The Shore Protection Act
(key Sections are bolded and marked in red)
TITLE 12. CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES
CHAPTER 5. WATER RESOURCES
ARTICLE 4. COASTAL WATERS, BEACHES, AND SAND DUNES
PART 2. SHORE PROTECTION
O.C.G.A. § 12-5-239 (2007)
§ 12-5-239. Completion of permit; notice of proposed activity; requirements and restrictions regarding issuance of permit
(a) The permit-issuing authority shall take action on each permit application within 90 days after the application is completed; provided, however, that this provision may be waived upon the written request of the applicant. An application is complete when it contains substantially all of the written information, documents, forms, fees, and materials required by this part. An application must be completed sufficiently in advance of the permit-issuing authority meeting at which the project will be considered to allow for public notice and evaluation by the permit-issuing authority.
(b) After receipt of a completed application and at least 30 days prior to acting on the application, the permit-issuing authority shall notify all persons identified by the applicant as owning land adjacent to the location of the proposed project and to all persons who have filed a written request with such permit-issuing authority that their names be placed on a mailing list for receipt of such notice. Any person desiring to be placed on such mailing list must so request in writing and renew such request in December of each year. The name of any person who has not renewed such request shall be removed from the list. The landowners who have not requested to be placed on a mailing list shall be notified in writing if their addresses are known. Such notice shall be in writing and shall include a general description of the proposed project and its location. The applicant shall post such notice in a conspicuous place on the subject property at or prior to the time the permit-issuing authority issues public notice of the application. If the applicant has filed an affidavit that the names or addresses of the adjoining landowners were not ascertained after a diligent search, the permit-issuing authority shall cause a notice of the proposed activity and a brief description of the land to be affected to be published in the legal organ or a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which such land lies. Cost of such public notices shall be paid by the applicant. Whenever there appears to be sufficient public interest, the permit-issuing authority may call a public hearing.
(c) No permit shall be issued except in accordance with the following provisions:
(1) A permit for a structure or land alteration, including, but not limited to, private residences, motels, hotels, condominiums, and other commercial structures, in the dynamic dune field may be issued only when:
(A) The proposed project shall occupy the landward area of the subject parcel and, if feasible, the area landward of the sand dunes;
(B) At least a reasonable percentage, not less than one-third, of the subject parcel shall be retained in its naturally vegetated and topographical condition;
(C) The proposed project is designed according to applicable hurricane-resistant standards;
(D) The activities associated with the construction of the proposed project are kept to a minimum, are temporary in nature, and, upon project completion, restore the natural topography and vegetation to at least its former condition, using the best available technology; and
(E) The proposed project will maintain the normal functions of the sand-sharing mechanisms in minimizing storm-wave damage and erosion, both to the unaltered section of the subject parcel and at other shoreline locations;
(2) No permits shall be issued for a structure on beaches, eroding sand dune areas, and submerged lands; provided, however, that a permit for a pier, boardwalk, or crosswalk in such an area may be issued, provided that:
(A) The activities associated with the construction of the proposed land alterations are kept to a minimum, are temporary in nature, and, upon project completion, the natural topography and vegetation shall be restored to at least their former condition, using the best available technology; and
(B) The proposed project maintains the normal functions of the sand-sharing mechanisms in minimizing storm-wave damage and erosion, both to the unaltered section of the subject parcel and at other shoreline locations;
(3) A permit for shoreline engineering activity or for a land alteration on beaches, sand dunes, and submerged lands may be issued only when:
(A) The activities associated with the construction of the proposed project are to be temporary in nature, and the completed project will result in complete restoration of any beaches, dunes, or shoreline areas altered as a result of that activity;
(B) The proposed project will insofar as possible minimize effects to the sand-sharing mechanisms from storm-wave damage and erosion both to the subject parcel and at other shoreline locations;
(C) In the event that shoreline stabilization is necessary, either low-sloping porous rock structures or other techniques which maximize the dissipation of wave energy and minimize shoreline erosion shall be used. Permits may be granted for shoreline stabilization activities when the applicant has demonstrated that no reasonable or viable alternative exists; provided, however, that beach restoration and renourishment techniques are preferable to the construction of shoreline stabilization activities; and
(D) A copy of the permit application has been transmitted to the local unit of government wherein the project site lies, if such local unit of government has been certified by the board, requesting comments on such application.
(d) In evaluating a permit application in order to determine compliance with the provisions set forth in subsection (c) of this Code section, the permit-issuing authority may use the following assessment tools and techniques, as appropriate and as available:
(1) Historic photographs and topographic data of the project site, which can be used in determining the impact of a proposed project on the stability of the shoreline;
(2) On-site inspections to determine the impact of a proposed project on topographic and vegetative conditions, erosion or accretion rates, and other factors influencing the life cycles of dune plants;
(3) Any recognized or accepted scientific investigations necessary to determine the proposed project's impacts on the surrounding biological and geological systems, and the historic and archeological resources;
(4) When present, the potential effects of shoreline engineering structures (seawalls, groins, jetties, etc.), their condition, and their apparent influence on the sand-sharing system as it relates to the proposed project;
(5) Historic, climatological, tidal data, and meteorological records of the vicinity of the project and possible potential effects of a proposed project upon erosion and accretion rates; and
(6) New scientific information which, through recent advances, would effect a more competent decision relative to wise use and management of Georgia's sand-sharing system.
