Sec. 4-10. Dunes protection.
   (a)   Findings of fact and purpose.
      (1)   The sand dunes within the town are a topographical feature unique to coastal areas and are a tourist attraction as well as a protective barrier against the dangers of wind, flood, and erosion. The sand dunes make a vital contribution to the nature and character of the town as a resort coastal community, and the town believes the sand dunes should be preserved and development on the sand dunes within the town controlled in a manner compatible with the preservation of the sand dunes.
      (2)   This section is adopted to promote the protection of the town by maintaining the existence of natural and constructed dunes which help protect it from the danger of flooding and erosion and to preserve the land against the actions of sand, wind, and water. The practice of destroying sand dunes and removing vegetation within the town constitutes a serious threat to the safety of adjacent properties. This section is, therefore, adopted for the health, safety, and welfare of persons living, visiting, or sojourning to and in the town, and for protection of public and private property.
   (b)   Conflicts with state rules. If any provision of this section is in conflict with a rule adopted by the State Coastal Resource Commission dealing with ocean front erosion control, then the rule or regulations shall control and apply in lieu of the provision of this section in conflict therewith.
   (c)   Territorial applicability. This section shall apply to sand dunes within the corporate limits and boundaries of the town.
   (d)   Exemptions. The provisions of this section do not apply to:
      (1)   The removal of sand, seashells, or similar materials for souvenir value in such amounts as may be carried upon the person.
      (2)   Any activity authorized or allowed by G.S. 113A-103(5)(b)5 for emergency maintenance and repair.
      (3)   Any activity conducted by a federal or state agency for beach renourishment and protection.
   (e)   Enforcement. This section shall be enforced by the Surf City Code Enforcement Officer and Surf City Police Department.
   (f)   Damaging sand dunes.
      (1)   It shall be unlawful for any person other than the owner, invitees or renters of that property thereof to walk over or cross over any dune at any place except at an authorized marked cross over of designated beach access.
      (2)   It shall be unlawful for any person except the owner to damage, destroy, or remove any sand dune or part thereof, or to kill, destroy, or remove any trees, shrubbery, or other vegetation growing on sand dunes except in the following locations:
         a.   The area within the foundation perimeter of any existing structure or any structure to be constructed, as shown on a survey or site plan on file or previously submitted to the Building Inspector as part of the building permit application process or to the Planning Board as part of the site plan review process.
         b.   An area around the perimeter of an existing building or proposed principal building not to exceed a width of twelve (12) feet from the building foundation perimeter.
         c.   The area within the boundaries of existing driveways and parking areas or driveways and parking areas to be constructed in accordance with a survey or site plan approved by the Planning Board or other appropriate reviewing town officials.
         d.   On commercial, multifamily, group development, or planned unit development site plans which have been approved by the Planning Board (and Town Council, if required), those areas delineated and designated on the site plan for land disturbing activity is also undertaken pursuant to Coastal Area Management Act.
         e.   In hard surfaced, designated recreation areas.
      (3)   Division (f)(2) of this section does not apply to any of the following:
         a.   Landscaping activities and garden plots, provided the original dune contour is not altered.
         b.   Water, sewage, or wastewater disposal systems.
   (g)   Penalties. Any person, firm, or corporation who violates any division of this section shall be liable to the town for a civil penalty of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) and damages caused to the dune. Any person, firm, or corporation who violates any division of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to fines and imprisonment up to the maximum allowed by G.S. 14-4 (Five hundred dollars ($500.00) or thirty (30) days imprisonment).
(Ord. No. 1993-33, § 1,10-5-93; Ord. No. 2000-16, § 1, 7-11-00; Ord. No. 2018-07, § I, 9- 4-18; Ord. No. 2019-04, § I, 6-4-19)