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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.


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