The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter,
shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates
(1) Affect--As used in this subchapter regarding dunes,
dune vegetation, and the public beach, "affect" means to produce an
effect upon dunes, dune vegetation, or public beach use and access.
(2) Amenities--Any non habitable major structure including,
but not limited to, swimming pools, decks, bathhouses, detached garages,
cabanas, pipelines, piers, canals, lakes, ditches, artificial runoff
channels and other water retention structures, sidewalks, roads, streets,
highways, parking areas and other paved areas (exceeding 144 square
feet in area), underground storage tanks, and similar structures.
(3) Applicant--Any person applying to a local government
for a permit and/or certificate for any construction or development
(4) Backdunes--The dunes located landward of the foredune
ridge which are usually well vegetated but may also be unvegetated
and migratory. These dunes supply sediment to the beach after the
foredunes and the foredune ridge have been destroyed by natural or
(5) Beach access--The right to use and enjoy the public
beach, including the right of free and unrestricted ingress and egress
to and from the public beach.
(6) Beach/Dune Rules--31 TAC §§15.1 - 15.36,
31 TAC Ch. 25, 31 TAC §26.26 and 31 TAC §29.60.
(7) Beach/dune system--The land from the line of mean
low tide of the Gulf of Mexico to the landward limit of dune formation.
(8) Beach maintenance--The cleaning or removal of debris
from the beach or redistribution of seaweed on the beachfront by handpicking,
raking, or mechanical means.
(9) Beach profile--The shape and elevation of the beach
as determined by surveying a cross section of the beach.
(10) Beach-related services--Reasonable and necessary
services and facilities directly related to the public beach which
are provided to the public to ensure safe use of and access to and
from the public beach, such as vehicular controls, management, and
parking (including acquisition and maintenance of off-beach parking
and access ways); sanitation and litter control; lifeguarding and
lifesaving; beach maintenance; law enforcement; beach nourishment
projects; beach/dune system education; beach/dune protection and restoration
projects; providing public facilities such as restrooms, showers,
lockers, equipment rentals, and picnic areas; recreational and refreshment
facilities; liability insurance; and staff and personnel necessary
to provide beach-related services. Beach-related services and facilities
shall serve only those areas on or immediately adjacent to the public
(11) Beach user fee--A fee collected by a local government
in order to establish and maintain beach-related services and facilities
for the preservation and enhancement of access to and from and safe
and healthy use of public beaches by the public.
(12) Beachfront construction certificate or certificate--The
document issued by a local government that certifies that the proposed
construction either is consistent with the local government's dune
protection and beach access plan.
(13) Blowout--A breach in the dunes caused by wind
(14) Breach--A break or gap in the continuity of a
dune caused by wind or water.
(15) Bulkhead--A structure or partition built to retain
or prevent the sliding of land. A secondary purpose is to protect
the upland against damage from wave action.
(16) Coastal and shore protection project--A project
designed to slow shoreline erosion or enhance shoreline stabilization,
including, but not limited to, erosion response structures, beach
nourishment, sediment bypassing, construction of man-made vegetated
mounds, and dune revegetation.
(17) Coastal public land--Has the meaning assigned
by Texas Natural Resource Code, §33.004.
(18) Commercial facility--Any structure used for providing,
distributing, and selling goods or services in commerce including,
but not limited to, hotels, restaurants, bars, rental operations,
and rental properties.
(19) Construction--Causing or carrying out any building,
bulkheading, filling, clearing, excavation, or substantial improvement
to or alteration of land or the size of any structure, or removal
or demolition of a structure. "Building" includes, but is not limited
to, all related site work and placement of construction materials
on the site. "Filling" includes, but is not limited to, disposal of
dredged materials. "Excavation" includes, but is not limited to, removal
or alteration of dunes and dune vegetation and scraping, grading,
or dredging a site. "Substantial improvements to or alteration of
land or the size of any structure" include, but are not limited to,
creation of vehicular or pedestrian trails, landscape work and fencing
(that may adversely affect public access, dunes or dune vegetation),
and increasing the size of any structure.
(20) Coppice mounds--The initial stages of dune growth
formed as sand accumulates on the downwind side of plants and other
obstructions on or immediately adjacent to the beach seaward of the
foredunes. Coppice mounds may be unvegetated.
(21) Critical dune areas--Those portions of the beach/dune
system as designated by the General Land Office that are located within
1,000 feet of mean high tide of the Gulf of Mexico that contain dunes
and dune complexes that are essential to the protection of public
beaches, submerged land, and state-owned land, such as public roads
and coastal public lands, from nuisance, erosion, storm surge, and
high wind and waves. Critical dune areas include, but are not limited
to, the dunes that store sand in the beach/dune system to replenish
eroding public beaches.
(22) Cumulative impact--The effect on beach use and
access, on a critical dune area, or an area seaward of the dune protection
line which results from the incremental effect of an action when added
to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions
regardless of what agency or person undertakes such other actions.
Cumulative effects can result from individually minor but collectively
significant actions taking place over a period of time.
(23) Dedication--Includes, but is not limited to, a
restrictive covenant, permanent easement, and fee simple donation.
(24) Dune--An emergent mound, hill, or ridge of sand,
either bare or vegetated, located on land bordering the waters of
the Gulf of Mexico. Dunes are naturally formed by the windward transport
of sediment, but can also be created via man-made vegetated mounds.
