CRC 2013 Meeting Land Use Planning Deadlines (PDF file)
A land-use plan is a collection of policies and maps that serves as
a communitys blueprint for growth. These plans are a fundamental element of coastal
management in North Carolina.
The Coastal Area Management Act requires each of the 20
coastal counties to have a local land-use plan in accordance with guidelines established
by the Coastal Resources Commission.
The CRC's guidelines provide a common format for each plan and a set of issues that
must be considered during the planning process; however, the policies included in the plan
are those of the local government, not of the CRC. By law, the role of the CRC is limited
to determining whether plans have been properly prepared.
Each land-use plan includes local policies that address growth issues such as the
protection of productive resources (i.e., farmland, forest resources, fisheries), desired
types of economic development, natural resource protection and the reduction of storm
Once a land-use plan is certified by the CRC, the Division of Coastal Management uses
the plan in making CAMA permit decisions and federal consistency determinations. Proposed
projects and activities must be consistent with the policies of a local land-use plan, or
DCM cannot permit a project to go forward.
At the local level, land-use plans provide guidance for both individual projects and a
broad range of policy issues, such as the development of regulatory ordinances and public
The Division of Coastal Management awards grants each year for local planning and
management projects and provides technical assistance to local governments through its
four planners, who are located in each of the division's district offices.
By 1997, 72 cities and towns had adopted their own plans, although CAMA does not
require them to do so. By 1999, each of the 20 coastal counties and many towns
had updated its plan four times, improving the quality of the plan with each
update. [See which communities have CAMA land-use plans (in PDF
format; requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).]
Land-use planning provides one of the best opportunities for public involvement in the
N.C. Coastal Management Program. By getting involved as your coastal community develops or
updates its land-use plan, you have an opportunity to help shape the policies that will
guide CAMA permit decisions in your community and the growth of your community in