[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Stratford 8-10-1988. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Stratford Town Council finds that:
The waters of Long Island Sound and its coastal resources, including tidal rivers, streams and creeks, wetlands and marshes, intertidal mud flats, beaches and dunes, bluffs and headlands, islands, rocky shorefronts and adjacent shorelands, form an integrated natural estuarine ecosystem which is both unique and fragile.
The development of Stratford's coastal area has been extensive and has had a significant impact on Long Island Sound and its coastal resources.
Stratford's coastal area represents an asset of great present and potential value to the economic well-being of its citizens, and there is a public interest in the effective management, beneficial use, protection and development of Stratford's coastal area.
Stratford's coastal area is rich in a variety of natural, economic, recreational, cultural and aesthetic resources, but the full realization of their value can be achieved only by permitting development in suitable areas and by protecting those areas unsuited to development.
The key to improved public management of Stratford's coastal area is coordination at all levels of government and careful consideration of the impact of development on both coastal resources and future water-dependent development opportunities when preparing plans and regulations and reviewing municipal and private development proposals.
The population growth and economic development in Stratford's coastal area have caused the loss of living marine resources, wildlife and nutrient-rich areas and have endangered other vital ecological systems and scarce resources.
Municipal goals and policies. The following general goals and policies are established by this chapter:
To ensure that the development, preservation or use of the land and water resources of Stratford's coastal area proceeds in a manner consistent with the capability of the land and water resources to support development, preservation or use without significantly disrupting either the natural environment or sound economic growth.
To preserve and enhance coastal resources in accordance with the policies established by Chapters 439, 440, 447, 473, 474, 474a and 477 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
To encourage uses and facilities which are dependent upon proximity to the water or the shorelands immediately adjacent to marine and tidal waters.
To encourage uses on the coastal area that minimize adverse impacts on natural coastal resources while providing long-term and stable economic benefits.
To consider in the planning process the potential impact of coastal flooding and erosion patterns on coastal development so as to minimize damage to and destruction of life and property and reduce the necessity of public expenditure to protect future development from such hazards.
To encourage public access to the waters of Long Island Sound by expansion, development and effective utilization of Town-owned recreational facilities within the coastal area that are consistent with sound resource conservation procedures.
To assist research in coastal matters to improve the data base upon which coastal land and water use decisions are made.
To coordinate the activities of public agencies to ensure that municipal expenditures enhance development while affording maximum protection to natural coastal resources and processes in a manner consistent with the State Plan of Conservation and Development, adopted pursuant to Part I of Chapter 297 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
To coordinate planning and regulatory activities of public agencies to ensure maximum protection of coastal resources while minimizing conflicts and disruption of economic development.
To ensure that the Town of Stratford provides adequate planning for facilities and resources which are in the national interest as defined in Section 22a-93 of the Connecticut General Statutes and to ensure that any restrictions or exclusions of such facilities or uses are reasonable.
In addition to the policies stated in Subsection B, the following policies are established for municipal agencies in carrying out their responsibilities under this chapter:
Policies concerning development, facilities and uses along Stratford's coastal area are to:
Manage uses in the coastal area through existing municipal planning, zoning and other local regulatory authorities, giving highest priority and preference to water-dependent uses and facilities in shorefront areas.
Promote the development, reuse or redevelopment of existing urban and commercial fishing ports, giving highest priority and preference to water-dependent uses, including but not limited to commercial and recreational fishing and boating uses; to disallow uses which unreasonably congest navigation channels or unreasonably preclude boating support facilities elf where in a port or harbor; and to minimize the risk of oil and chemical spills at port facilities.
Encourage that structures in tidal wetlands and coastal waters be designed, constructed and maintained to minimize adverse impacts on coastal resources, circulation and sedimentation patterns, water quality and flooding and erosion; to reduce to the maximum extent practicable the use of fill; and to reduce conflicts with the riparian rights of adjacent landowners.
