The purpose of this chapter is to promote, improve and safeguard the lands and waters located in the coastal areas of this state through a comprehensive and cooperative program designed to preserve, enhance and develop such valuable resources for the present and future well-being and general welfare of the citizens of this state. In promulgating such a program, the Legislature of Alabama recognizes and declares that:
(1) The coastal area is rich in a variety of natural, commercial, recreational, industrial and aesthetic resources of immediate and potential value to the present and future well-being of the state;
(2) There are increasing and competing demands upon the lands and waters of the coastal area occasioned by population growth and economic development, including requirements for industry, commerce, residential development, recreation, extraction of mineral resources and fossil fuels, transportation and navigation, waste disposal and harvesting of fish, shellfish and other living marine resources;
(3) The coastal area and the fish, shellfish, other living marine resources and wildlife therein are ecologically fragile and consequently vulnerable to destruction by man's alterations;
(4) Important ecological, cultural, historic and aesthetic values to the coastal area are essential to the well-being of all citizens;
(5) Special natural and scenic characteristics may be damaged by ill-planned development;
(6) There is a state interest in the effective administration, beneficial use, protection and development of the coastal area;
(7) In light of competing demands and the urgent need to balance development for the preservation of the natural systems in the coastal area, the key to more effective protection and use of land and water resources of the coastal area is to encourage the state to exercise its authority for improved and better methods of utilizing the lands and waters in the coastal area by developing, in cooperation with counties and municipalities and other vitally affected interests, land and water use programs for the coastal area, including unified policies, criteria, standards, methods and processes for dealing with land and water use.