Greece town board recently held a public hearing to consider adopting a proposed local law that would repeal and remove Chapter 83, Coastal Erosion Hazard Area, from the town code in order to authorize New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to manage coastal erosion hazard areas as prescribed by Article 34 of Environmental Conservation Law.
The proposal was brought forth at the request of the town of Greece Engineering Department. It was placed on the agenda in December 2017, setting forth a hearing to discuss the proposal.
The town engineer gave a presentation on the DEC program that regulates building activity in coastal erosion hazard areas near Lake Ontario. The program requires DEC sign-off on any regulated activity in the coastal erosion management zone. It is designed to protect fragile beaches and dunes and control building in areas vulnerable to flooding and erosion.
Current program rules require property owners to obtain permits before moving ahead with construction, grading or other disturbances of soil. The town of Greece currently administers the program within their own borders rather than leaving it to the state, though they are monitored closely by the DEC.
Supervisor Bill Reilich and the town board listened to neighbors who reside along the lake as well as lakefront neighborhood groups. Grandview Beach Neighborhood Association spoke out and shared their concerns during the hearing.
In consideration of lakefront neighbors’ concerns and the overall success the town of Greece has addressing issues in-house for residents in and around the lake, no motion was made to support the change. The current language in Chapter 83 remains in place, and no changes will be made.
“The town of Greece currently administers a state DEC program that regulates building activity in coastal erosion hazard areas near Lake Ontario” Reilich said. “If continuing to administer this program internally is a benefit to our residents, we will not be changing our practices.”
Chapter 83 states, “The town of Greece hereby assumes the responsibility to implement and administer a coastal erosion management program within its jurisdiction pursuant to Article 34 of New York State Environmental Conservation Law.
“In addition, it is the purpose of this chapter to establish standards and procedures minimizing and preventing damage to structures from coastal flooding and erosion and to protect natural and protective features and other natural resources; regulate in coastal areas subject to coastal flooding and erosion, land use and development activities so as to minimize or prevent damage or destruction to man-made property, natural protective features and other natural resources and to protect human life; regulate new construction or placement of structures in order to place them a safe distance from areas of active erosion and the impacts of coastal storms to ensure that these structures are not prematurely destroyed or damaged due to improper siting, as well as to prevent damage to natural protective features and other natural resources; restrict public investment in services, facilities or activities which are likely to encourage new permanent development in erosion hazard areas; and regulate the construction of erosion protection structures in coastal areas subject to serious erosion to assure that their construction and operation will minimize or prevent damage or destruction to structures, significant improvements to structures, property, natural protective features or other natural resources.”