(a)  Special Designation Process.  The nomination and designation of a coastal complex natural area, a unique coastal geologic formation, a coastal area that sustains remnant species, a significant coastal archaeological resource, or a significant coastal historic architectural resource area of environmental concern shall follow the procedures set forth in this Rule and in GS 113A-115.

(b)  Nomination.  An area may be nominated by any person or group at any time for Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) consideration.  Nominations may, for example, be made by citizens, interest groups, local governments, or state and federal agencies.  Nominations shall be on a standard form and shall be submitted to the Division of Coastal Management (DCM). The nomination shall include information relating to the location, size, importance, ownership, and uniqueness of the proposed site.  Nomination forms are available from the Division of Coastal Management.

(c)  Preliminary Evaluation.  After receipt of a nomination, the Division of Coastal Management shall conduct a preliminary evaluation of the proposed site.  The land owner, local government, and CRC and CRAC members in whose jurisdiction the site is located shall be informed of the proposed nomination.  Representatives of these groups shall meet to discuss the proposed nomination and shall complete a preliminary evaluation within 60 days after receipt of the nomination.  Various protection methods shall be examined to determine if AEC designation is appropriate.

(d)  CRC Endorsement.  A report on the preliminary evaluation shall be presented to the CRC so that it may determine whether to endorse the evaluations and proceed with a more detailed analysis of the site.  This report shall be made at the first CRC meeting after the preliminary evaluation is completed.  All parties involved in the nomination and preliminary evaluation shall be informed, in writing, of the Commission's decision to proceed or not to proceed with a detailed review of the site in question.  For sites that do not receive CRC endorsement for detailed review, recommendations for some other form of protection may be discussed with the landowner.  Other forms of protection include, registry with the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, conservation easement to a public agency or to a local conservation foundation, donation or acquisition of title, or other strategies.

(e)  Detailed Review.  A detailed review of the proposed site shall be initiated under DCM supervision after CRC endorsement.  This shall include the development of a management plan, if applicable, or site specific use standards.  Opportunity shall be given to local government officials, interest groups, and those with scientific expertise to comment on the specific biological/physical or cultural values of the site together with appropriate management strategies to safeguard the values identified.  This review shall be completed within 90 days, starting from the date of the official CRC endorsement.  At the conclusion of this review, the report on the detailed review shall be presented to the CRC for their consideration.

(f)  Public Hearing.  If, after receiving the detailed review, the CRC decides to consider formal designation of the site as an AEC and adopt the particular management plan or use standards developed, a public hearing or hearings shall be conducted and notice of hearing published and distributed in accordance with the requirements of G.S. 113A‑115 and G.S. 150B-21.2.  Copies of the site description and of any proposed rules shall be made available for public inspection at the county courthouse in each affected county and at the Morehead City Office of the Division of Coastal Management.  At the hearing(s) the CRC shall present the documentation and recommendations in support of the designation decision.

(g)  Formal Designation.  After consideration of all comments, the Commission shall make its final judgment.  If the site is designated as an AEC, the CRC shall also adopt a management strategy or use standards applicable to the AEC.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 113A‑107(a),(b); 113A‑113(b)(4)e,f,g, and h; 113A‑124;

Eff. September 9, 1977;

Amended Eff. June 1, 2005; May 1, 1988; May 1, 1985; February 1, 1982; June 1, 1979.