Discourage the siting within the coastal boundary of new tank farms and other new fuel and chemical storage facilities which can reasonably be located inland and to encourage any new storage tanks which must be located within the coastal boundary to abut existing storage tanks or to be located in urban industrial areas and to be adequately protected against floods and spills.
Make use of rehabilitation, upgrading and improvement of existing transportation facilities as the primary means of meeting transportation needs in the coastal area.
Encourage increased recreational boating use of coastal waters, where feasible, by providing additional berthing space in existing harbors, limiting non-water-dependent land uses that preclude boating support facilities, increasing municipal-owned launching facilities and providing for new boating facilities in natural harbors and new protected waters areas and in areas dredged from dry land.
Protect coastal resources by requiring, where feasible, that such boating uses and facilities minimize disruption or degradation of natural coastal resources, utilize existing altered, developed or redevelopment areas, are located to assure optimal distribution of municipal-owned facilities to the statewide boating public and utilize ramps and dry storage rather than slips in environmentally sensitive areas.
Protect and, where feasible, upgrade facilities serving the commercial fishing and recreational boating industries; to maintain existing authorized commercial fishing and recreational boating harbor space unless the demand for these facilities no longer exists or adequate space has been provided; and to design and lo#ate, where feasible, proposed recreational boating facilities in a manner which does not interfere with the needs of the commercial fishing industry.
Require reasonable mitigation measures where development would adversely impact historical, archeological or paleontological resources that have been designated by the State Historic Preservation Officer.
Policies concerning coastal land and water resources within the coastal area are to:
Manage coastal bluffs and escarpments so as to preserve their slope and toe; to discourage uses which do not permit continued natural rates of erosion; and to disapprove uses that accelerate slope erosion and alter essential patterns and supply of sediments to the littoral transport system.
Manage rocky shorefronts so as to ensure that development proceeds in a manner which does not irreparably reduce the capability of the system to support a healthy intertidal biological community, to pro vide feeding grounds refuge for shorebirds and finfish and to dissipate and absorb storm and wave energies.
Preserve the dynamic form and integrity of natural beach systems in order to provide critical wildlife habitats, a reservoir for sand supply, a buffer for coastal flooding and erosion and valuable recreational opportunities; to ensure that coastal uses are compatible with the capabilities of the system and do not unreasonably interfere with natural processes of erosion and sedimentation; and to encourage the restoration and enhancement of disturbed or modified beach systems.
Manage intertidal flats so as to preserve their value as a nutrient source and reservoir, a healthy shellfish habitat and a valuable feeding area for invertebrates, fish and shorebirds; to encourage the restoration and enhancement of degraded intertidal flats; to encourage coastal uses that minimize change in the natural current flow, depth, slope, sedimentation and nutrient storage functions; and to discourage uses that substantially accelerate erosion or lead to significant despoliation of tidal flats.
Preserve tidal wetlands and to prevent the despoliation and destruction thereof in order to maintain their vital natural functions; to encourage the rehabilitation and restoration of degraded tidal wetlands; and, where feasible and environmentally acceptable, to encourage the creation of wetlands for the purposes of shellfish and finfish management, habitat creation and dredge spoil disposal.
Manage coastal hazard areas so as to ensure that development proceeds in such a manner that hazards to life and property are minimized and to promote nonstructural solutions to flood and erosion problems except in those instances where structural alternatives prove unavoidable and necessary to protect existing inhabited structures, infrastructural facilities or water-dependent uses.
Promote the use of existing developed shorefront areas for marinerelated uses, including but not limited to commercial and recreational fishing, boating and other water-dependent commercial, industrial and recreational uses.
Regulate shoreland use and development in a manner which minimizes adverse impacts upon adjacent coastal systems and resources.
Maintain the natural relationship between eroding and depositional coastal landforms and to minimize the adverse impacts of erosion and sedimentation on coastal land uses through the promotion of nonstructural mitigation measures. Structural solutions are permissible when necessary and unavoidable for the protection of infrastructural facilities, water-dependent uses or existing inhabited structures and where there is no feasible, less environmentally damaging alternative and where all reasonable mitigation measures and techniques have been provided to minimize adverse environmental impacts.
