South Carolina's Flagship University

Regulatory Pathfinder
for Coastal Development in South Carolina

Permit application processing procedures.

In South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) reviews and issues permits. Within 30 days of submitting an application, OCRM will notify interested agencies, your adjoining landowners, and the local government where you own your land, and any other interested persons. OCRM will let them know of your application and its nature. Any interested agency, adjoining landowner, local government or any other interested person then has 30 days from when the newspaper notice is published to make written comments to OCRM.

If an adjoining landowner files a written objection your ownership to the land your project will be on and indicates they will file a court action then the permit application will be put on hold until a judicial decision is made. The adjoining landowner must provide OCRM with written proof he has filed the lawsuit within 30 days of the end of the comment period. If they do not your permit application will then be processed.

A public hearing may be required if OCRM decides one is necessary. OCRM is required to hold a public hearing if 20 or more residents of your county or an affected local government requests a hearing.

OCRM is allowed, under, Section 48-39-150(B) to issue a conditional permit approval. Under this provision, OCRM may direct the applicant to amend his proposal to take specific measures necessary to protect the public interest. The Department, at its discretion, may seek additional public comment on major modifications to a permit application. S.C. Code Regs. 30-4(A)

A Permit denial shall cite facts upon which the denial was based and the reasons for denial. S.C. Code Regs. 30-4(B)

According to S.C. Code Ann. Section 48-39-150(B), OCRM shall act upon an application for a permit within ninety days. This ninety-day period shall begin when the application is administratively complete and filed in approved form. The file is administratively complete when all required information, including fees, newspaper notices, proof of ownership and certifications have been received. Exceptions of the ninety-day deadline are applications for minor development activities on which action must be taken within 30 days.

S.C. Code Ann. Section 48-39-150(F) required a permit holder to complete work within five years from the date of permit issuance. OCRM may extend the five-year period upon showing of good cause indicating that due diligence toward completion of the work has been made, evidenced by significant work progress. The permit holder must request an extension in writing prior to the permit's expiration date. Permits which have expired may not be extended. Work shall be continuous and expeditions whenever possible.

Further reading and information is available in S.C. Code Ann. Sections 48-39-120 to 48-39-150, and S.C. Code Regs. 30-2 to 30-7.

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.