(e) Every permit shall require that the proposed project be completed within five years after the date of issuance of the permit and shall expire five years after the date of issuance. Such time may be extended five additional years upon a showing that all due efforts and diligence toward the completion of the project have been made. If a permit holder sells, leases, rents, or otherwise conveys the land or any portion of the land for which the permit was issued, such permit shall be continued in force in favor of the new owner, lessee, tenant, or other assignee so long as there is no change in the use of the land as set forth in the original application. The permittee must notify the permit-issuing authority within 30 days after change of ownership of property.
(f) All plans, documents, and materials contained in any application for any permit required by this part shall be made a part of the permit, if granted, and conformance to such plans, documents, and materials shall be a condition of the permit. No change or deviation from any such plans, documents, or materials shall be permitted without the prior notification and approval of the permit-issuing authority.
(g) Compliance with all other federal, state, and local statutes, ordinances, and regulations shall also be a condition of every permit issued pursuant to this part. If, prior to completion of review of an application under this part the committee receives notice of the denial of a permit or authorization necessary for the project, review of the project shall be suspended and, if the denial becomes final, the application shall stand denied.
(h) All permit-issuing authorities may place such conditions on any permit issued under this Code section as are necessary to carry out this part.
(i) In passing upon the application for a permit, the permit-issuing authority shall consider the public interest which for purposes of this part shall be deemed to be the following considerations:
(1) Whether or not unreasonably harmful, increased alteration of the dynamic dune field or submerged lands, or function of the sand-sharing system will be created;
(2) Whether or not the granting of a permit and the completion of the applicant's proposal will unreasonably interfere with the conservation of marine life, wildlife, or other resources; and
(3) Whether or not the granting of a permit and the completion of the applicant's proposal will unreasonably interfere with reasonable access by and recreational use and enjoyment of public properties impacted by the project.
(j) Issuance of a permit under this part and construction of the permitted project shall not remove the designated property from the jurisdiction of this part. All changes in permitted uses which increase impacts to any land subject to the provisions of this part must be ruled upon by the permit-issuing authority to determine if the proposed change is consistent with this part and the permit. Each permitted alteration within the area of operation of this part shall be reviewed by the permit-issuing authority on a five-year basis or when noncompliance with the purpose for which the permit was issued is evident to determine if the use within the area of operation of this part is consistent with the intent of this part. If the permit holder is found not to be in compliance with this part, the permit-issuing authority shall take action as authorized under Code Section 12-5-247.
(k) (1) A permit granted by the permit-issuing authority becomes final immediately upon issuance, but no construction or alteration may commence until the expiration of 30 days following the date of the permit-issuing authority meeting at which the application is approved, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection; provided, however, that if a timely appeal is filed, no construction or alteration may commence until all administrative proceedings are terminated except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection.
(2) If the permit-issuing authority, either at the request of the applicant or on its own motion, finds that an emergency exists in any particular geographic area or in regard to any particular permit issued by the permit-issuing authority, the permit-issuing authority is authorized to allow a permittee to commence immediately or to continue the construction or alteration authorized by the permit. The permit-issuing authority in determining an emergency shall base its determination on imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare or a grave danger to life, real property, structures, or shoreline engineering activities. If the permit-issuing authority makes such a finding of an emergency, the permittee may commence immediately or continue the construction or alteration authorized by the permit, but such construction or alteration is undertaken at the risk to the permittee of an administrative or judicial order requiring the sand dunes, beaches, and submerged lands to be returned to their condition prior to such construction or alteration.
(l) When work has been completed in accordance with provisions of a permit, the permittee shall so notify the permit-issuing authority in writing within 30 days of such completion.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 12-5-239, enacted by Ga. L. 1992, p. 1362, § 1.
TITLE 12. CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES
CHAPTER 5. WATER RESOURCES
ARTICLE 4. COASTAL WATERS, BEACHES, AND SAND DUNES
PART 2. SHORE PROTECTION
O.C.G.A. § 12-5-244 (2007)
§ 12-5-244. Administrative and judicial review
(a) Any person who is aggrieved or adversely affected by any order or action of the committee shall, upon petition within 30 days after the issuance of such order or taking of such action, have a right to a hearing before an administrative law judge appointed by the board. The hearing before the administrative law judge shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act," and the rules and regulations adopted by the board pursuant thereto. The decision of the administrative law judge shall constitute the final decision of the board and any party to the hearing, including the committee, shall have the right of judicial review thereof in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50.
(b) Where a local unit of government has, pursuant to this part, granted, suspended, modified, extended, conditioned, or denied a permit, any person aggrieved or adversely affected by such action shall be afforded a right to administrative and judicial review of such action.
(c) Persons are "aggrieved or adversely affected" where the challenged action has caused or will cause them injury in fact and where the injury is to an interest within the zone of interests to be protected or regulated by this part. In the event the committee or local unit of government, as appropriate, asserts in response to the petition before the administrative law judge that the petitioner is not aggrieved or adversely affected, the administrative law judge shall take evidence and hear arguments on this issue and thereafter make a ruling on this issue before continuing with the hearing. The burden of going forward with evidence on this issue shall rest with the petitioner.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 12-5-244, enacted by Ga. L. 1992, p. 1362, § 1.