CRC meets in Manteo, moves forward with permanent rulemaking for Jockey’s Ridge

Published 8:18 pm Saturday, May 4, 2024

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Meeting in Manteo, North Carolina’s Coastal Review Commission voted unanimously to proceed with permanent rulemaking to protect Jockey’s Ridge.

During public comment, 17 people approached the podium and delivered pleas to protect the famed dune, which is designated a North Carolina State Park, a state Natural Area, a National Natural Landmark and, until a six-month disagreement with the Rules Review Commission, an Area of Environmental Concern under Coastal Resources Commission policies and rules.

Agency conflict started last October. The Coastal Resources Commission submitted 132 long-standing rules to the Rules Review Commission for review.

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On Oct. 3, the state budget passed with power for the review panel to send rules with its objections back to the submitting agency. The same legislation seemingly gave new power to the state’s codifier of rules, Ashley Berger Synder. She promptly took the 30 rules objected to by the rules commission out of the Administrative Code.

Of the 30 rules sent back and now out of the code, the Coastal Resources Commission considered 16 of those rules critical to the operation of the Division of Coastal Resources.

The Coastal Resources Commission and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, the Coastal Resources Commission labeled the eliminated rules an emergency as a way to reinsert the rules in the Administrative Code. The resources commission submitted the 16 rules as temporary rules. The Rules Review Commission rejected the temporary rules.

On April 25, 2024, the Coastal Resources Commission, after a closed session with its attorney, unanimously responded by voting to proceed with permanent rulemaking on seven rules. The commission voted on each rule separately: Mitigation Projects, Public Notice Requirements, Work Plats, Processing the Application, Permit Conditions, Review of Major Development and Dredge and Fill Applications, and Jockey’s Ridge Area of Environmental Concern.

Concerning Jockey’s Ridge, supplemental information with the permanent rule is a formal letter from the State Geologist Dr. Kenneth B. Taylor who calls Jockey’s Ridge State Park “an area containing a unique geological formation,” which is at issue with the Rules Review Commission.

“We’ve done everything we can possibly do,” said Coastal Resources commissioner D.J. Bryan, a coastal property owner from Chapel Hill. He suggested contacting legislators.