In addition to the policies in this section, the policies of the State Plan of Conservation and Development, adopted pursuant to Part I of Chapter 297 of the Connecticut General Statutes, shall be applied to the area within Stratford's coastal area in accordance with the requirements of Section 16a-31 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ADVERSE IMPACTS ON COASTAL RESOURCES
- Includes but is not limited to degrading water quality through the significant introduction into either coastal waters or groundwater supplies of suspended solids, nutrients, toxins, heavy metals or pathogens or through the significant alteration of temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen or salinity; degrading existing circulation patterns of coastal waters through the significant patterns of tidal exchange or flushing rates, freshwater input or existing basin characteristics and channel contours; degrading natural erosion patterns through the significant alteration of littoral transport of sediments in terms of deposition or source reduction; degrading natural or existing drainage patterns through the significant alteration of groundwater flow and recharge and volume of runoff; increasing the hazard of coastal flooding through significant alteration of shoreline configurations or bathymetry, particularly within high-velocity flood zones; degrading visual quality through significant alteration of the natural features of vistas and view points; degrading or destroying essential wildlife, finfish or shellfish habitat through significant alteration of the composition, migration patterns, distribution, breeding or other population characteristics of the natural species or significant alteration of the natural components of the habitat; and degrading tidal wetlands, beaches and dunes, rocky shorefronts and bluffs and escarpments through alteration of their natural characteristics or function.
- ADVERSE IMPACTS ON FUTURE WATER-DEPENDENT DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES and ADVERSE IMPACTS ON FUTURE WATER-DEPENDENT DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
- Include but are not limited to locating a non-water-dependent use at a site that is physically suited for a water-dependent use for which there is a reasonable demand or has been identified for a water-dependent use in the plan of development of the municipality or the Zoning Regulations; replacement of a water-dependent use with a non-water-dependent use; and siting of a non-water-dependent use which would substantially reduce or inhibit existing public access to marine or tidal waters.
- COASTAL RESOURCES
- The coastal waters of the Town of Stratford and their natural resources, related marine and wildlife habitat and adjacent shorelands, both developed and undeveloped, that together form an integrated terrestrial and estuarine ecosystem. "Coastal resources" include the following:
- A place on navigable waters, as defined by this section, where waterborne commercial or recreational traffic enters for the purpose of anchorage or docking or the unloading or receiving of cargo, supplies, equipment, fuel or passengers.
- NAVIGABLE WATERS
- Waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide shoreward to their mean high-water mark.
- NAVIGABLE WATERWAYS
- Waters which are physically capable of supporting waterborne traffic and subject to the ebb and flow of the tide.
- STRATFORD WATERFRONT AUTHORITY
- The Stratford Waterfront Authority established pursuant to Special Laws No. 585 of page 790, approved June 7, 1957, as follows:
- WATER-DEPENDENT USES
- Those uses and facilities which require direct access to or location in marine or tidal waters and which therefore cannot be located inland, including but not limited to marinas, recreational and commercial fishing and boating facilities, finfish and shellfish processing plants, waterfront dock and port facilities, shipyards and boat building facilities, water-based recreational uses, navigation aides, basins and channels, industrial uses dependent upon waterborne transportation or requiring large volumes of cooling or process water which cannot reasonably be located or operated at an inland site and uses which provide general public access to marine or tidal waters.
- WATERFRONT AND HARBOR MANAGEMENT COMMISSION
- The Stratford Waterfront Authority established pursuant to Special Laws No. 585 of page 790, approved June 7, 1957, combined with the Stratford Harbor Management Commission established pursuant to Section 22a-113k of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended.
The Town of Stratford hereby designates the Stratford Waterfront Authority, previously established pursuant to Special Laws 1957, No. 585, page 790, approved June 7, 1957, as a Harbor Management Commission pursuant to Section 22a-113k of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended. The combined Stratford Waterfront Authority and Harbor Management Commission shall be known as the "Stratford Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission."