Natural dunes are usually found adjacent to the uppermost limit of
wave action and are usually marked by an abrupt change in slope landward
of the dry beach. The term includes coppice mounds, foredunes, dunes
comprising the foredune ridge, backdunes, and man-made vegetated mounds.
(25) Dune complex or dune area--Any emergent area adjacent
to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico in which several types of dunes
are found or in which dunes have been established by proper management
of the area. In some portions of the Texas coast, dune complexes contain
depressions known as swales.
(26) Dune Protection Act--Texas Natural Resources Code, §§63.001,
(27) Dune protection and beach access plan or plan--A
local government's legally enforceable program, policies, and procedures
for protecting dunes and dune vegetation and for preserving and enhancing
use of and access to and from public beaches, and for reducing public
expenditures for erosion and storm damage losses, as required by Texas
Natural Resources Code Chapters 61 and 63 and Texas Natural Resources
(28) Dune protection line--A line established by a
county commissioners court or the governing body of a municipality
for the purpose of preserving, at a minimum, all critical dune areas
identified by the General Land Office pursuant to the Dune Protection
Act, §63.011, and §15.3(f) of this title (relating to Administration).
A municipality is not authorized to establish a dune protection line
unless the authority to do so has been delegated to the municipality
by the county in which the municipality is located. Such lines will
be located no farther than 1,000 feet landward of the mean high tide
of the Gulf of Mexico.
(29) Dune protection permit or permit--The document
issued by a local government to authorize construction or other regulated
activities in a specified location seaward of a dune protection line
or within a critical dune area, as provided in the Texas Natural Resources
(30) Dune vegetation--Flora indigenous to natural dune
complexes, and growing on naturally-formed dunes or man-made vegetated
mounds on the Texas coast and can include coastal grasses and herbaceous
and woody plants.
(31) Effect or effects--"Effects" include: direct effects--those
impacts on public beach use and access, on critical dune areas, or
on dunes and dune vegetation seaward of a dune protection line which
are caused by an action and occur at the same time and place; and
indirect effects--those impacts on beach use and access, on critical
dune areas, or on dunes and dune vegetation seaward of a dune protection
line which are caused by an action and are later in time or farther
removed in distance than a direct effect, but are still reasonably
foreseeable. Indirect effects may include growth inducing effects
and other effects related to induced changes in the pattern of land
use, population density, or growth rate, and related effects on air
and water and other natural systems, including ecosystems. "Effects"
and "impacts" as used in this subchapter are synonymous. "Effects"
may be ecological (such as the effects on natural resources and on
the components, structures, and functioning of affected ecosystems),
aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, social, or health, whether
direct, indirect, or cumulative.
(32) Eroding area--A portion of the shoreline which
is experiencing an historical erosion rate of greater than two feet
per year based on published data of the University of Texas at Austin,
Bureau of Economic Geology. Local governments may establish an "eroding
area boundary" in beach/dune plans; this boundary shall be whichever
distance landward of the line of vegetation is greater: 200 feet,
or the distance determined by multiplying 50 years by the annual historical
erosion rate (based on the most recent data published by the University
of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology).
(33) Erosion--The wearing away of land or the removal
of beach and/or dune sediments by wave action, tidal currents, wave
currents, drainage, or wind. Erosion includes, but is not limited
to, horizontal recession and scour and can be induced or aggravated
by human activities.
(34) Erosion response structure--A hard or rigid structure
built for shoreline stabilization which includes, but is not limited
to, a jetty, groin, breakwater, bulkhead, seawall, riprap, rubble
mound, revetment, or the foundation of a structure which is the functional
equivalent of these specified structures.
(35) FEMA--The United States Federal Emergency Management
Agency. This agency administers the National Flood Insurance Program
and publishes the official flood insurance rate maps.
(36) Fibercrete--Unreinforced concrete, consisting
of a combination of pulped paper, or other cellulose-based raw material,
and binders such as lime, cement, and/or clay.
(37) Foredune ridge--The high continuous line of dunes
which are usually well vegetated and rise sharply landward of the
foredune area but may also rise directly from a flat, wave-cut beach
immediately after a storm.
(38) Foredunes--The first clearly distinguishable,
usually vegetated, stabilized large dunes encountered landward of
the Gulf of Mexico. On some portions of the Texas Gulf Coast, foredunes
may also be large, unvegetated, and unstabilized. Although they may
be large and continuous, foredunes are typically hummocky and discontinuous
and may be interrupted by breaches and washover areas. Foredunes offer
the first significant means of dissipating storm-generated wave and
current energy issuing from the Gulf of Mexico. Because various heights
and configurations of dunes may perform this function, no standardized
physical description applies. Foredunes are distinguishable from surrounding
dune types by their relative location and physical appearance.
(39) Habitable structure footprint--The area of a lot
covered by a structure used or usable for habitation. The habitable
structure footprint does not include uncovered stairs and decks, incidental
projecting eaves, balconies, ground-level paving, landscaping, open
recreational facilities (for example, pools and tennis courts), or
other similar features.
(40) Habitable structures--Structures suitable for
human habitation including, but not limited to, single or multi-family
residences, hotels, condominium buildings, and commercial facilities.
Each building of a condominium regime is considered a separate habitable
structure, but if a building is divided into apartments, then the
entire building, not the individual apartments, is considered a single
habitable structure. Additionally, a habitable structure includes
porches or gazebos, and other attached improvements.