LUP Guide



About this Guide

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The development of a comprehensive plan represents a significant investment by a community in terms of both time and money. It also provides an important opportunity to do much more than simply satisfy the CRC’s minimum planning requirements.

It is an opportunity to consider all the aspects of physical and economic growth that synergistically create the future community residents want to see.

It also provides a means of ensuring that economic development does not occur at the expense of the natural environment or the quality of life that attracted residents to coastal NC in the first place.  

This manual is organized to provide guidance on developing a land use plan that meets the requirements of the Coastal Resources Commission as well as guidance on developing a comprehensive plan that addresses a broader range of local planning issues.  

  • Section 1: Comprehensive Planning in Coastal North Carolina
    • Makes the case for developing a comprehensive plan to get the most out of the planning process.  
    • Elaborates on ways to organize the plan with the goal of providing a framework for future decision-making and discusses how to begin thinking about implementation during the planning process.
    • Discussion of the indicators that it is time to update your plan. 
    • Concludes with strategies for engaging the public throughout the planning process. 


  • Section 2: Developing a CAMA Land Use Plan 
    • Provides a detailed overview of the CAMA and describes the relationship between its permitting program and land use planning requirements.
    • Focuses on describing the existing and emerging conditions as well as the dominant growth-related conditions that influence land use, development, water quality, and other environmental concerns in the planning area. 
    • Focuses on developing a vision statement and identifying the community concerns and aspirations.
    • Discusses requirements related to plan policies, the future land use map, and an action plan and implementation schedule.
    • Describes the CRC certification process and the implications that plan adoption have for local governments and federal and state agencies.  


  • Section 3: Elements for a Comprehensive Plan in Coastal North Carolina 
    • Designed to help communities that want to go further and make the most of the investment in plan development by incorporating the CRC’s requirements into a comprehensive plan.

      • The Section is organized around a set of possible plan elements: 

        • Land Use and Community Form 
        • Coastal Environment 
        • Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability 
        • Infrastructure and Community Facilities 
        • Transportation and Connectivity  
        • Disaster Resilience and Recovery 
    • Each element provides a set of practices that can be incorporated into a comprehensive plan or CAMA land use plan to address the CRC’s management goals or other topics of concern.     



Section 1: Comprehensive Planning in Coastal North Carolina

  • Section 1.1: Developing a Comprehensive Plan 
  • Section 1.2 Investing in a Comprehensive Plan 
  • Section 1.3: Engaging the Public

Section 2: Developing a CAMA Land Use Plan

  • Section 2.1: North Carolina’s Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA)
  • Section 2.2: Analyzing Existing and Emerging Conditions 
  • Section 2.3: Creating a Vision for the Future 
  • Section 2.4: Managing Future Development 
  • Section 2.5: Plan Certification 

Section 3: Elements for a Comprehensive Plan in Coastal North Carolina

  • Section 3.1: Land Use and Community Form Element
  • Section 3.2: Coastal Environment Element 
  • Section 3.3: Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Element 
  • Section 3.4: Infrastructure and Community Facilities Element 
  • Section 3.6: Disaster Resilience and Recovery Element