The combined Commission shall be composed of 11 members, electors of the Town of Stratford, to be appointed by the Stratford Town Council, and may include one member representing each of the following: the Stratford Conservation Commission, the Stratford Planning and Zoning Commission, the Stratford Inland Wetlands Commission, the Stratford Shellfish Commission and the Stratford Flood and Erosion Control Board. The Harbor Master for the Town of Stratford shall be a nonvoting ex officio member of the combined Commission. In addition, there shall be two alternate members to be appointed by the Stratford Town Council, both of whom shall be electors of the Town of Stratford. The five current members of the Stratford Waterfront Authority shall be members of the Stratford Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission and shall continue in office until their respective terms expire. The Stratford Town Council shall initially appoint the remaining six members, together with the two alternate members, as follows: One regular member shall be appointed for a term expiring on May 31,1989, one regular member and two alternate members shall be appointed for terms expiring on May 31, 1990, one regular member shall be appointed for a term expiring on May 31, 1991, one regular member shall be appointed for a term expiring on May 31, 1992, and two regular members shall be appointed for terms expiring on May 31, 1993. Thereafter, alternate members shall be appointed by the Stratford Town Council for terms of two years to replace those alternate members whose terms expire, and regular members shall be appointed by the Stratford Town Council for terms of five years to replace those regular members whose terms expire. The Commission shall elect annually a Chairman, a Vice Chairman and a Clerk from its own number. Each member and alternate shall continue in office until his successor is duly appointed.
All members and alternates shall serve without compensation.
Any member or alternate may be appointed for another term or terms.
Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term and in the same manner as the original appointment.
If a regular member of said Commission is absent or has a conflict of interest, the Chairman of the Commission shall designate an alternate to so act, choosing alternates in rotation so that they shall act as nearly equal a number of times as possible. If any alternate is not available in accordance with such rotation, such fact shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
No member or alternate member of such Commission shall participate in the hearing or decision of such Commission of which he is a member upon any matter in which he is directly or indirectly interested in a personal or financial sense. In the event of such disqualification, such fact shall be entered on the records of such Commission, and replacement shall be made from alternate members with an alternate to act as a member of such Commission in the hearing and determination of the particular matter or matters in which the disqualification arose.
Jurisdiction of the Commission. The jurisdiction of the Commission, in furtherance of the statutory authority permitted to be delegated by Connecticut General Statutes, Section 22a-113k, as amended, shall be all those areas within the territorial limits of the Town of Stratford below the mean high-water mark. The jurisdiction of the Commission above the high-water mark, in furtherance of Special Laws 1957, No. 585, page 790, approved June 7, 1957, shall be as set forth in said special legislative act.
The Commission, in consultation with the Commissioners of Environmental Protection and Transportation, shall prepare or cause to be prepared a management plan for the most desirable use of the Stratford coastal area and harbors for recreational, commercial, industrial and other purposes. The plan shall provide for the preservation and use of the coastal resources of the coastal area and harbors in a manner consistent with the provisions of Sections 22a-90 to 22a-112, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes and any municipal coastal plan adopted pursuant to Section 22a-101 of the Connecticut General Statutes. A copy of the plan shall be forwarded to the United States Army Corps of Engineers for review, comments and recommendations. Such plan shall be submitted for approval to the Commissioners of Environmental Protection and Transportation.
The plan shall identify existing and potential harbor problems, establish goals and make recommendations for the use, development and preservation of Stratford's coastal area and harbors. Such recommendations shall identify officials responsible for enforcement of the plan and propose ordinances to implement the plan. The plan shall include but not be limited to provisions for the orderly, safe and efficient allocation of the harbors for boating by establishing the location and distribution of seasonal moorings and anchorages, unobstructed access to and around federal navigation channels, anchorage areas and harbor facilities and space for moorings and anchorages for transient vessels.
The plan may recommend:
Boundaries for development areas to be approved and established by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection in accordance with the provisions of Section 22a-360 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
Designations for channels and boat basins for approval and adoption by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection in accordance with the provisions of Section 22a-340 of the Connecticut General statutes.
