N.C. Officials Grapple With Permitting Laws

March 2006 News

An advisory committee, formed to study multislip dock rules in North Carolina, will hold two meetings this week to hear public comments on a proposal to lengthen the permit process.


The first meeting was held yesterday at the New Hanover Counter Cooperative Extension Auditorium in Wilmington, and the other will be today from 6 to 7 p.m., at the North Carolina Department of Environmental & Natural Resources regional office in Washington, N.C.


In August 2004 a study commenced to examine the state's regulations for managing coastal marinas. The study, funded by the North Carolina Coastal Nonpoint Source Program, was to identify gaps, contradictions and deficiencies and, ultimately, make recommendations for a more comprehensive and unified marina policy for the state.


The Advisory Committee broadened the study to examine multislip docks (three to 10 boat slips) used by boating service companies and nontrailerable boatbuilders. Under the state's Coastal Area Management Act, the existing three to 10 slip permit requires 95 to 120 days for most businesses. The proposed multislip permit would subject the user to the same CAMA development standards as a marina, which falls under the state Environmental Policy Act, which can take 1-1/2 to two years, according to the North Carolina Marine Trades Association.


NCMTA says more stringent laws could lead to further loss of the state's commercial working waterfront businesses.


"Very few waterfront property owners are willing to option property for a one- to two-year wait for a commercial buyer when a condo developer can pay now," the association said in its public meeting notice.

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