Village of Sands Point, NY
Nassau County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Sands Point 1-14-1998 by L.L. No. 1-1998. This local law supersedes former Ch. 70, Docks and Floats, adopted 3-28-1995 by L.L. No. 4-1995. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Boating — See Ch. 49.
Coastal erosion hazard areas — See Ch. 66.
Environmental quality review — See Ch. 76.
Fees and deposits — See Ch. 82.
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§ 70-1 Legislative findings; intent.

A. 
The Board of Trustees is concerned that the indiscriminate placement of docks, including structures, fixtures or mechanisms appurtenant thereto, such as boat lifts, support piles and the waters off the village coastline may impact the environmentally sensitive coastal areas and may otherwise be of danger to people walking the coastline and people and vessels using the coastal waters within the village. The Board finds that some level of uniformity in the placement, construction and maintenance of docks within the village is necessary and desirable in order to properly protect both the environmentally sensitive coastal areas and the rights and interests of the village residents and the public at large.
B. 
The Board of Trustees also finds that, because docks, including structures, fixtures or mechanisms appurtenant thereto, can be seen from adjacent properties and upon waters within the village, they may impact the scenic and aesthetic values and the physical and visual qualities of the environment and properties within the village. This is particularly true with respect to boats lifts and other similar structures and mechanisms which are used not only to raise, but to store, boats above the water surface.
C. 
The Board of Trustees further recognizes and finds that it and other governmental authorities are obligated to preserve and protect the coastal areas and waters within the village.
D. 
Accordingly, it is the intent of this chapter to regulate the construction and maintenance of docks, including structures, fixtures or mechanisms appurtenant thereto, such as boat lifts, support piles and mooring piles, in a manner that will preserve and protect the coastal areas and waters within the village as well as the scenic and aesthetic values and the physical and visual qualities of the environment and properties within the village, and otherwise promote the health, safety and general welfare of the village and its residents.

§ 70-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following words or phrases shall have the following meaning:
BOATHOUSE
A roofed accessory structure, sometimes located at the seaward end of a dock or float, used to protect vessels or other watercraft from the weather.
BOAT LIFT
A structure or mechanism used to raise and/or store a vessel or other watercraft above the water surface. A boat lift may not be constructed or installed unless it is approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals in accordance with § 70-13 hereof.
BULKHEAD
Any structure, except a building, positioned parallel to the shore, the primary function of which is to retain soil or other material from eroding into a waterway or to protect the land from wave damage.
DATUM PLANE
The mean sea level or average height of the sea in accordance with Nassau County Datum.
DOCK
Any permanent or seasonal structure extending over the water's surface designed to secure vessels and/or provide access from the shore to a body of water. The term shall include fixed docks, floating docks, ramps and floats, and all structures, fixtures or mechanisms appurtenant thereto, such as boat lifts, support piles and mooring piles.
EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE WORK
Repairs which must be undertaken immediately in order to protect life or property from the immediate and imminent threat of fire, flood, storm or other natural disaster. Repairs that include enlarging or extending an existing structure shall require a permit and shall not constitute emergency maintenance work. Any form of dredging or depositing of material shall not be considered emergency maintenance work and shall require a permit.
FIXED DOCK
A dock that is generally anchored, on pilings, to the underwater land, and that allows for the flow of water beneath the decking.
FLOAT
Any structure, buoyant on the water surface, extending seaward affixed and secured in place to the shore, a bulkhead, a dock or piling, whose purpose is to berth and secure vessels and provide a means of access to and from the shore. The term "float" includes a floating dock.
MEAN HIGH-WATER LINE
The mean height of tidal high waters averaged over a period of 19 years based upon readings from gauging stations maintained by the United States Department of Commerce, National Ocean Survey.
MOORING PILE
A pole or post not connected or attached in any way to a dock or any structure, fixture or mechanism appurtenant thereto, which is secured to the underwater land and protruding above the water surface, the principal purpose of which is to secure a vessel.
NAVIGABLE WATER
Water having a depth of at least four feet at mean low water as defined by Nassau County Datum.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association or other entity.
RAMP
A structure used to gain access from a bulkhead, dock or platform to a float. The term "ramp" shall include a floating ramp.
SUPPORT PILE
A pole or post, secured to underwater land and protruding above the water surface, the principal purpose of which is to secure a fixed or floating dock, ramp or float, or any structure, fixture or mechanism.
UPLAND
Area landward of the mean high-water line as defined by Nassau County Datum.

