Section 7: Enforcement and Monitoring

How are regulations enforced?

CAMA permits are intended to protect the environment, public trust rights and the economy of the North Carolina coast. 
To ensure that CRC regulations are followed, the Division of Coastal Management employs a number of compliance and enforcement tools. Coastal Management staff and local permit officers monitor permitted projects on site to make certain they are being carried out correctly. DCM staff also make regular enforcement flights to look for other CAMA violations. 

You are in violation of CAMA when you begin development in an Area of Environmental Concern without a valid CAMA permit, or if any of your CAMA-permitted work does not comply with the issued permit. 

When a violation occurs, Coastal Management staff or the local permit officer can issue a violation notice, order you to stop work, require restoration of the site and assess a penalty for the violation. 

In all violations, Coastal Management's and local government's first priority is to seek resource recovery through prompt, voluntary restoration of the damaged area. If you do not voluntarily restore damage, Coastal Management may ask a judge to issue an injunction and may impose criminal penalties for willful permit violations. 

Under CRC rules, you may be fined up to $1,000 for minor development violations and up to $10,000 for major development violations. Such fines are known as "civil penalties." 

In addition, the Division may also assess up to one-half the amount of the civil penalty, not to exceed $2,500 for major development violations or $1,000 for minor development violations, to recover the costs of investigations and enforcement involved with violations.

Civil penalty amounts are based on a schedule set by the CRC, and the amount of the civil penalty can be appealed to the CRC. If you appeal a civil penalty, a formal hearing will be held before an administrative law judge in the Office of Administrative Hearings. That judge makes a recommendation to the CRC. The recommendation and the transcript of the hearing are presented to the CRC in regular session. The CRC then determines whether the penalty is appropriate. 

You can avoid penalties by making sure your project complies with the CRC's development standards and all permit conditions. When you are issued a CAMA permit, you should consult with the Coastal Management field representative or local permit officer before beginning work to make sure that your work will meet all requirements. A Coastal Management field representative or a local permit officer will periodically monitor work at your project site.