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Public Policy Alert: Pre-filed legislation to amend South Carolina permitting law in certain coastal areas

A message from Bob Coble

December 18, 2013

The South Carolina Senate and House have concluded pre-filing for the 2014 Legislative Session.

S.890 deals with beachfront management, so we called on Mary Shahid from our Charleston office for review. Mary co-authored the cover story for the September 2013 edition of South Carolina Lawyer magazine - “Climate Change, Beach Erosion and Beachfront Regulation."

She has been following the Blue Ribbon Committee on Shoreline Management and offered these notes about the legislation.

• The bill changes the methodology of beachfront regulation by eliminating the opportunity for seaward movement of the baseline. For the past 26 years the baseline was subject to seaward movement, if the shoreline accreted. Now no seaward movement is allowed, even if on an accretional beach.

• The bill eliminates the ability to move the baseline and setback line seaward on a renourished beach. This amendment would impact all coastal communities that fund and sponsor renourishment.

• Finally, the bill eliminates the construction of golf courses seaward of the baseline, even though courses are natural and require no hard structures. If the beach erodes, superintendents re-design holes and move landward. Wild Dunes, Kiawah, and several other courses would be affected.

The Blue Ribbon Committee, Senator Cleary and others are working hard on this issue and we believe clients need to be aware of these potential changes to current law.

Mary Shahid and our Public Policy Team are available to answer any questions you have.