2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 12 - CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES
CHAPTER 5 - WATER RESOURCES
ARTICLE 4 - COASTAL WATERS, BEACHES, AND SAND DUNES
PART 4 - COASTAL MARSHLANDS
§ 12-5-286 - Permit required; application; notice; public hearing; issuance; denial; dynamic dune fields
. Permit required; application; notice; public hearing; issuance; denial; dynamic dune fields
(a) No person shall remove, fill, dredge, drain, or otherwise alter any marshlands or construct or locate any structure on or over marshlands in this state within the estuarine area thereof without first obtaining a permit from the committee or, in the case of minor alteration of marshlands, the commissioner. A permit may authorize the construction or maintenance of the project proposed in an application. After construction pursuant to a permit, a project may be maintained without a permit so long as it does not further alter the natural topography or vegetation at the project site.
(b) Each application for such permit shall be properly executed and filed with the department on forms prescribed by the department and shall include:
(1) The name and address of the applicant;
(2) A plan or drawing showing the applicant's proposal and the manner or method by which such proposal shall be accomplished. Such plan shall identify the coastal marshlands affected;
(3) A plat of the area in which the proposed work will take place;
(4) A copy of the deed or other instrument under which the applicant claims title to the property or, if the applicant is not the owner, then a copy of the deed or other instrument under which the owner claims title together with written permission from the owner to carry out the project on his land. In lieu of a deed or other instrument referred to in this paragraph, the committee may accept some other reasonable evidence of ownership of the property in question or other lawful authority to make use of the property. The committee will not adjudicate title disputes concerning the property which is the subject of the application; provided, however, that the committee may decline to process an application when submitted documents show conflicting deeds;
(5) A list of all adjoining landowners together with such owners' addresses, provided that if the names or addresses of adjoining landowners cannot be determined, the applicant shall file in lieu thereof a sworn affidavit that a diligent search, including, without limitation, a search of the records of the county tax assessor's office, has been made but that the applicant was not able to ascertain the names or addresses, as the case may be, of adjoining landowners;
(6) A letter from the local governing authority of the political subdivision in which the property is located, stating that the applicant's proposal is not violative of any zoning law;
(7) A nonrefundable application fee to be set by the board in an amount necessary to defray the administrative cost of issuing such permit. Renewal fees shall be equal to application fees, which shall not exceed $1,000.00 for any one proposal and shall be paid to the department;
(8) A description from the applicant of alternative sites and why they are not feasible and a discussion of why the permit should be granted;
(9) A statement from the applicant that he has made inquiry to the appropriate authorities that the proposed project is not over a landfill or hazardous waste site and that the site is otherwise suitable for the proposed project;
(10) A copy of the water quality certification issued by the department if required for the proposed project;
(11) Certification by the applicant of adherence to soil and erosion control responsibilities if required for the proposed project; and
(12) Such additional information as is required by the committee to properly evaluate the application.
(c) A copy of each application for a permit shall be delivered to each member of the committee at least seven days prior to any meeting of the committee.
(d) The department, after receipt of an application, shall notify in writing all adjoining landowners that the application has been received. Such notice shall indicate the use the applicant proposes to make of the property. Should the applicant indicate that any adjoining landowner is unknown or that the address of such landowner is unknown, then the department shall, after receipt of a completed application, cause a notice of the proposed activity and a brief description of the affected land to be published in the legal organ of or a newspaper of general circulation in the county or counties in which such land lies. Cost of such publication shall be paid by the applicant. Should the property to be affected by the applicant be bordered on any side or on more than one side by other property of the applicant, the applicant shall supply the names and addresses of the nearest landowners whose land borders on his land. If the names or addresses, or both, of the nearest landowners cannot be ascertained, the applicant shall supply a sworn statement of diligent search as provided in this Code section. The landowners named by the applicant shall be notified either directly or by advertisement as provided in this Code section. The department may also make inquiry to adjoining landowners to ascertain whether or not there is objection to issuance of a permit.
