Communities and Waterfronts

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a LWRP?

A: A Local Waterfront Revitalization Programis a locally prepared, comprehensive land and water use program for a community's natural, public, working waterfront, and developed coastal area. It provides a comprehensive structure within which critical coastal issues can be addressed.

Q: What are the benefits of preparing a LWRP?

A: Benefits to a community preparing an LWRP include clear direction, technical assistance, State and federal consistency, and financial assistance, including State and Federal Grants. It can significantly increase a community's ability to attract private and public resources to advance a community's vision and respect the unique cultural and natural characteristics of its waterfront.

Q: How would my community go about preparing a LWRP?

A: LWRPs are prepared in partnership with the Department of State, often by consultants working for the community and overseen by a local waterfront advisory committee. A guidebook (pdf) on LWRP preparation is available on this web site.

Q: What is the Environmental Protection Fund?

A: The New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) provides a dedicated fund for environmental protection, including open space conservation, public access, historic preservation, park development, urban waterfront redevelopment, and water quality improvement projects and activities.

Q: What activities can the Department of State fund under the Environmental Protection Fund?

A: EPF grants may be used for a wide range of activities that assist a community prepare or implement their Local Waterfront Revitalization Program or other community plans.

Q: Who is eligible for EPF funding?

A: Eligibility depends on the nature of the proposed project. In general, municipalities located on the State's coastal waters or on a designated inland waterway are eligible to apply for program planning to advance any of the grant program's eligible activities. Additional information is available on the EPF page.

Q: How often are EPF grants available?

A: The Department of State issues an annual request for applications, typically announced in the late spring or early summer, with proposals due a couple of months following the announcement of the grant solicitation. Applications are solicited through the New York State Consolidated Funding Application (CFA).

Q: What is the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program?

A: The Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program, or BOA, provides financial assistance to complete area-wide approaches to brownfield redevelopment planning. Through BOA, communities will have opportunities to return dormant areas back to productive use and simultaneously restore environmental quality.

Q: What are the benefits of BOA?

A: The benefits of BOA include: addressing a range of problems posed by brownfield sites; building consensus on the future uses of strategic brownfield sites; and establishing multi-agency and private-sector partnerships necessary to leverage assistance in investments to revitalize communities.

Q: What activities are eligible for BOA funding?

A: BOA grants may be used for the preparation of BOA Pre-Nomination Studies, Nomination Studies, and Implementation Strategies with environmental site assements.

Q: Who is eligible for BOA funding?

A: Eligible applicants under the BOA program include: municipalities, community-based organizations and municipalities and community-based organizations in partnership.

Q: How can I determine if my project is in the coastal area?

A: The boundaries of the coastal area are shown on the official coastal area boundary map. This information is also available on the New York State GIS Clearinghouse.

Q: What are the State’s coastal waters and inland waterways?

A: Coastal waters and inland waterways (pdf) are defined in New York State Executive Law, Article 42, Section 911.

Q: What is consistency?

A: Consistency refers to a process to determine if an activity complies with the New York State Coastal Management Program and approved LWRPs.

Q: If my project is located in the state’s coastal area, does it need to be reviewed by the Department of State?

A: If your project requires a permit or other regulatory approval from a federal agency, or involves federal financial assistance, a consistency review by the Department of State will likely be required.

Q: What is involved in a consistency certification and obtaining a consistency determination from the Department of State prior to receiving a federal permit?

A: A copy of all federal application materials should be submitted to the Department of State at the same time they are sent to the federal permitting agency. The applicant certifies to the federal agency and the Department of State that the project complies and is consistent with the New York State Coastal Management Program (pdf) No federal agency can issue a permit for a project affecting New York’s coastal area until the Department concurs with the consistency certification.

Q: How long does the Department of State’s review of my consistency certification take?

A By federal regulation, the Department of State has six months to complete its review of a consistency certification and make a decision. If the Department has not made its decision within three months of the receipt of necessary information and start of the review, it must notify an applicant of the status of its review. Typically, most consistency reviews can be completed within one or two months.

Q: Are State agencies subject to consistency?

A: Yes, a State agency must make a determination of the consistency of proposed State agency activity prior to undertaking the action. Within a community having an approved LWRP, State agency actions must comply with that LWRP.

Q: What is a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat?

A: Throughout the coastal area, 250 important coastal habitats have been designated as Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitats. These designations and a habitat narrative for each of the designated habitats are an integral and enforceable element of State Coastal Policy 7.

Q: What is a SASS?

A: A SASS is a designated Scenic Area of Statewide Significance. A designated SASS encompasses unique landscapes which are accessible to the public and recognized for their scenic quality.

Q: How many SASS areas are there?

A: The Hudson River coastal area is the first of New York's coastal regions to have undergone a comprehensive analysis of scenic coastal resources. Six Hudson River areas have been designated as SASS.

Q: What is a Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA)?

A: To protect lives and reduce the loss of property due to coastal erosion and flooding, the State Legislature mandated that vulnerable shore areas be designated as Coastal Erosion Hazard Areas, where construction or excavation is controlled through a permit process (Article 34 of the Environmental Conservation Law). Coastal Erosion Hazard Areas have been designated in New York for the shores of Lakes Erie and Ontario, the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. Permits are administered by either the municipality, the county or the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. To find out more about how the CEHA may affect your property, contact your local planning office or the regional office of the NYSDEC.

Q: What is the Erosion Monitoring Program?

A: The Erosion Monitoring Program collects coastal processes data and information along the Atlantic coast of New York from Coney Island to Montauk Point. The data includes beach profile surveys, photographs of the beach from the air, historical information, and wave measurements. The information is available from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NY District Office, New York State Sea Grant Offices at Stony Brook, or from the Department of State, Division of Coastal Resources. Scientists, planners, regulators, and others use this information to better plan for and predict coastal conditions.