§ 70-3 Applicability.

This chapter shall apply to all areas of the waters within the jurisdiction of the Incorporated Village of Sands Point.

§ 70-4 Permit required.

A. 
No dock, or structure, fixture or mechanism appurtenant thereto, such as a boat lift, shall be constructed, erected, enlarged, installed, altered, reconstructed or maintained on any waterfront property or in or upon any body of water adjacent thereto without a permit issued by the Building Department. Said permit shall not be issued without the prior written approval of the Board of Zoning Appeals evidencing that the application has been reviewed and approved by said Board.
B. 
No permit shall be required for the performance of ordinary repairs.

§ 70-5 Preexisting structures.

Existing docks constructed or installed prior to the adoption of L.L. No. 4-1995[1] shall be exempted from the requirements of this chapter for a period of three years from the adoption of L.L. No. 4-1995. On or before the third anniversary of the adoption of L.L. No. 4-1995, the owner of an existing dock constructed or installed prior to the adoption of L.L. No. 4-1995, shall apply for, and obtain, a permit in accordance with § 70-20 hereof.
[1]
Editor's Note: Local Law No. 4-1995, which was adopted 3-28-1995, was previously included in this Chapter 70.

§ 70-6 Jurisdiction of the Board of Zoning Appeals.

A. 
The Board of Zoning Appeals shall have jurisdiction over all applications for permits issued pursuant to this chapter.
B. 
The Board of Zoning Appeals shall also have jurisdiction to consider applications for variances from the requirements of this chapter.

§ 70-7 Application process for permit for construction or reconstruction; filing fees and deposits.

A. 
A request for a permit for the construction or reconstruction of a structure pursuant to this chapter shall be made in writing on forms provided by the Village Clerk and shall be accompanied by the required fees and deposits as set forth in Chapter 82 of the Village Code.
B. 
The application shall be executed and filed by the owner of improved residential property immediately abutting the mean high-water mark at the place where the dock is proposed to be constructed or reconstructed.
C. 
The application shall be accompanied by a complete set of plans and specifications prepared by a registered professional engineer licensed by the State of New York. The location of the proposed structure shall be clearly indicated on the plans. The location of any docks and/or floats on adjoining properties shall also be shown on site plan drawn to scale. Underwater soundings in the area of the proposed dock and float shall be undertaken and shown on the plans.
D. 
The application shall be accompanied by an affidavit by the owner/applicant that there is no prior unpermitted construction on the proposed site. Any such unpermitted construction or prior applications shall be fully disclosed in the affidavit. The Village Clerk may reject any application which is not accompanied by the appropriate affidavit. A decision of the Village Clerk to reject any application which is not accompanied by the appropriate affidavit may be appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
E. 
The application shall be accompanied by a Full Environmental Assessment Form.

§ 70-8 Compliance with SEQRA.

A. 
The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and Chapter 76 of the Village Code, entitled "Environmental Quality Review," shall be adhered to in the issuance of all permits.
B. 
Any structure covered by this chapter situated in an area designated as a critical environmental area shall be automatically classified as a "Type I action" as that term is defined in SEQRA. (See Part 617 of Title 6 NYCRR.)

§ 70-9 Compliance with village's Coastal Erosion Hazard Areas Law.

The Village's Coastal Erosion Hazard Areas Law (Chapter 66 of the Village Code) shall be adhered to in the issuance of a permit pursuant to this chapter.

§ 70-10 Compliance with the state and federal laws, rules and regulations.

It shall be applicant's sole responsibility to fully comply with the requirements of all governmental agencies having regulatory jurisdiction, including but not limited to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. That is, no provision of this chapter shall relieve a person from complying with the provisions of any applicable federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations which may be in addition to the requirements, rules and regulations set forth herein.

§ 70-11 Standards and regulations.

