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TITLE 31NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION
PART 1GENERAL LAND OFFICE
CHAPTER 15COASTAL AREA PLANNING
SUBCHAPTER AMANAGEMENT OF THE BEACH/DUNE SYSTEM
RULE §15.2Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  (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 plan.

  (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 human activities.

  (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 beach.

  (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 erosion.

  (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, et seq.

  (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 Code §33.607.

  (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 Code, §63.051.

  (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.

Cont'd...

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