Division of Planning

Local Waterfront Revitalization Program

Legislative Context

The Waterfront Revitalization of Coastal Areas and Inland Waterways Act offers local governments the opportunity to participate in the State's Coastal Management Program (CMP) (pdf) on a voluntary basis by preparing and adopting a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP), providing more detailed implementation of the State's CMP through use of such existing broad powers as zoning and site plan review. When an LWRP is approved by the New York State Secretary of State, State agency actions are required to be consistent with the approved LWRP to the maximum extent practicable. When the federal government concurs with the incorporation of an LWRP into the CMP, federal agency actions must be consistent with the approved addition to the CMP.

Title 19 of NYCRR Part 600, 601, 602, and 603 provide the rules and regulations that implement each of the provisions of the Waterfront Revitalization of Coastal Areas and Inland Waterways Act including but not limited to the required content of an LWRP, the processes of review and approval of an LWRP, and LWRP amendments.

Preparation of an LWRP

A Local Waterfront Revitalization Program consists of a planning document prepared by a community, and the program established to implement the plan. An LWRP may be comprehensive and address all issues that affect a community's entire waterfront, or it may address the most critical issues facing a significant portion of its waterfront.

An LWRP follows a step-by-step process by which a community can advance community planning from a vision to implementation, which is described in the Making the Most of Your Waterfront Guidebook (pdf) and video developed by the Department of State. Additionally, the Opportunities Waiting to Happen Guidebook (pdf), developed by the Department of State, provides help to assist all New Yorkers to redevelop abandoned buildings as part of the overall vision for their community.

In addition to landward development, water uses are subject to an ever-increasing array of use conflicts. These include conflicts between passive and active types of recreation, between commercial and recreational uses, and between all uses and the natural resources of a harbor. Increases in recreational boating, changes in waterfront uses, coastal hazards, what to do with dredged materials, competition for space, climate change, and multiple regulating authorities, all make effective harbor management complex. These conflicts and a lack of clear authority to solve them have resulted in degraded natural and cultural characteristics of many harbors, and their ability to support a range of appropriate uses. As part of an LWRP, a harbor management plan can be used to analyze and resolve these conflicts and issues.

This website also offers numerous resources necessary for the development of an LWRP, such as the mapping resource, including the NYS Coastal Boundary Map and the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Atlas: Data Viewer, the List of Coastal Waterbodies and Designated Inland Waterways (pdf), narratives describing Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitats, and Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance, watershed management plans, guidelines for the preparation of harbor management plans (pdf) and the state and federal regulations that are the basis for the development, review, and approval of the LWRP. 

Benefits of an LWRP

An approved LWRP reflects community consensus and provides a clear direction for appropriate future development. It establishes a long-term partnership among local government, community-based organizations, and the State. Also, funding to advance preparation, refinement, or implementation of Local Waterfront Revitalization Programs is available under Title 11 of the New York State Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (EPF LWRP) among other sources.

In addition, State permitting, funding, and direct actions must be consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, with an approved LWRP. Within the federally defined coastal area, federal agency activities are also required to be consistent with an approved LWRP. This “consistency” provision is a strong tool that helps ensure all government levels work in unison to build a stronger economy and a healthier environment.

LWRP Communities

Any village, town, or city located along the State's coast or designated inland waterway (pdf) can prepare a new, or amend an existing Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. Municipalities are encouraged to address local revitalization issues in a broader context, aligned with regional economic development strategies and regional resource protection and management programs.

Draft LWRP Review Process

After a Draft LWRP has been accepted by the municipality and the Department of State (DOS) as complete, a formal public review of the document is initiated by DOS to potentially affected State, federal, and local agencies in accordance with:

For wide accessibility, all Draft LWRPs that are ready for review are posted. After the review process is completed, necessary revisions to the LWRP are made.

Approved LWRPs

The approval of an LWRP is a three tier process involving adoption by the municipality, approval by the Secretary of State pursuant to the Waterfront Revitalization of Coastal Areas and Inland Waterways Act, and, for municipalities within the state’s coastal area, concurrence by OCRM on its incorporation into the CMP.

For wide accessibility, we post all LWRPs approved by the NYS Secretary of State pursuant to Article 42 of the NYS Executive Law.

LWRP Monitoring and Evaluation

In order to provide the opportunity for coastal communities with approved LWRPs to strengthen their abilities and capacities to manage the responsibilities associated with LWRPs, the Office of Planning and Development conducts annual monitoring and evaluation of a set of coastal communities with approved LWRPs. The process is concluded with a written report including a summary of findings and recommendations for improvement, training, or the need for an LWRP amendment.