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Coastal Marshlands Protection Comm. v. Center for a Sustainable Coast

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20171
Nos. Nos. A07A0752 et al., (Ga. Ct. App., 07/11/2007)

The court held that the Georgia Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA), which regulates activities and structures in marshlands, may not be construed to regulate activities or structures in high land or upland areas, including stormwater runoff from those areas, which may adversely impact the marshlands. The case arose after a developer applied for, and received, a permit to construct two public marinas and three community docks as part of its overall residential development project in the area. An administrative law judge remanded the permit on the grounds that the CMPA required the permitting agency to regulate any feature of the developer's upland development that may adversely alter the marshlands, including stormwater runoff from the upland residential areas of the development project. Under the state permitting provisions, however, the permitted project is limited to the marshlands component, comprised of the marina and dock structures proposed to be constructed or located on or over the marshlands, and the upland component, comprised of adjoining upland areas intended to service or augment the marina and dock. But nothing in the CMPA can be construed to include the adjacent residential development as part of the permitted project merely because it is part of the overall development and enhances the economic value of the residential development.