Onslow County Comprehensive Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

The Comprehensive Plan represents the community's collective vision for the future. The Plan is a policy document which will provide a long-range strategic vision and direction to serve as a blueprint for the County over the next 10 to 20 years. Typically, plans include local policies that address growth issues such as the protection of productive resources, desired types of economic development, prioritization of natural resource protection, and the reduction of storm hazards. Change is inevitable, therefore it is important for the community to plan for growth and development to ensure the greatest outcome. 

What is a CAMA Plan?

As Onslow County is a coastal community, the State's Coastal Area Management Act requires it to have a local land use plan in accordance with guidelines established by the Coastal Resources Commission (15A-NCAC 07B). CAMA is an acronym for the North Carolina Coastal Area Management Act (NCGS 113A-100, et seq.), which establishes a cooperative program of coastal area management between local and state governments. The Act, originally passed in 1974 and since amended, aims to protect the unique natural resources of the North Carolina Coastal areas. There are 20 CAMA counties in North Carolina which are subject to the CAMA rules. CAMA establishes the Coastal Resources Commission within the Department of Environmental Quality, whose duties include approval of comprehensive land use plans in coastal communities.The CRC establishes guidelines which provide a common format for each plan and a set of issues that must be considered during the process; however, the policies included in plans are those of the local government.

Why is the Onslow County developing a Comprehensive Plan now?

In 2019 North Carolina passed General Statue 160D, which required cities and counties to consolidate development regulations and update existing standards. The County adopted a new zoning oridance in 2020 and now needs an updated Comprehensive Plan to meet these requirements. 

How will the Plan effect the County?

While not a legally binding “ordinance” in the degree of authority conferred by the adopted plan, the Plan does inform land use and development ordinances, particularly as the Planning Board and Board of County Commission carry out their duties in guiding and facilitating the growth of the county.  The Plan also provides elected officials, appointed boards, and staff direction as they develop, prioritize, budget for, and implement projects, programs, and policies over the next 10 years.