

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens says Jekyll Island officials have correctly followed state law by counting marsh as land to determine how much of the island state park is open to development.

Olens issued an opinion Thursday that says excluding marsh when figuring the island's size would be an "inappropriate alteration" of the 1971 law that limits construction on Jekyll Island to just 35 percent of its land area.

A task force appointed by the Jekyll Island Authority concluded in an April report that the island long ago exceeded its maximum footprint for building hotels and other amenities because the authority incorrectly counted hundreds of acres of marsh as land. Olens rejected that interpretation.

He said the island's size should remain "status quo" without input from the public and lawmakers.