(a)  The Coastal Area Management Act requires that these state guidelines "shall give particular attention to the nature of development which shall be appropriate within the various types of areas of environmental concern that may be designated by the Commission."

(b)  The act further provides that local land use plans "shall give special attention to the protection and appropriate development of areas of environmental concern."

(c)  The 1974 Legislature found that "the coastal area, and in particular the estuaries, are among the most biologically productive regions of this state and of the nation," but in recent years the area "has been subjected to increasing pressures which are the result of the often conflicting needs of society expanding in industrial development, in population, and in the recreational aspirations of its citizens."

(d)  "Unless these pressures are controlled by coordinated management," the act states, "the very features of the coast which make it economically, aesthetically, and ecologically rich will be destroyed."

(e)  To prevent this destruction, the act charges the Coastal Resources Commission with the responsibility for identifying types of areas ‑‑ water as well as land ‑‑ in which uncontrolled or incompatible development might result in irreversible damage.  It further instructs the Commission to determine what types of development activities are appropriate within such areas, and it calls on local government to give special attention to these environmentally fragile and important areas in developing their land use plans.  Also, the act provides that upon establishing the types of development activities appropriate within areas of environmental concern, the CRC should implement a permit program capable of controlling any inappropriate or damaging development activities within the AECs.  The intent of this authority is not to stop development, but rather to ensure the compatibility of development with the continued productivity and value of certain critical land and water areas.

(f)  The act divides the implementation responsibilities of the permit program between local governments and the CRC.  Individuals proposing "minor development" activities [defined in G.S. 113A‑118(d)(2)] within an AEC will be required to receive permits from a local permit officer, while individuals undertaking "major development" activities [defined in G.S. 113A‑118(d)(1)] will seek permits directly from the CRC.  In either case, the criteria and standards determining permit approval as described in this Subchapter of the guidelines will be identical.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 113A‑102(a); 113A‑106; 113A‑107; 113A‑113(a); 113A‑118; 113A‑124;

Eff. September 9, 1977;

Amended Eff. December 1, 1985.