DHEC's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management is responsible for the management of the state's beachfront and coastal zone. The Beachfront Management Act (S.C. Code Ann. § 48-39-250 et seq ), establishes a requirement that ocean beachfront counties and municipalities prepare local comprehensive beach management plans in coordination with DHEC-OCRM. These plans must include a minimum of ten specific elements. Once adopted by the community, local comprehensive beach management plans are then submitted to DHEC for review and state approval.
Local comprehensive beach management plans are an important and effective management tool for local governments. These plans provide guidance to state and federal agencies on local policies, regulations, and procedures related to beachfront management.
Local comprehensive beach management plans are required to be reviewed by the local government every five years. Additionally, updated revisions are required to be submitted for state approval every ten years. DHEC has prepared interim guidelines to assist communities preparing to revise their local comprehensive beach management plans while the state plan is being revised.
The state Beachfront Management Act (S.C. Code Ann. § 48-39-250 et seq ) establishes the statutory guidance and state policies, which directs all state beachfront activities and decisions. The Act is implemented through a variety of mechanisms at the state and local levels, including through the State Comprehensive Beachfront Management Plan and Local Comprehensive Beach Management Plans.
In accordance with the state's Beachfront Management Act, local comprehensive beach management plans are required, at a minimum, to include the following ten elements:
- an inventory of beach profile data and historic erosion rate data for each standard erosion zone and inlet erosion zone under the local jurisdiction;
- an inventory of public beach accesses along with a plan for enhancing public access and parking;
- an inventory of all structures located in the area seaward of the setback line;
- an inventory of turtle nesting and important habitats of the beach/dune system and a protection and restoration plan if necessary;
- a conventional zoning and land use plan consistent with the purposes of the Act for the area seaward of the setback line;
- an analysis of beach erosion control alternatives, including renourishment of the beach under the local government's jurisdiction;
- a drainage plan for the area seaward of the setback zone;
- a post disaster plan including plans for cleanup, maintaining essential services, protecting public health, emergency building ordinances, and the establishment of priorities, all of which must be consistent with the Act;
- a detailed strategy for achieving the goals of this chapter by the end of the forty-year retreat period. Consideration must be given to relocating buildings, removal of erosion control structures, and relocation of utilities; and
- a detailed strategy for achieving the goals of preservation of existing public access and the enhancement of public access to assure full enjoyment of the beach by all residents of this state.
According to the Guidelines for the Development of Local Comprehensive Beach Management Plans established under the Beachfront Management Act (S.C. Code Ann. § 48-39-250 et seq.), the following 18 communities are required to develop local comprehensive beach management plans:
- Horry County (2013)
- City of North Myrtle Beach (2014)
- City of Myrtle Beach (2012)
- Town of Atlantic Beach (1992, identified as Town's Comprehensive Plan's Priority Planning Project 2017)
- Town of Briarcliffe Acres (default to State Plan)
- Town of Surfside Beach (1991)
- Georgetown County (1992, update assistance in progress)
- Town of Pawleys Island (2012)
- Charleston County (2015)
- City of Isle of Palms (2017)
- Town of Sullivan's Island (1992, update assistance in progress)
- City of Folly Beach (2015)
- Town of Kiawah Island (2012)
- Town Seabrook Island (2015)
- Colleton County (default to State Plan)
- Town of Edisto Beach (2012)
- Beaufort County (1993, update assistance in progress)
- Town of Hilton Head Island (2017)