No dock shall be constructed, erected, enlarged, installed, altered or reconstructed, unless it shall comply with the following standards and regulations:
A. 
There shall be only one dock per improved building lot. There shall be only one float per improved building lot. Either or both shall be used exclusively for recreational, noncommercial purposes and shall be considered accessory structures to the principal dwelling and shall be included in the calculation of combined coverage of a lot, as if they were located on the ground and within the footprint.
B. 
The improved building lot from which a dock shall extend shall have a minimum of 75 feet of shoreline frontage.
C. 
A dock or float shall be setback from a side property line or its seaward extension a distance equal to 1/3 of the shoreline frontage of the improved building lot or 30 feet, whichever is greater.
D. 
The maximum overall length of a dock shall not exceed a length greater than required to reach navigable water depth or 200 feet measured from the mean high-water line to the seaward terminus of a dock, whichever is less, subject to the rights of the public, if any, for the use of underwater lands to obtain natural resources and use of waterways for navigation, recreation and swimming. Notwithstanding the above, the seaward terminus of a dock shall not extend to within a distance of 50 feet of any federally or locally designated channel, vessel accessway, fairway or anchorage.
E. 
A dock or float shall be made of wood or other suitable material approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals. Planking shall be spaced with one-half-inch gaps. No solid decks shall be permitted. Any wood timbers or pilings used in the construction of the dock or float that are treated with preservatives shall be approved by the Village Engineer prior to use.
F. 
A dock shall be no wider than six feet at any point, except that the float portion may be no wider than 12 feet. A float shall be located to the seaward end of a dock and shall be no larger than 300 square feet in total area.
G. 
The introduction of pilings into underwater lands or intertidal or supratidal areas shall be done in such a time and manner as to minimize:
(1) 
Impact to marine and terrestrial wildlife and vegetation.
(2) 
Turbidity resulting from suspension and resuspension of organic and inorganic materials.
H. 
A float may be oriented either in line with the dock or in an "L" or "T" configuration. No float shall rest on any underwater lands during ebb or mean low water or on any intertidal, tidal or subtidal vegetation.
I. 
The decking of the dock shall not be more than eight feet above mean high water. The decking of a float shall not be more than 18 inches above the calm, wave-free water level.
J. 
Lighting on any dock shall be of a type which will not be confused with navigation lighting, shall meet United States Coast Guard standards and shall not produce offensive glare when viewed from land or water.
K. 
A short ramp or stairway leading from a pile or structurally supported landing is permissible if it is necessary to provide access from above a seawall, cliff or other elevation. The landing shall not be greater than eight feet wide and eight feet long and shall be built as close as possible to the cliff, wall and elevation.
L. 
No dock shall be permitted if, in the judgment of the Board of Zoning Appeals, it would unreasonably impede, obstruct or interfere with navigation, the rights of adjoining property owners, the public use of or passage along the foreshore or the waterway or significantly damage the environment.

§ 70-12 Variances.

A. 
If a proposed dock does not comply with this chapter in some respect, the Board of Zoning Appeals may grant a variance and direct that such permit be issued, if it determines that, on balance, the benefit to the owner/applicant outweighs the detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood or community by such grant. In making this determination, the Board shall consider:
(1) 
Whether an undesirable change will be produced in the character of the surrounding area or a detriment to nearby properties will be created by the granting of the proposed variance;
(2) 
Whether the benefit sought by the owner/applicant can be achieved by some method, feasible for the owner/applicant to pursue, other than the proposed variance;
(3) 
Whether the proposed variance is substantial;
(4) 
Whether, and to what extent, the proposed variance will have a substantial adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions of the surrounding area; and
(5) 
Whether the practical difficulty or hardship which forms the basis for the proposed variance was self-created; however, a finding that the need for the proposed variance was self-created shall not preclude the granting of the proposed variance.
B. 
The Board of Zoning Appeals, in the granting of variances, shall grant the minimum variance that it shall deem necessary and adequate.

§ 70-13 Approval of boat lifts.

A boat lift may not be constructed, erected, enlarged, installed, altered or reconstructed, unless the Board of Zoning Appeals affirmatively finds:
A. 
That the proposed boat lift will not have a substantial adverse effect or impact on the character of the surrounding area or the scenic and visual qualities of nearby properties;
B. 
That the proposed boat lift will not have a substantial adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions of the surrounding area;
C. 
That the benefit sought by the owner/applicant cannot be achieved by some method, feasible for the owner/applicant to pursue, other than the proposed boat lift; and
D. 
That the approval of the proposed boat lift is consistent with the good order, peace, health, safety and general welfare of the village and its residents.

§ 70-14 Authority to impose conditions.

