BEAUFORT — After holding a public hearing in which one person provided comment, the Carteret County Board of Commissioners Monday adopted the draft Coastal Area Management Act land-use plan update, codifying a set of development rules that will help guide growth in the county for the next decade.
Commissioners met at the administration complex in Beaufort Monday evening for the public hearing and to review the plan, which was adopted by a unanimous vote. Now that it’s been adopted locally, the land-use plan will be forwarded to the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission for state certification.
As one of the state’s 20 coastal counties subject to special development considerations under CAMA, Carteret is required to have a local land-use plan in accordance with guidelines established by the CRC. Essentially, the plan is a collection of policies and maps that serve as a blueprint of growth for the community and must be updated periodically.
The 2021 version is an update to the plan adopted by commissioners in 2009 and certified by the CRC in 2010. Once a plan is a certified, it can be used by local authorities and the state Division of Coastal Management in making CAMA permitting decisions, as all proposed projects must conform with the policies in the land-use plan.
“Policies in the plan are used in CAMA permitting decisions, state and federal consistency determinations and some state project funding decisions, such as the North Carolina Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Grant program,” said Kathy Vinson with Coastal Planning Services of Morehead City, the county’s consultant on development of the plan update.
The plan also takes into account factors like economic development and population demographics to project future growth. It includes a future land-use map of the county, laying out expected development trends for different areas.
Gene Foxworth, county planning director, described Monday the extensive development process the land-use plan underwent before finally appearing in front of commissioners for a decision that night. He said it kicked off in November 2018 when the county hired Coastal Planning Services and tapped the Carteret County Planning Commission to act as a steering committee overseeing development.
The steering committee met numerous times over the following months, and a series of public input meetings were held throughout 2019. Working alongside project consultants, the county submitted a draft plan to the DCM for review in August 2020, and it was later forwarded to other state agencies, local municipalities and surrounding counties for further input.
After some final revisions, DCM determined the plan was complete in October 2021, and the planning commission recommended it for approval in November.
“Because this was a long process, I wanted to run through that list with you so that y’all knew the amount of outreach that we did on this, the amount of meetings that were involved in this,” Mr. Foxworth said.
Some local municipal officials previously told the News-Times they planned to send representatives to Monday’s commission meeting, but none appeared to be in attendance. Only one person, Bill Price, spoke during the public hearing. He expressed some concern about CAMA, saying he’d been involved in development in the of previous land-use plans.
He said he felt the science being used as justification for some policy decisions was not accurate, such as in regard to water pollutants and sea level rise.
“I just want to stand up and stop this and I just think we deserve good science,” Mr. Price said.
Commissioners listened to Mr. Price’s comments but didn’t seem influenced to act any differently. The board did not deliberate long after closing the public hearing, with commissioners voting unanimously to adopt the plan.
A copy of the draft 2021 CAMA land-use plan update can be viewed online at carteretcountync.gov/DocumentCenter/View/9859/CAMA-LUP-Cart-Co-Sept-15_2021-Draft-3-1 or by visiting the Carteret County courthouse or the County Planning and Development Department at 402 Broad St., both in Beaufort, during normal business hours.
Contact Elise Clouser at email@example.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.