Lines designating the limits of areas for the location of vessels with persons living aboard to be approved and adopted by the Director of Health in accordance with Section 19a-227;
Pump-out facilities, including the designation of no-discharge zones, in accordance with Section 312 of the Federal Clean Water Act.
Regulations for the operation of vessels on the harbor pursuant to the provisions of Section 15136 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
Upon adoption of the plan, any recommendation made pursuant to this subsection shall be binding on any official of any municipality or any other political subdivision when making regulatory decisions or undertaking or sponsoring development affecting the area within the Commission's jurisdiction, unless such official shows cause why a different action should be taken.
In preparing the plan, the Commission shall consider the following factors:
Recreational and commercial boating.
Recreational and commercial fisheries and shellfisheries.
Fish and shellfish resources, including leased or designated shellfish beds.
Conservation of natural resources.
Areas subject to high-velocity waters, including but not limited to hurricanes, wave washes or tsunamis, that are designated as V Zones on a Flood Insurance Rate Map published by the National Flood Insurance Program.
Exposed areas subject to flooding and erosion as defined in Connecticut General Statutes, Section 25-70.
Commercial and industrial uses that are water-dependent as defined in Connecticut General Statutes, Section 22a-93(16).
Water quality and public health.
Recreational uses other than boating and fisheries.
Water-dependent educational uses.
Tidal wetlands, beaches and dunes, bluffs and escarpments and intertidal flats as defined in Connecticut General Statutes, Section 22a-93.
The Commission may review and make recommendations consistent with the plan on any proposal affecting the real property on, in or contiguous to the harbor that is received by any Zoning Commission, Planning Commission or combined Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic District Commission, Flood and Erosion Control Board, Harbor Improvement Agency, Port Authority, Redevelopment Agency, Shellfish Commission, Sewer Commission, Water Pollution Control Authority or special district with zoning or other land use authority. Such agencies shall send a copy of any such proposal to the Commission upon the request of such Commission. The Commission shall be notified of any such proposal at least 35 days prior to the commencement of the hearing thereon or, where no hearing is held, at least 35 days prior to the taking of any final action on the proposal. The local agency authorized to act on the proposal shall consider the recommendations of the Commission. A 2/3 vote of all the members of the local agency having authority to act on the proposal shall be required to approve a proposal which has not received a favorable recommendation from the Commission, provided that the provisions of this section shall not be deemed to alter the authority of the agency having primary jurisdiction over the proposal to deny, modify or condition the proposal. Failure of the Commission to submit a recommendation shall be deemed to be approval of the proposal.
Upon adoption of the plan, the Commission may request a general permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers and delegation of enforcement authority pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 22a-2a.
Upon adoption of the plan, no mooring or anchorage shall be placed in the harbor without a permit from the Harbor Master or Deputy Harbor Master for the municipality. Any permit granted by the Harbor Master or Deputy Harbor Master shall be consistent with the plan and shall expire on the 31st day of December next following its issuance. The Harbor Master or Deputy Harbor Master shall keep a record of the location of each mooring and anchorage for which a permit has been issued, the name and address of the owner and a description of the vessel to be moored. Such information shall be made available to any officer authorized to enforce the provisions of Connecticut General Statutes, Chapter 268.
The Harbor Master or Deputy Harbor Master shall enforce any ordinance adopted by the Town of Stratford to implement the plan.
[Amended 5-28-2013 by Ord. No. 13-17]
The Commission may propose a fee schedule for a permit for a mooring or anchorage or any other activity within the scope of the plan, to be adopted by vote of the Stratford Town Council. The maximum annual fee for a mooring or anchorage shall not exceed the maximum amount allowed by the State of Connecticut. The Harbor Master or Deputy Harbor Master for the municipality shall collect such fee. Any fee collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited into a fund maintained by the Town of Stratford and shall be used for the maintenance and improvement of the harbor for the public and for expenses for personnel and equipment directly related to the function of the Commission and the Harbor Master or Deputy Harbor Master.
