South Carolina's Flagship University
Regulatory Pathfinder for Coastal Development in South Carolina

Thank you for visiting the Regulatory Pathfinder for Coastal Development in South Carolina, compiled by the University of South Carolina School of Law with a grant from the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. We hope you enjoy this site and will provide recommendations for future improvements!

The large web of laws regarding activity in coastal areas can be confusing and difficult to navigate. In South Carolina federal, state, local and county laws and regulations all have separate yet related roles in governing coastal activity. To this end, this Pathfinder has been designed to assist private individuals, business owners, local and state government officials and other interested persons in determining what rules and regulations might be applicable to the projects they want to undertake in the eight coastal counties in South Carolina. The Pathfinder also might be helpful in terms of basic research for coastal residents outside of South Carolina. Note that this website is not intended to represent legal advice, and is merely a tool with which to begin research and become familiar with the topic. Users are strongly advised to consult lawyers and other experts on particular matters.

The Pathfinder website is divided based on various distinctions because the rules vary. There are links to summaries and contact information relating to the state and federal laws that govern coastal activity. There are links that might be a good starting point for various constituents. There are also project-specific links that will interest those considering activities such as development of docks, marinas, houses, sewer systems and septic tanks. A description and contact information for each agency involved in enforcing and implementing the laws can also be accessed by clicking on the links below.

Please visit the Do I Need a Permit? page to find out if your property or project is within this area.

Note that the laws and agencies discussed on this website are constantly changing, so some links may be outdated. The authors encourage you to do independent research to verify what you find in this Pathfinder page, and would be happy to receive suggestions for improvement (see contact information below. As stated above, please do not rely on this website as a definitive analysis of any particular situation. It should, however, help you consult professionals with an increased knowledge of what might be involved in your individual circumstances.

You may need Adobe Reader to open some of the websites or documents that are linked to this site. If you don't have Adobe Reader, it is a free program available from the Adobe web site.

Last Updated October 29, 2010


This project was supported through a generous grant from the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. The principal investigator is Professor Kim Diana Connolly at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Two law students, Keith Bartlett and Valerie Cochran, provided invaluable work toward project completion. Technical assistance with web design was provided by USC School of Law webmaster Tobias Brasier. Broken links should be reported to lawweb@law.sc.edu. This website is NOT intended as legal advice, and particularized analysis by professionals should be sought wherever appropriate.