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State Offers Emergency CAMA Permitting

RALEIGH – Coastal property owners who need to replace docks, piers, bulkheads or similar structures damaged by Hurricane Florence along sounds, rivers and creeks may be authorized to do so more quickly through an emergency general permit offered by the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management.

The division has also set up a temporary office in Wilmington where property owners who suffered damage from the storm can call or visit for permitting assistance. The temporary office is in the Building Safety Department at the New Hanover County Government Center, 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 170, Wilmington. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.

Division of Coastal Management permitting staff can be reached through the New Hanover County Inspections Office at 910-798-7308 or through the following direct lines:

  • Shaun Simpson at 910-798-7117
  • Tanya Pietila at 910-798-7089

Coastal Management representatives will answer questions about Coastal Area Management Act permits for rebuilding docks, piers, houses and other structures. They also will answer questions about obtaining CAMA permits to rebuild dunes or use sandbags to protect houses from erosion.

“Our goal is to allow coastal residents and businesses to rebuild quickly from the devastating winds, storm surge and flooding caused by Hurricane Florence,” Michael Regan, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, said in a statement. “The emergency permit gives us a science-based, environmentally sound way to do this.”

The emergency permit expedites the approval process for rebuilding docks, piers, bulkheads and similar water dependent structures that meet state standards. The emergency permit may also be used for dune reconstruction and maintenance dredging of existing channels.

The normal $200 permit fee is waived for the emergency permit, and, in many cases, no site visit or adjacent property owner notification is required.

Regan activated the emergency permit Sept. 20. It can be used in all 20 coastal counties: Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Tyrell, and Washington. The permit does not eliminate the need to obtain any other required state, local or federal authorization.

Emergency permits must be obtained, and all work must be completed, by Sept. 20, 2019.

The emergency permit cannot be used for rebuilding houses and does not apply to the replacement of oceanfront structures.

Those who want to apply for the emergency general permit can help staff with the state Division of Coastal Management review your request as quickly as possible by following these guidelines:

  • First, call the Division of Coastal Management office that covers your county.
  • Provide your name, name of any authorized agent working on your behalf, your address, phone number and the project location. Include any detailed information that will be helpful, such as the state road number, the name of the water body and the name of the subdivision or development.
  • You will be required to pick up your permit at a division office. If requested, bring with you a description of the extent of the repair, replacement, dune reconstruction or maintenance dredging you need to do, including dimensions and shoreline length. Pre- and post-storm pictures of the project are helpful.
  • For projects involving dredging, please provide confirmation that the adjacent riparian property owners have been notified by certified mail of the proposed work. The notice should instruct neighbors to provide any comments about the proposed work to the Division of Coastal Management within 10 days of receiving the notice, and that a lack of response by them will be interpreted as no objection. Or, you can provide a signed statement of no objection from both adjacent riparian property owners. Forms are available online.
  • If you have had any other CAMA permit issued for your property, inform the division staff. Those permits may contain information that will help staff with the Division of Coastal Management review your repair or replacement request.
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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.