Pursuant to the authority granted by Section 7-147 of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended, the Stratford Waterfront and Harbor Commission is authorized to administer the provisions of said Connecticut General Statutes, Section 7-147, as amended. Said Commission may, within its jurisdiction, establish lines along any part of any waterway beyond which, in a direction of the waterway, no permanent obstruction or encroachment shall be placed by any private person or any firm or corporation, unless permission is granted in writing by said Commission. In establishing such lines, the Stratford Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission shall base its location on the boundaries of the area which would be inundated by a flood similar in size to one or more recorded floods which have caused extensive damages in such area or on a size of flood computed by accepted methods applicable generally throughout the state or a region thereof. The determination of the size of the flood and the boundaries of the inundated area shall take into consideration the effects of probable future developments. The position of the lines may vary from the boundaries of the inundated area so as to minimize the area of land to be regulated when a portion of the inundated area does not contribute to the flood-carrying capacity of the waterway. The position of the lines shall, insofar as practical, equitably affect riparian properties and interests depending upon existing topography and shall be interdependent throughout the reaches of the waterway and shall conform with the requirements of the federal government imposed as conditions for the construction of flood control projects. When the existing waterway, because of natural or man-made constrictions, is such that such lines cannot be established by standard engineering methods, a channel may be adopted whereby the removal of such constrictions may be anticipated so that reasonable lines can be established by the methods applicable to the state generally. When the flood boundary falls along the channel banks, the lines shall be placed at the top of the banks. The Stratford Waterfront and Harbor Commission may grant or deny permission based on a finding of the effect of the obstruction or encroachment on the flood-carrying and water-storage capacity of the waterways and floodplains, flood heights, hazards to life and property and the protection and preservation of the natural resources and ecosystems of the Town of Stratford, including but not limited to ground- and surface water, animal, plant and aquatic life, nutrient exchange and energy flow, with due consideration given to the results of similar encroachments constructed along the reach of the waterway.
Any private person or any firm or corporation aggrieved by any decision of the Stratford Waterfront and Harbor Commission made in accordance with this section may, within 30 days after notice thereof, appeal from such decision in the manner provided by Section 8-8 of the Connecticut General Statutes for appeal from the decisions of a Municipal Zoning Board of Appeals.
[Added 11-14-1994; amended 12-13-1999 by Ord. No. 99-07]
The Stratford Town Council, as the duly established legislative body for the Town of Stratford, does hereby adopt, pursuant to § 22a-113m of the Connecticut General Statutes, the aforesaid Stratford Harbor Management 1999 Plan Addendum, to be effective 30 days from final passage.
[Added 6-10-1996 by Ord. No. 96-03]
Harbor Management Fund created. A Town Harbor Management Fund is hereby created to receive and expend moneys for harbor management purposes determined by the Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission. All revenues generated by permits for mooring or anchorage or any other activity within the scope of the Harbor Management Plan, as authorized by § 210-10 of this chapter; Town boat launching permits; fees for lease or other use of Town waterfront land; and fines levied under the provisions of this chapter as it applies to the Harbor Management Area shall be deposited into this fund along with all other moneys generated or allocated specifically for waterfront and harbor management purposes.
Annual budget. On an annual basis the Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission shall present a budget of all proposed expenditure of funds from the Harbor Management Fund to the Town Council. The Town Council will then approve, reject or modify the budget as it deems appropriate. Funds shall only be expended from the Harbor Management Fund in accordance with the annual budget authorized by the Town Council.
Use of the Harbor Management Fund. Upon approval by the Town Council, funds shall be disbursed for purposes directly associated with the management and improvement of Stratford's Harbor Management Area and implementation of the Stratford Harbor Management Plan. Moneys from the Harbor Management Fund may be allocated to the Stratford Harbor Master, his Deputy or other official appointed by the Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the Stratford Harbor Management Plan and applicable sections of the Stratford Code.
Audit of funds. The waterfront and Harbor Management Commission shall regularly audit the Harbor Management Fund and report to the Town Council on the status, use and allocation of all moneys from the fund.