113-230. Orders to control activities in coastal wetlands.

(a) The Secretary, with the approval of the Coastal Resources Commission, may from time to time, for the purpose of promoting the public safety, health, and welfare, and protecting public and private property, wildlife and marine fisheries, adopt, amend, modify, or repeal orders regulating, restricting, or prohibiting dredging, filling, removing or otherwise altering coastal wetlands. In this section, the term "coastal wetlands" shall mean any marsh as defined in G.S. 113-229(n)(3), as amended, and such contiguous land as the Secretary reasonably deems necessary to affect by any such order in carrying out the purposes of this section.

(b) The Secretary shall, before adopting, amending, modifying or repealing any such order, hold a public hearing thereon in the county in which the coastal wetlands to be affected are located, giving notice thereof to interested State agencies and each owner or claimed owner of such wetlands by certified or registered mail at least 21 days prior thereto.

(c) Upon adoption of any such order or any order amending, modifying or repealing the same, the Secretary shall cause a copy thereof, together with a plan of the lands affected and a list of the owners or claimed owners of such lands, to be recorded in the register of deeds office in the county where the land is located, and shall mail a copy of such order and plan to each owner or claimed owner of such lands affected thereby.

(d) Any person, firm or corporation that violates any order issued under the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

(e) The superior court shall have jurisdiction in equity to restrain violations of such orders.

(f) Any person having a recorded interest in or registered claim to land affected by any such order may, within 90 days after receiving notice thereof, petition the superior court to determine whether the petitioner is the owner of the land in question, and in case he is adjudged the owner of the subject land, whether such order so restricts the use of his property as to deprive him of the practical uses thereof and is therefore an unreasonable exercise of the police power because the order constitutes the equivalent of a taking without compensation. If the court finds the order to be an unreasonable exercise of the police power, as aforesaid, the court shall enter a finding that such order shall not apply to the land of the petitioner; provided, however, that such finding shall not affect any other land than that of the petitioner. The Secretary shall cause a copy of such finding to be recorded forthwith in the register of deeds office in the county where the land is located. The method provided in this subsection for the determination of the issue of whether any such order constitutes a taking without compensation shall be exclusive, and such issue shall not be determined in any other proceeding.

(g) After a finding has been entered that such order shall not apply to certain land as provided in the preceding subsection, the Department of Administration, upon the request of the Coastal Resources Commission, shall take the fee or any lesser interest in such land in the name of the State by eminent domain under the provisions of Chapter 146 of the General Statutes and hold the same for the purposes set forth in this section.

(h) This section shall not repeal the powers, duties and responsibilities of the Department under the provisions of G.S. 113-229. (1971, c. 1159, s. 7; 1973, c. 1262, ss. 28, 86; 1977, c. 771, s. 4; 1979, c. 253, s. 4; 1989, c. 727, s. 108; 1993, c. 539, s. 845; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)