113A-54.1. Approval of erosion control plans.

(a) A draft erosion and sedimentation control plan must contain the applicant's address and, if the applicant is not a resident of North Carolina, designate a North Carolina agent for the purpose of receiving notice from the Commission or the Secretary of compliance or noncompliance with the plan, this Article, or any rules adopted pursuant to this Article. Except as provided in subsection (a1) of this section, if the applicant is not the owner of the land to be disturbed, the draft erosion and sedimentation control plan must include the owner's written consent for the applicant to submit a draft erosion and sedimentation control plan and to conduct the anticipated land-disturbing activity. The Commission shall approve, approve with modifications, or disapprove a draft erosion and sedimentation control plan for those land-disturbing activities for which prior plan approval is required within 30 days of receipt. The Commission shall condition approval of a draft erosion and sedimentation control plan upon the applicant's compliance with federal and State water quality laws, regulations, and rules. Failure to approve, approve with modifications, or disapprove a completed draft erosion and sedimentation control plan within 30 days of receipt shall be deemed approval of the plan. If the Commission disapproves a draft erosion and sedimentation control plan or a revised erosion and sedimentation control plan, it must state in writing the specific reasons that the plan was disapproved. Failure to approve, approve with modifications, or disapprove a revised erosion and sedimentation control plan within 15 days of receipt shall be deemed approval of the plan. The Commission may establish an expiration date for erosion and sedimentation control plans approved under this Article.

(a1) If the applicant is not the owner of the land to be disturbed and the anticipated land-disturbing activity involves the construction of utility lines for the provision of water, sewer, gas, telecommunications, or electrical service, the draft erosion and sedimentation control plan may be submitted without the written consent of the owner of the land, so long as the owner of the land has been provided prior notice of the project.

(b) If, following commencement of a land-disturbing activity pursuant to an approved erosion and sedimentation control plan, the Commission determines that the plan is inadequate to meet the requirements of this Article, the Commission may require any revision of the plan that is necessary to comply with this Article. Failure to approve, approve with modifications, or disapprove a revised erosion and sedimentation control plan within 15 days of receipt shall be deemed approval of the plan.

(c) The Commission shall disapprove an erosion and sedimentation control plan if implementation of the plan would result in a violation of rules adopted by the Environmental Management Commission to protect riparian buffers along surface waters. The Director of the Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources may disapprove an erosion and sedimentation control plan or disapprove a transfer of a plan under subsection (d1) of this section upon finding that an applicant or a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of the applicant:

(1) Is conducting or has conducted land-disturbing activity without an approved plan, or has received notice of violation of a plan previously approved by the Commission or a local government pursuant to this Article and has not complied with the notice within the time specified in the notice;

(2) Has failed to pay a civil penalty assessed pursuant to this Article or a local ordinance adopted pursuant to this Article by the time the payment is due;

(3) Has been convicted of a misdemeanor pursuant to G.S. 113A-64(b) or any criminal provision of a local ordinance adopted pursuant to this Article; or

(4) Has failed to substantially comply with State rules or local ordinances and regulations adopted pursuant to this Article.

(d) In the event that an erosion and sedimentation control plan or a transfer of a plan is disapproved by the Director pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the Director shall state in writing the specific reasons that the plan was disapproved. The applicant or the proposed transferee may appeal the Director's disapproval of the plan to the Commission. For purposes of this subsection and subsection (c) of this section, an applicant's record or a proposed transferee's record may be considered for only the two years prior to the application date.

(d1) The Department may transfer an erosion and sedimentation control plan approved pursuant to this section without the consent of the plan holder to a successor-owner of the property on which the permitted activity is occurring or will occur as provided in this subsection:

(1) The Department may transfer a plan if all of the following conditions are met:

a. The successor-owner of the property submits to the Department a written request for the transfer of the plan and an authorized statement of financial responsibility and ownership.

b. The Department finds all of the following:

1. The plan holder is one of the following:

I. A natural person who is deceased.

II. A partnership, limited liability corporation, corporation, or any other business association that has been dissolved.

III. A person who has been lawfully and finally divested of title to the property on which the permitted activity is occurring or will occur.

IV. A person who has sold the property on which the permitted activity is occurring or will occur.

2. The successor-owner holds title to the property on which the permitted activity is occurring or will occur.

3. The successor-owner is the sole claimant of the right to engage in the permitted activity.

4. There will be no substantial change in the permitted activity.

(2) The plan holder shall comply with all terms and conditions of the plan until such time as the plan is transferred.

(3) The successor-owner shall comply with all terms and conditions of the plan once the plan has been transferred.

(4) Notwithstanding changes to law made after the original issuance of the plan, the Department may not impose new or different terms and conditions in the plan without the prior express consent of the successor-owner. Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the Commission from requiring a revised plan pursuant to G.S. 113A-54.1(b).

(e) The landowner, the financially responsible party, or the landowner's or the financially responsible party's agent shall perform an inspection of the area covered by the plan after each phase of the plan has been completed and after establishment of temporary ground cover in accordance with G.S. 113A-57(2). The person who performs the inspection shall maintain and make available a record of the inspection at the site of the land-disturbing activity. The record shall set out any significant deviation from the approved erosion control plan, identify any measures that may be required to correct the deviation, and document the completion of those measures. The record shall be maintained until permanent ground cover has been established as required by the approved erosion and sedimentation control plan. The inspections required by this subsection shall be in addition to inspections required by G.S. 113A-61.1.

(f) For land-disturbing activities on a single-family residential lot involving new construction with land disturbance of less than one acre where the builder or developer is the owner of the lot being developed and the person financially responsible for the land-disturbing activity, the financial responsibility for land-disturbing activity on that lot transfers to the new owner upon the builder's or developer's conveyance of the lot to the new owner, recording of the deed in the office of the register of deeds, and notification to the office or local program that approved the erosion control plan. (1989, c. 676, s. 2; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 776, s. 4; 1998-221, s. 1.11(a); 1999-379, s. 1; 2005-386, s. 7.1; 2006-250, s. 1; 2011-394, s. 3; 2012-143, s. 1(f); 2013-121, s. 3; 2021-121, s. 5(a).)