EAST HAMPTON COASTAL LEGISLATION
The proposed Town of East Hampton Coastal Legislation has passed!
The Town of East Hampton is working on draft legislation that would codify the recommendations of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and establish a Coastal Erosion Overlay District. The Town is proposing four separate zones in the Coastal Erosion Overlay District. Zone 1 includes all ocean front properties, and Zones 2-4 include bay front properties with varying degrees of hardened shoreline. The proposed coastal legislation sets restrictions on hard erosion control structures for each zone. If passed, no new structures, including jetties, bulkheads and revetments, could be constructed on the Town’s ocean beaches.
The legislation set very strict standards for obtaining a variance or an emergency permit to save structures from erosion. While the chapter was first wary of any language that would allow a variance, the Town attorneys have assured us that an outright ban would not be defensible in court. The legislation also defines the conditions under which coastal structures can be rebuilt in place and when they need to be moved back from the dunes. UPDATE: The Full LWRP can be viewed here.The part concerning seawalls is Roman Numeral 5, (V) in the document linked above, look at pages 385 to 400 and Policies 13, through Policy 17.
A public hearing was held in August, 2006. Members of the Surfrider ELI Chapter were joined by the Nature Conservancy, Group for the South Fork, and Concerned Citizens of Montauk in speaking out in support of this legislation. Most comments against the proposed law were made by bay front property owners who felt that they should be reassigned to a different zone. Read the comments submitted by the ELI Chapter.
Since the public hearing the Town has been preparing their response to public comment. The technical language in the proposed legislation is being clarified, and the petitions of individual property owners are being investigated to prepare for possible litigation. This important coastal legislation seems to have the support of the Town Board, who will hopefully be voting on it sometime this spring.
Our chapter is watching this legislative process closely and will let our members know if there are any future opportunities for the public to show their support.