Why Make a Plan?
There are several reasons to create a Land Use Plan. It is an opportunity to frame “The Big Picture” and to clearly state the community’s vision for the future. The fundamental focus of all planning and land use and development regulation is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the community. A Land Use Plan sets out a road map to guide the regulation of development and public investment of resources. It also communicates a cohesive community direction and provides a framework for making land use decisions.

The Planning process is an opportunity for residents and business owners of Carolina Beach to tell their story and help shape the distinct vision and unique identity for the community. The Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) requires each jurisdiction in the 20 coastal counties to have a local land use plan in accordance with guidelines established by the Coastal Resources Commission (CRC). The current Town of Carolina Beach CAMA Core Land Use Plan was adopted in 2007. This project will focus on reevaluating community conditions and sentiment, and updating the plan. With extensive public outreach and participation, residents will create a blueprint for Carolina Beach to achieve the community's collective vision.


The Plan looks at the interconnectedness between land uses, transportation, utilities, recreation, economic development, and the like. Typically, these plans focus heavily on physical development suitability, address where new development should occur, and other topics that may be identified through the public involvement process. Land Use Plans are not regulations themselves, but rather serve as policy tools and guidelines for community decision making, especially by Town staff and elected and appointed leadership.

Project Approach


A Land Use Plan typically has a horizon of 20-30 years, but it's important to review and update the plan in the interim to keep pace with changes to the Town, and to ensure the vision still resonates with residents. That's why usually, land use plans are reevaluated and updated every 5-10 years, but that is a general guideline and each community is unique.


To help with the land use plan update, the Town has engaged consultants from Stewart to guide the community through the plan update process. Because the future land use planning process is customized to the town and involves extensive community input, it will take 10-12 months to complete and will culminate in the Town Commissioners reviewing and adopting the plan in the Fall of 2019.

For a summary presentation of the Stewart team's project  approach, please click on the link(s) below:

Process Overview

Study Area


The CAMA Land Use Plan covers the entire area under the Town's planning jurisdiction, including the Town's corporate limits and the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). This area stretches from the Atlantic Ocean on the east to the Cape Fear River on the west, and from the inlet and Snow's Cut on the north to Alabama Avenue and Kure Beach on the south. The western portion of Carolina Beach's jurisdiction are primarily covered by Carolina Beach State Park and the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point (MOTSU).