Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA)


In 1974, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA), and set the stage for guiding development in the fragile and productive areas that border the State's sounds and oceanfront. Along with requiring special care by those who build and develop, the General Assembly directed the Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) to implement clear regulations that minimize the burden on the applicant.

Coastal Management Land Use Planning

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. 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 investment programs. Brunswick County has adopted the Brunswick County CAMA CORE Land Use Plan.

Cama Permit

To Apply

  1. Send the following items, by certified mail, to the adjoining property owners:
    • A letter stating that you have applied for a CAMA permit and are required to notify them of your intended project.
    • A copy of the drawing showing your project.
    • A copy of your completed application (CAMA requires the use of an original form (printed on card stock), which you can obtain from the CAMA office).
  2. Bring the following items to your Local CAMA Permit Officer:
    • A $100 check payable to Brunswick County.
    • The completed, signed application*.
    • The drawing showing your project.
    • Copies of the letters mailed to the adjoining property owners.
    • The certified mail receipts from the post office showing you mailed letters to adjoining property owners.
    • A copy of the property survey.

All project drawings must be drawn to scale (example: 1"=20') and include the name and project address in the title box; the property dimensions and names of adjacent property owners; the dimensions and location of all existing and proposed structures, driveways, and sewage disposal system, and improvements permit, if applicable; the location of any adjacent water body (example: Atlantic Ocean, AIWW, Bradley Creek); the label any marsh or wetland areas and include wetland delineation documentation from the Army Corps Of Engineers, if applicable.

If your property is in the Estuarine Shoreline AEC, your project drawings must also include the dimensions of the footprint of your structure (the roofline extended to the ground (outside walls + roof overhang)); all decks labeled either covered or open (all elevated decks with concrete below them at ground level are considered covered, whether or not they have a roof); and the mean high water contour (MHW) and an AEC line located 75 feet landward of MHW, or 575 feet, if adjacent to Outstanding Resource Waters.

If your project is in the Ocean Hazard Area, your application must include an AEC Hazard Notice, signed by the property owner, and your project drawings must include all dunes, if oceanfront, labeling the dune crest and both landward and oceanward dune toes, and spot elevations on the highest portion of the dunes; a vegetation line and application setback line must be shown on the drawing (if you are not sure of the setback for your property, contact your Local Permit Officer); the number of floors or proposed structures (example: 2-story, single-story).