(e) The committee shall provide notice of applications by either public notice distributed jointly with the United States Army Corps of Engineers or public notice distributed by the committee. In no instance shall a public notice be issued for less than seven days prior to the meeting at which the committee reviews the subject of the public notice. Public notices shall be distributed to all persons who have requested to be placed on the mailing list. Such request shall be made in writing and shall be renewed in December of each year. Failure to renew the request shall result in the removal of such name from the mailing list.
(f) Whenever there appears to be sufficient public interest, the committee may call a public hearing.
(g) In passing upon the application for permit, the committee shall consider the public interest, which, for purposes of this part, shall be deemed to be the following considerations:
(1) Whether or not unreasonably harmful obstruction to or alteration of the natural flow of navigational water within the affected area will arise as a result of the proposal;
(2) Whether or not unreasonably harmful or increased erosion, shoaling of channels, or stagnant areas of water will be created; and
(3) Whether or not the granting of a permit and the completion of the applicant's proposal will unreasonably interfere with the conservation of fish, shrimp, oysters, crabs, clams, or other marine life, wildlife, or other resources, including but not limited to water and oxygen supply.
(h) It is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate to the committee that the proposed alteration is not contrary to the public interest and that no feasible alternative sites exist. If the committee finds that the application is not contrary to the public interest and no feasible alternative sites exist, as specified in this subsection, it shall issue to the applicant a permit. Such permit may be conditioned upon the applicant's amending the proposal to take whatever measures are necessary to protect the public interest.
(i) The committee shall act upon an application for a permit within 90 days after the application is complete; provided, however, that this provision may be waived upon the written request of the applicant. An application must be complete sufficiently in advance of the committee meeting at which the project will be considered to allow for public notice and evaluation by the department. An application is complete when it contains substantially all of the written information, documents, forms, fees, and materials required by this part.
(j) In the event a majority of the members of the committee determine that a permit should be denied, the application for permit shall be denied. Any applicant who is aggrieved or adversely affected thereby shall have the right to appeal as provided in Code Section 12-5-283
(k) Should a majority of the members of the committee agree that a permit should be conditional, the permit shall be issued on such conditions as a majority of the committee directs. Any applicant who is aggrieved or adversely affected thereby shall have the right to appeal as provided in Code Section 12-5-283
(l) Every permit shall require that the proposed project be completed within five years after the date of the issuance of the permit and such permit shall expire five years after the date of issuance. Such time may be extended an additional five years upon showing that all due efforts and diligence toward the completion of the work have been made. Any permit may be revoked by the committee for noncompliance with or for violation of its terms after written notice of intention to do so has been furnished to the holder thereof.
(m) A permit to alter marshlands that has been granted by the committee becomes final immediately upon issuance, but no construction or alteration may commence until the expiration of 30 days following the date of the committee meeting at which the application is approved; provided, however, that if a timely appeal is filed, no construction or alteration may commence until all administrative and judicial proceedings are terminated.
(n) Issuance of a permit under this part and construction of the permitted project shall not remove the designated property from the jurisdiction of this part. All changes in permitted uses which increase impacts to any land subject to the provisions of this part must be assessed by the committee to determine if the proposed change is consistent with this part and the permit. Each permitted alteration of marshlands shall be reviewed by the department on a five-year basis, or when noncompliance with the purpose for which the permit was issued is evident, to determine if the use of the marshland is consistent with the intent of this part. If the permit holder is found not to be in compliance with this part, the committee shall take action as authorized under Code Section 12-5-291
(o) All plans, documents, and materials contained in any application for any permit required by this part shall be made a part of the permit, if granted, and conformance to such plans, documents, and materials shall be a condition of the permit. No change or deviation from any such plans, documents, or materials shall be permitted without the prior notification and approval of the committee.
(p) The permittee shall notify the department of completion of a project within 30 days of completion.
(q) If, prior to completion of review of an application under this part, the committee receives notice of the denial of a permit or authorization necessary for the project, review of the project shall be suspended and, if the denial becomes final, the application shall stand denied.
(r) If an area has both marshlands as defined in Code Section 12-5-282
and dynamic dune fields as defined in Code Section 12-5-232
, it shall be subject to the jurisdiction of both such parts. In the event of a conflict between this part and Part 2 of this article, the commissioner shall determine which part shall apply so as to best protect the public interest.
Graham Syfert - Jacksonville Lawyer