The Board of Zoning Appeals may impose reasonable conditions and restrictions as are directly related to and incidental to the construction or installation and proposed use of a dock and structures, fixtures or mechanisms appurtenant thereto. Such conditions shall be consistent with the spirit and intent of this chapter, and shall be imposed for the purpose of minimizing any adverse impact a dock, and structures, fixtures or mechanisms appurtenant thereto, may have on the surrounding area.

§ 70-15 Maintenance of structures.

A. 
An owner, who shall erect, cause to be erected or maintain any dock or float pursuant to this chapter shall keep such dock or float in good repair and condition at all times so that it will not become a menace to navigation, to persons using the same or to the environment, and he shall maintain in force the insurance required by § 70-17 hereof. In addition, the owner shall at all times ensure that the dock or float is maintained in a structurally sound manner such that it will not present a physical danger or threat of harm to persons or property.
B. 
Where the Building Commissioner determines that there has been a violation of Subsection A hereof, he shall cause a notice to be issued to the owner. Said notice shall:
(1) 
Inform said owner that there is a violation of Subsection A hereof.
(2) 
Specify the nature of such violation.
(3) 
Inform said owner that should he disagree with the conclusion of the Building Commissioner as to the violation, he shall have 21 days from the mailing of the notice to request a hearing of the matter before the Village Board of Zoning Appeals.
(4) 
Inform said owner that if he fails to cure the violation within 21 days of the mailing of the notice, the Building Department may either perform the work required or cause it to be performed to cure the violation or may remove or cause the dock to be removed. The notice shall further state that the costs of curing the violation shall be the sole expense of the owner.
C. 
Any notice required pursuant to this chapter shall be given as follows:
(1) 
By personal delivery to the owner; or
(2) 
By delivery to a person of suitable age and discretion at the dwelling place of the owner; or
(3) 
By certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the owner at his last known address, as the same appears on the assessment rolls of the village.
D. 
In the event that the owner appeals the determination of the Building Commissioner that the dock is in violation of Subsection A hereof, to the Board of Zoning Appeals, said appeal shall be made in writing on forms supplied by the Village Clerk. In such event, the Board of Zoning Appeals shall conduct a hearing of which the owner and the adjoining property owners shall be given 10 days' notice by the Village Clerk. Prior to the hearing, the Board of Zoning Appeals may require that an Assistant Building Inspector and/or the Village Engineer inspect said dock or float and report his findings to the Board.
E. 
In the event that the Board of Zoning Appeals finds that said dock or float has not been kept in good repair and condition at all times such that it has become a menace to navigation, to persons using the waters or to the environment and/or finds that the dock is not being maintained in a structurally sound manner such that it will not cause physical danger to persons or property, the Board may revoke such permit and direct the removal of the structure.

§ 70-16 Emergency maintenance.

A. 
Emergency maintenance work to be performed by the owner of an existing structure, shall be authorized by the Building Commissioner or his designee within the Building Department without the need for prior review by the Board of Zoning Appeals.
B. 
The owner shall submit a letter to the Building Department describing the work to be performed and the urgency of performing it without the reviews and safeguards provided by this chapter. Within 30 days of the authorization to proceed with emergency maintenance work, the owner shall apply to the village for a modification of the dock or float permit to reflect the emergency maintenance work performed.
C. 
Repairs that include enlarging or extending an existing structure shall require a permit. Any form of dredging or depositing of material shall not be considered an emergency and shall require a permit.

§ 70-17 Protection of village from liability.

[Amended 7-28-1998 by L.L. No. 8-1998]
A. 
Prior to the issuance of a permit, the applicant shall agree, in writing, to indemnify and hold the Incorporated Village of Sands Point harmless against any claim of liability or loss, including the cost of defense, for personal injury or property damage resulting from, caused by or relating to a permitted structure, except, however, such claims or damages as may be due or caused by the sole acts of the Incorporated Village of Sands Point.
B. 
Applicants are also requested to submit a certificate of insurance, naming the Incorporated Village of Sands Point as an additional insured, evidencing a policy of insurance that protects the public from bodily injury or property damage sustained as a result of the use of a permitted structure. Such policy shall contain a minimum combined single liability limit (bodily injury and property damage) of $1,000,000 and be issued by an insurance carrier that is licensed to do business in the State of New York and has an A.M. Best rating of at least "A IX."

