Recognizing the potentially destructive impact of development on irreplaceable coastal resources, the U.S. Congress enacted the Coastal Zone Management Act in 1972. The act encourages the establishment of a comprehensive coastal management program that balances wise development against protection of coastal resources. The North Carolina Coastal Area Management Act or CAMA, enacted in 1974, establishes a federally approved coastal management program for 20 coastal counties.

It is the intent of CAMA to preserve and manage the natural ecological conditions of the estuarine system, the barrier dune system, and the beaches, so as to safeguard their biological, economic, and esthetic values. CAMA also establishes goals of protecting public water supplies, allocating the use of public trust waters, and providing public access to coastal and estuarine beaches. These goals are implemented by a combined effort of state and local governments.

A permit is required before development can begin in AECs. CAMA considers development to be any construction or any activity that disturbs land or water, even if only a part of the project is in an AEC.

If your project satisfies one or more of the following tests you'll need a CAMA (Coastal Area Management Act) permit:

  • It is in one of the 20 counties covered by CAMA
  • It is considered "development" under CAMA ("Development" includes activities such as dredging or filling coastal wetlands or waters, and construction of marinas, piers, docks, bulkheads, oceanfront structures and roads. For complete information about permits and exemptions, visit CAMA's Web site)
  • It is in, or it affects, an Area of Environmental Concern established by the Coastal Resources Commission
  • It doesn't qualify for an exemption.

We can help you save time by arranging for the required permits. There are two permits that you will need and you should get them in the following order:

  • CAMA Permit (includes the Adjacent Riparian Property Owner Statement, below, which is the first step in obtaining the CAMA permit)
  • County Building Permit

Adjacent Riparian Property Owner Statement

In most cases you will need to obtain the Adjacent Riparian Property Owner Statement signed by your neighbors before construction. Always obtain the ARPOS before you contact CAMA to visit your property. In the ARPOS statement you will describe and or draw the proposed project and the property owner will certify that he has no objections to your plan as presented. If he does object and refuses to consent, and you have complied with regulations for your project, you may appeal to CAMA and they will visit your property and make an adjudication on the appeal.

How May We Be Of Service To You?

Contact us today for a consultation. We will be happy to discuss your project requirements, explore all of the options available to you, and provide a detailed estimate of what it would cost for us to complete your project.


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2728 North 23rd Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
(910) 763-6178