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Coastal Erosion Management Permits: Application Procedures

There are 86 coastal communities in NYS that currently fall under Coastal Erosion Management Permit jurisdiction. The law allows local communities to administer their own Coastal Erosion Management Permit program. 42 communities have been certified by DEC and have their own coastal erosion hazard law. The other 44 communities are managed by DEC.

DEC issued Coastal Erosion Management Permits

Standards for issuing a Coastal Erosion Management Permit are:

  • The proposed activity is reasonable and necessary, considering reasonable alternatives to the proposed activity, and the need of the proposed activity to have a shoreline location;
  • The proposed activity will not be likely to cause a measurable increase in erosion at the proposed site or at other locations; and
  • The proposed activity prevents, if possible, or minimizes adverse effects on:
    • natural protective features and their functions and protective values as described in section 505.3 of this Part;
    • existing erosion protection structures; and
    • or natural resources, including, but not limited to significant fish and wildlife habitats and shellfish beds.

The permit process and estimated time frame for DEC review adhere to UPA guidelines.

What activities or uses are regulated within the coastal erosion hazard areas?

There are a number of activities and uses that are restricted (Part 505.7 and 505.8), prohibited or require a permit with coastal hazard areas.

Application Checklist For Coastal Erosion Management

Please also review the NYSDEC Coastal Erosion Management Application Checklist (PDF) (208 KB) to ensure that all the required technical information needed to make a determination on your permit is included in your application package.

Required items include:

  1. The Joint Application Form (PDF) (543 KB) and Instructions for completing the Joint Application Form (PDF) (301 KB) are available on the Department's website page.
  2. The Permission to Inspect Property Form (PDF) (13 KB) is available on the Department's website page.
  3. Location Map. A US Geological Survey (USGS) Quadrangle Map, or equivalent, identifying the project location.
  4. Refer to the NYSDEC Coastal Erosion Management Application Checklist (PDF) (208 KB), available on the Department's website page to determine additional information required for project.
  5. Environmental Assessment Form (EAF).
    • In accordance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), an application is not complete until a properly completed environmental assessment form has been submitted, a lead agency has been established, and a negative declaration or a conditional negative declaration has been filed or a draft environmental impact statement has been accepted by the lead agency.
    • Refer to the Department's SEQR website page for additional information on environmental impact assessment.
    • SEQR Forms are available on the Department's website page.
      • If the project is an Unlisted Action, submit a completed Part 1 of a Short Environmental Assessment Form.
      • If the project is a Type 1 Action, submit a completed Part 1 of a Full Environmental Assessment Form.
  6. Structural / Archeological Assessment Form (SAAF).
    • In accordance with the State Historic Preservation Act (SHPA), the application is not complete until a determination has been made concerning the impact of the project on properties listed on or eligible for listing on the State or National Register of Historic Places.
    • Submit a completed Structural Archeological Assessment Form (PDF) (906 KB), available on the Department's website page. In some cases, a cultural resource survey, including a field study of archeological or historic features may be needed.

Regulatory Procedures

Prior to issuing a Coastal Erosion Management Permit for a regulated activity undertaken by a State agency within a local government jurisdiction having a local program, the department must first make a finding that the standards, restrictions and requirements of the local program, adopted pursuant to section 34-0108 of the act, have been met.

Uniform Procedures Act governs the department's procedures for the issuance, modification, renewal, suspension and revocation of coastal erosion management permits.

All regulated activities are subject to the review procedures required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law. The applicant may be required to submit information necessary for compliance with SEQR in addition to information required to apply for a coastal erosion management permit.

A Coastal Erosion Management Permit may be issued with such terms and conditions as are necessary to ensure compliance with the policies and provisions of SEQR and the coastal erosion management permit.

A Coastal Erosion Management Permit issued does not relieve the permit applicant from the responsibility of obtaining other permits or approvals as may be necessary, nor does it convey any rights or interest in real property.

Where more than one regulatory agency has jurisdiction of a coastal erosion management activity, the application review process and hearing process must be consolidated and coordinated as required by sections 34-0105(6), 34-0106(9) and 34-0107(6) of the act, upon request of the applicant.

Are variances allowed?

Variances may be applied in the following circumstances:

When an applicant can demonstrate that the strict application of the restrictions or requirements of sections 505.7, 505.8, or 505.9 of this Part will cause practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship, any such restriction or requirement may be varied or modified. First, the practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship must be explained in detail, and then the following criteria must be met:

  1. no reasonable, prudent, alternative site is available;
  2. all responsible means and measures to mitigate adverse impacts on natural systems and the functions and protective values described in section 505.3 of this Part have been incorporated into the project design and will be implemented at the developer's expense;
  3. the development will be reasonably safe from flood and erosion damage;
  4. the variance requested is the minimum necessary to overcome the practical difficulty or hardship which was the basis for requesting it; and
  5. where public funds are utilized, the public benefits clearly outweigh the long-term adverse effects for any proposed activities and development.

Any person wishing to make a request for a variance must do so in writing. The variance request must specify the standard, restriction or requirement to be varied and how the requested variance meets the criteria established in 1-5 listed above. The burden of demonstrating that the requested variance meets these criteria rests entirely with the applicant.

The Regional Permit Administrator may on his own motion treat an application for a permit as a request for a variance and may request from the applicant the information required to do so.