Important Information: DHEC-OCRM Proposed Revisions of Coastal Jurisdictional Setback and Base Lines

The Town has previously provided residents with information regarding the publication by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s division of Ocean Resource Management’s (“DHEC-OCRM”) proposed revisions of the jurisdictional setback and base lines. The proposed revision will affect approximately fifty-three (53) homes and Club structures on Seabrook Island, located at Dolphin Point and along the Atlantic Coast from the Beach Club through Oyster Catcher and Ocean Forest. The proposed revisions can be seen by launching the “SC Beachfront Jurisdictional Viewer”:

As reported by the Town and in several recent articles in The Post and Courier, the proposed revisions can affect a property owner’s ability to build new a home, expand or modify existing structures and repair or rebuild their homes following either a natural or man-made disaster.

The comment period for the proposed revisions will end on November 7th. Thereafter, the proposed revisions are scheduled to be adopted on December 8th and implemented on December 27th.  

  DHEC-OCRM regulations (DHEC Regulation 30-14(F)) provides that landowner claiming ownership of affected property who feels that the final or revised setback line, baseline, or erosion rate as adopted is in error, upon submittal of substantiating evidence, within one year of the revision date, must be granted a review of the setback line, baseline, or erosion rate, or a review of all three. Thereafter, the landowner may appeal DHEC-OCRM’s decision to the Administrative Law Court.

However, it is very important to note that in 2006 the South Carolina legislature passed Section 44-1-60, which provides for a uniform appeals process for all DHEC staff decisions.  That statutory provision gives an aggrieved party only 15 days to request a final review conference before the DHEC Board.  As noted in Sunday’s article in the Post and Courier, a number of lawyers have questioned DHEC-OCRM’s ability to override the legislature and extend the appeal period.

If you are an affected property owner, the Town urges you to examine and understand the implications of the proposed revisions of the jurisdictional lines on your property, as well as your rights to contest and appeal DHEC-OCRM’s decisions. We strongly suggest affected property owners consult their attorneys with respect to the described procedures.

-Submitted on behalf of Ron Ciancio, Mayor of Seabrook Island

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