Coastal Law

North Carolina's coastline is one of the state's most defining natural features. It is as vast and varied as the legal landscape that governs its coastal communities.

Ward and Smith attorneys understand this ever-changing regulatory terrain. Our mission is to help clients navigate through the intricacies of local, state, and federal rules intended to preserve and protect resources critical to our state's economic vitality.

Uniquely Coastal

Ward and Smith's has extensive experience handling environmental matters affecting communities from border to border. However, there are laws specific to the coastal regions.

The Coastal Area Management Act ("CAMA") was created to protect and preserve the state's natural resources along the shoreline while encouraging smart development to minimize environmental risk. Coastal Stormwater Rules are designed to protect surface waters from the impact of stormwater runoff from residential and commercial developments. Twenty counties fall into the jurisdiction of both state programs, which adds to the complicated nature of compliance and enforcement. We offer clients innovative solutions and pragmatic problem-solving to overcome these challenges so that they can focus on achieving their goals.

What We Can Do For You

Coastal environmental law issues affect almost every industry, from agribusiness to real estate, banking to tourism. Ward and Smith attorneys regularly assist and counsel municipalities, businesses, landowners, developers, homeowner associations (HOAs), and other entities and individuals with matters related to permitting, land use, development, and litigation.  Additionally, we have experience in the following:

  • Assessing potential environmental liability
  • Responding to enforcement actions
  • Handling zoning and land use regulation
  • Advising and engaging with state and local agencies on environmental legislation and ordinances
  • Evaluation and oversight of remediation projects
  • Site-specific permitting
  • Environmental due diligence
  • Public beach and waterfront access
  • Residential development
  • Wetlands restrictions

Our team also says abreast of emerging national environmental law trends affecting the coast. Clients count on us for guidance with:

  • Clean Water Act
  • Coastal Zone Management Act
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Rivers and Harbors Act

Preserving our more than 300 miles of coastline while accommodating growth and development requires the legal finesse and regulatory knowledge to overcome these environmental law hurdles. Our multidisciplinary team can provide clients with comprehensive legal representation in multiple areas, including environmental law, construction, real estate and real estate development, government relations, and litigation. If you require professional legal advice and representation, we can help.

We are your established legal network with offices in Asheville, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, and Wilmington, NC.

Coastal Law Team