(a)  Pursuant to Section 5, Article 14 of the North Carolina Constitution, proposals for shoreline erosion response projects shall avoid losses to North Carolina's natural heritage.  All means should be taken to identify and develop response measures that will not adversely affect estuarine and marine productivity.  The public right to use and enjoy the ocean beaches must be protected.  The protected uses include traditional recreational uses (such as walking, swimming, surf‑fishing, and sunbathing) as well as commercial fishing and emergency access for beach rescue services.  Private property rights to oceanfront properties including the right to protect that property in ways that are consistent with public rights should be protected.

(b)  Erosion response measures designed to minimize the loss of private and public resources to erosion should be economically, socially, and environmentally justified.  Preferred response measures for shoreline erosion shall include but not be limited to AEC rules, land use planning and land classification, establishment of building setback lines, building relocation, subdivision regulations and management of vegetation.

(c)  The replenishment of sand on ocean beaches can provide storm protection and a viable alternative to allowing the ocean shoreline to migrate landward threatening to degrade public beaches and cause the loss of public facilities and private property.  Experience in North Carolina and other states has shown that beach restoration projects can present a feasible alternative to the loss or massive relocation of oceanfront development.  In light of this experience, beach restoration and sand renourishment and disposal projects may be allowed when:

(1)           Erosion threatens to degrade public beaches and to damage public and private properties;

(2)           Beach restoration, renourishment or sand disposal projects are determined to be socially and economically feasible and cause no significant adverse environmental impacts;

(3)           The project is determined to be consistent with state policies for shoreline erosion response and state use standards for Ocean hazard and Public Trust Waters Areas of Environmental Concern and the relevant rules and guidelines of state and federal review agencies.

When the conditions set forth in this Paragraph can be met, the Coastal Resources Commission supports, within overall budgetary constraints, state financial participation in Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Wave Protection projects that are cost‑shared with the federal government and affected local governments pursuant to the federal Water Resources Development Act of 1986 and the North Carolina Water Resources Development Program (G.S. 143‑215.70‑73).

(d)  The following are required with state involvement (funding or sponsorship) in beach restoration and sand renourishment projects:

(1)           The entire restored portion of the beach shall be in permanent public ownership;

(2)           It shall be a local government responsibility to provide adequate parking, public access, and services for public recreational use of the restored beach.

(e)  Temporary measures to counteract erosion, such as the use of sandbags and beach pushing, should be allowed, but only to the extent necessary to protect property for a short period of time until threatened structures may be relocated or until the effects of a short‑term erosion event are reversed.  In all cases, temporary stabilization measures must be compatible with public use and enjoyment of the beach.

(f)  Efforts to permanently stabilize the location of the ocean shoreline with seawalls, groins, shoreline hardening, sand trapping or similar protection devices shall not be allowed except when the project meets one of the specific exceptions set out in 15A NCAC 7H .0308.

(g)  The State of North Carolina will consider innovative institutional programs and scientific research that will provide for effective management of coastal shorelines.  The development of innovative measures that will lessen or slow the effects of erosion while minimizing the adverse impacts on the public beach and on nearby properties is encouraged.

(h)  The planning, development, and implementation of erosion control projects will be coordinated with appropriate planning agencies, affected governments and the interested public.  Maximum efforts will be made by the state to accommodate the interest of each interested party consistent with the project's objectives.  Local, state, and federal government activity in the coastal area should reflect an awareness of the natural dynamics of the ocean front.  Government policies should not only address existing erosion problems but should aim toward minimizing future erosion problems.  Actions required to deal with erosion problems are very expensive.  In addition to the direct costs of erosion abatement measures, many other costs, such as maintenance of projects, disaster relief, and infrastructure repair will be borne by the public sector.  Responses to the erosion should be designed to limit these public costs.

(i)  The state will promote education of the public on the dynamic nature of the coastal zone and on effective measure to cope with our ever changing shorelines.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 113A‑102(b); 113A‑107; 113A‑124; 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1453 (12);

Eff. March 1, 1979;

Amended Eff. March 1, 1985;

RRC Objection due to lack of necessity and unclear language Eff. October 17, 1991;

Amended Eff. March 1, 1992;

RRC Objection due to ambiguity and lack of necessity Eff. March 16, 1995;

Amended Eff. May 4, 1995.