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), on a voluntary basis, by preparing and adopting local waterfront revitalization programs (LWRP) providing more detailed implementation of the State's CMP through use of existing broad powers such as zoning and site plan review. When a LWRP is approved by the New York State Secretary of State, State agencies' actions must be consistent with the approved LWRP to the maximum extent practicable. When the federal government concurs with the incorporation of a LWRP into the CMP, federal agencies’ actions must be consistent with the approved addition to the CMP.

The 19 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 a LWRP, the processes of review and approval of a LWRP, or LWRP amendments.

Preparation of a LWRP

A Local Waterfront Revitalization Program is both a plan and a program. The term refers to both a planning document prepared by a community, as well as the program established to implement the plan. The Program 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. To offer municipalities a step-by-step introduction to waterfront revitalization, the Department of State produced the Making the Most of Your Waterfront guidebook and video. To assist municipalities to redevelop abandoned buildings as part of the overall vision for their community, the Department of State created the Abandoned Buildings guidebook and video.(video link coming soon)

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, what to do with dredged materials, competition for space, 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, harbor management plans can be used to analyze and resolve these conflicts and make the most of the waterside of your waterfront.

This website also offers numerous resources necessary for the development of a LWRP, such as the Coastal Atlas as a mapping resource, the List of Coastal Waterbodies and Designated Inland Waterways, narratives describing Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitats, and Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance, management plans for major watersheds, 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 a LWRP

An adopted and approved LWRP provides the following benefits to communities who choose to become involved:

  • Clear direction - A LWRP reflects community consensus. As such, it can significantly increase a community’s ability to attract appropriate development that will respect its unique cultural and natural characteristics.

  • Technical assistance - A LWRP establishes a long-term partnership among local government, community based organizations, and the State, providing a source of technical assistance to prepare and implement a Local Program.

  • State and federal consistency - State permitting, funding, and direct actions must be consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, with an approved LWRP. Within federally defined coastal areas, federal agencies 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.

  • Financial assistance - A LWRP presents a unified vision; it therefore increases a community’s chances to obtain public and private funding for projects. Funding for both the development and implementation of Local Waterfront Revitalization Programs is available through grants from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF LWRP), among other sources.

LWRP Communities

Any village, town, or city can prepare a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. However, only communities located along a waterway designated in Executive Law are eligible for grants from the Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalizaton Program for its preparation and implementation.

Draft LWRP Review Process

After a draft LWRP is accepted by the municipality and DOS as complete, a formal review of the document is initiated by DOS to potentially affected State, federal, and local agencys in accordance with :

For wide accessibility, all draft LWRPs ready for review are made available on this website.

After the review process is completed, revisions to the LWRP are made, if necessary.

Approved LWRPs

The approval of a 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, all LWRPs adopted by the community and approved by the NYS Secretary of State, pursuant to Article 42 of the NYS Executive Law, is made available on this website.

Funding for LWRP Preparation and Implementation

The Department of State, as the administrator of the New York State Coastal Management Program, provides technical and financial assistance for the preparation and implementation of LWRP.