South Carolina's Flagship University

Regulatory Pathfinder
for Coastal Development in South Carolina

Private Citizens- Home Building, Additions, Repairs

In many instances single family housing or additions to single family housing may qualify for a Nationwide Permit. Different requirements and standards must be met depending on whether you are building or adding on.

Nationwide Permits- will cover both building a new home and adding on to an existing home

  1. You must meet the following housing-specific standards. You should also read and comply with the general Nationwide permit guidelines found here.
  2. Regional Conditions on Nationwide Permits prohibit discharges that cause the loss of more than 300 linear feet of streambed.
  3. If you don't meet the conditions for a Nationwide Permit fill out a joint application to the Corps.

Both nationwide and traditional, individual permits require compliance with state regulations.

  1. no new construction or reconstruction can occur seaward of the baseline except:
    1. wooden walkways no wider than 6 feet;
    2. small wooden decks no larger than 144 square feet;
    3. normal landscaping;
    4. special situations.
  2. New habitable structures:
    1. if constructed between the baseline and the setback line the owner must certify in writing to OCRM that the construction meets the following requirements-
      1. portions of the habitable structure seaward of the setback line are no larger than 5000 square feet of heated space;
      2. must be located as far landward as practicable;
      3. a drawing must be submitted showing
        1. a footprint of the structure on the property;
        2. a cross-section of the structure;
        3. structure's relation to property lines or setback lines that might be in effect;
      4. no erosion control structure or device can be incorporated as an integral part of a habitable structure;
      5. no part of the building will be constructed on the primary oceanfront sand dune or seaward of the baseline;
      6. if required, all mitigation meets the Mitigation policy standards set forth in the State Beachfront Management Plan.
  3. Additions to habitable structures are allowed if the additions plus the existing structure do not exceed 5000 square feet of heated space. Additions built seaward of the setback line must have the owner's written certification to OCRM that the requirements listed under item 2(a) are met.
    1. Additions located wholly or partially in the setback line are allowed if
      1. the addition(s) plus the original structure(s) do not exceed 5000 square feet of heated space;
      2. additions must comply with the rules for new habitable structures listed above;
      3. additions cannot be located further seaward than the existing structure;
      4. the structure's linear footage, parallel to the coast, cannot be increased.
    2. if the additions are constructed totally landward of the setback no notice to OCRM is necessary.

If your new habitable structure or addition will be constructed between the setback and baseline you must notify OCRM. Written notification of and a written response from OCRM are required for the construction of new habitable structures partially seaward of the 40-year setback line and replacement of or additions to habitable structures. The notification must contain several items- the heated square footage; a plat showing a cross-section and footprint showing the foundation, all property, setback or parking lot lines in effect; and must clearly differentiate between the original structure and the proposed structure. The structure must also be as far landward as practicable.

In some instances repairs to habitable structures are allowed without a permit. These situations are outlined below.

  1. If the habitable structure existed on July 1, 1988 or was constructed in compliance with the rules normal maintenance and repair is allowed without notice to OCRM.
    1. Normal maintenance and repair applies only to work done to a previously permitted, grandfathered or exempted structure that is still generally intact and functional in its present condition.
      1. Work can only extend to the structure's original dimensions;
      2. any expansion, addition or major rebuilding requires either a permit or documentation to, and approval from, OCRM;
      3. if the structure is within the critical area, work performed that is part of a routine and ongoing program to maintain the structure's integrity, if the structure is still generally intact and functional in its present condition, is allowed if the work extends only to the structure's original dimensions.
  2. If your structure does not meet the conditions in #1 you may still qualify for a Nationwide Permit if you meet the appropriate conditions found here.
  3. If the structure is determined to be damaged less than 66 2/3% the structure may be repaired after acceptable documentation is received by OCRM.

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.