§ 70-18 Issuance of permit for construction or reconstruction.

Upon compliance with all provisions of this chapter, and the adoption of a resolution by the Board of Zoning Appeals evidencing that the application has been reviewed and approved, a permit for the construction or reconstruction of a structure under this chapter may be issued upon approval by both the Building Commissioner and, where necessary, the Village's Coastal Erosion Hazard Area Administrator.

§ 70-19 Permit length and renewal.

A. 
A permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall be valid for five years from the date of issuance.
B. 
A permit shall expire unless prior to its expiration an application for renewal, together with the applicable fees and deposits, has been submitted to the Village Clerk.
C. 
A renewal application shall be filed at least 60 days before the expiration of an existing permit and shall include:
(1) 
An affidavit by the owner evidencing that the dock is in the approved location and has been and will continue to be properly maintained.
(2) 
An updated survey of the property showing the location of the existing dock, if requested by the Building Department.
(3) 
Photographs of the existing dock.
(4) 
A written opinion by an engineer licensed to practice in the State of New York that the existing dock is structurally sound and does not present a physical danger or threat of harm to persons or property.
D. 
Upon receipt of a renewal application, an inspection shall be made by the Building Department or Village Engineer who shall report to the Board of Zoning Appeals on the structural integrity of the dock.
[Amended 3-23-1999 by L.L. No. 1-1999]
E. 
If the Board of Zoning Anneals finds, based upon the information submitted in support of a renewal application and the aforesaid inspections, that the dock remains in the approved location, is being properly maintained and is structurally sound such that it does not present a physical danger or threat of harm to persons or property, the Board may grant a renewal of the permit for an additional five-year period, without the need for a public hearing.
F. 
If the Board of Zoning Appeals finds, based upon the information submitted in support of a renewal application and the aforesaid inspections, that the dock is not in the approved location and/or is not being properly maintained and/or is not structurally sound such that it presents a physical danger or threat of harm to persons or property, the Board shall place the application on its agenda for a public hearing.

§ 70-20 Applications for preexisting structures.

A. 
An application for an initial permit for an existing dock constructed prior to the adoption of L.L. No. 4-1995[1] shall include:
(1) 
An affidavit by the owner evidencing that the dock is in the approved location and has been and will continue to be properly maintained.
(2) 
A survey of the property showing the location of the existing dock.
(3) 
Photographs of the existing dock.
(4) 
A written opinion by an engineer licensed to practice in the State of New York that the existing dock is structurally sound and does not present a physical danger or threat of harm to persons or property.
[1]
Editor's Note: Local Law No. 4-1995, which was adopted 3-28-1995, was previously included in this Chapter 70.
B. 
Upon receipt of an application for an initial permit for an existing dock constructed prior to the adoption of L.L. No. 4-1995, two members of the Board of Zoning Appeals shall inspect the dock to determine its condition and report their findings to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Inspections shall also be made by the Building Department and Village Engineer who shall report to the Board of Zoning Appeals on the structural integrity of the dock.
C. 
If the Board of Zoning Appeals finds, based upon the information submitted in support of an application for an initial permit for an existing dock constructed prior to the adoption of L.L. No. 4-1995 and the aforesaid inspections, that the dock is structurally sound such that it does not present a physical danger or threat of harm to persons or property, the Board may issue a permit without the need for a public hearing.
D. 
If the Board of Zoning Appeals finds, based upon the information submitted in support of an application for an initial permit for an existing dock constructed prior to the adoption of L.L. No. 4-1995 and the aforesaid inspections, that the dock is not structurally sound such that it presents a physical danger or threat of harm to persons or property, the Board shall place the application on its agenda for a public hearing.

§ 70-21 Removal of dock.

No permit shall be required for the removal or demolition of any dock or pilings. However, prior written notice of dock or pilings removal or demolition shall be provided to the Building Department, and the current permit shall be surrendered. Under no circumstances shall the removed or demolished dock or pilings be left in a condition which could cause any interference or hazard within the waterway or cause any environmental harm.

§ 70-22 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
A violation of this chapter is hereby declared to be an offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both. Each week's continued violation shall constitute a separate, additional violation.
B. 
In addition to an action to recover the fines or penalties as provided in Subsection A hereof, the village may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, enjoin, correct or abate any violation of, or to enforce any provision of, this chapter.