Pursuant to the provisions of Article 34 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law and § 10 of the Municipal Home Rule Law, the Town of Wilson, County of Niagara, State of New York, hereby enacts by Local Law No. 4 of 2000, this chapter.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Town of Wilson Coastal Erosion Hazard Area Law."
This chapter shall take effect January 1, 2001.
The Town of Wilson hereby assumes the responsibility and authority to implement and administer a coastal erosion management program within its jurisdiction pursuant to Article 34 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law.
In addition, it is the purpose of this chapter to:
Establish standards and procedures for minimizing and preventing damage to structures from coastal flooding and erosion and to protect natural protective features and other natural resources.
Regulate, in coastal areas subject to coastal flooding and erosion, land use and development activities so as to minimize or prevent damage or destruction to man-made property, natural protective features, other natural resources and to protect human life.
Regulate new construction or placement of structures in order to place them a safe distance from areas of active erosion and the impacts of coastal storms to ensure that these structures are not prematurely destroyed or damaged due to improper siting, as well as to prevent damage to natural protective features and other natural resources.
Restrict public investment in services, facilities or activities which are likely to encourage new permanent development in erosion hazard areas.
Regulate the construction of erosion protection structures in coastal areas subject to serious erosion to assure that when the construction of erosion protection structures is justified, their construction and operation will minimize or prevent damage or destruction to man-made property, private and public property, natural protective features and other natural resources.
The Town of Wilson finds that the coastal erosion hazard area:
Is prone to erosion from the waters of Lake Ontario. Such erosion may be caused by the action of waves, currents running along the shore and wind-driven water and ice. Such areas are also prone to erosion caused by the wind, runoff of rainwater along the surface of the land or groundwater seepage, as well as by human activities such as construction, navigation and certain forms of recreation.
[Amended 5-8-2001 by L.L. No. 1-2001]
Experiences coastal erosion which causes extensive damage to publicly and privately owned property and to natural resources as well as endangering human lives. When this occurs, individuals and private businesses suffer significant economic losses, as do the Town of Wilson and the state economies, either directly through property damage or indirectly through loss of economic return. Large public expenditures may also be necessitated for the removal of debris and damaged structures and replacement of essential public facilities and services.
Experiences erosion-related problems that are often contributed to by man's building without considering the potential for damage to property, by undertaking activities which destroy natural protective features such as dunes or vegetation, by building structures intended for erosion prevention which may exacerbate erosion conditions on adjacent or nearby property and by water action produced by wakes from boats.
Is the subject of programs which foster erosion protection structures, either with private or public funds, which are costly, often only partially effective over time and may even be harmful to adjacent or nearby properties. In some sections of the Town of Wilson, major erosion protection structures of great length would be required to effectively reduce future damages due to erosion.
The following terms used in this chapter have the meaning indicated, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
- The zone of unconsolidated earth that extends landward from the mean low water line to the waterward toe of a dune or bluff, whichever is most waterward. Where no dune or bluff exists landward of a beach, the landward limit of a beach is 100 feet landward from the place where there is a marked change in material or physiographic form or from the line of permanent vegetation, whichever is most waterward. Shorelands subject to seasonal or more frequent overwash or inundation are considered to be beaches.
- Any bank or cliff with a precipitous or steeply sloped face adjoining a beach or a body of water. The waterward limit of a bluff is the landward limit of its waterward natural protective feature. Where no beach is present, the waterward limit of a bluff is mean low water. The landward limit is 25 feet landward of the receding edge or, in those cases where there is no discernible line of active erosion, 25 feet landward of the point of inflection on the top of the bluff. (The point of inflection is that point along the top of the bluff where the trend of the land slope changes to begin its descent to the shoreline.)
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The local official responsible for administering and enforcing this chapter. The powers and duties of this position are more fully described in § 60-29.[Amended 5-8-2001 by L.L. No. 1-2001]
- COASTAL EROSION HAZARD AREA MAP
- The final map and any amendments thereof issued by the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which delineates boundaries of coastal erosion hazard areas subject to regulation under this chapter.
- COASTLINE and COASTAL WATERS
- The land adjacent to the Town's coastal waters is the coastline.
Coastal waters are the waters of Lake Ontario.[Amended 5-8-2001 by L.L. No. 1-2001]
- DEBRIS LINE
- A linear accumulation of waterborne debris deposited on a beach by storm-induced high water or by wave action.
- A ridge or hill of loose, windblown or artificially placed earth the principal component of which is sand.
- The loss or displacement of land along the coastline due to the action of waves, currents, wind-driven water, waterborne ice or other impacts of storms. It also means the loss or displacement of land due to the action of wind, runoff of surface waters or groundwaters, or groundwater seepage.
- EROSION HAZARD AREA
- An area of the coastline which is a structural hazard area, or a natural protective feature area.
- EROSION PROTECTION STRUCTURE
- A structure specifically designed to reduce or prevent erosion, such as a groin, jetty, revetment, breakwater or artificial beach nourishment project.
- EXISTING STRUCTURE
- A structure and appurtenances in existence or one where construction has commenced or one where construction has not begun but for which a building permit has been issued prior to January 1, 2001.
- A redistribution of sand or other unconsolidated earth to effect a change in profile.
- MAJOR ADDITION
- An addition to a structure resulting in a 25% or greater increase in the ground area coverage of the structure other than an erosion protection structure or a pier, dock or wharf. The increase will be calculated as the ground area coverage to be added, including any additions previously constructed under a Coastal Erosion Management Permit, divided by the ground area coverage of the existing structure as defined in "existing structure."
- MEAN LOW WATER
- The approximate average low water level for a given body of water at a given location, determined by reference to hydrological information concerning water levels or other appropriate tests.
- MOVABLE STRUCTURE
- A structure designed and constructed to be readily relocated with minimum disruption of the intended use. Mobile homes and structures built on skids or piles and not having a permanent foundation are examples of movable structures.
- NATURAL PROTECTIVE FEATURE
- A nearshore area, beach, bluff, primary dune, secondary dune, or marsh, and its vegetation.
- NATURAL PROTECTIVE FEATURE AREA
- A land and/or water area containing natural protective features, the alteration of which might reduce or destroy the protection afforded other lands against erosion or high water, or lower the reserve of sand or other natural materials available to replenish storm losses through natural processes.
- NEARSHORE AREA
- Those lands under water beginning at the mean low water line and extending waterward in a direction perpendicular to the shoreline to a point where mean low water depth is 15 feet, or to a horizontal distance of 1,000 feet from the mean low water line, whichever is greater.
- NORMAL MAINTENANCE
- Periodic replacement or repair of same-kind structural elements or protective coatings which do not change the size, design or function of a functioning structure. A "functioning structure" is one which is fully performing as originally designed at the time that normal maintenance is scheduled to begin. Normal maintenance of a structure does not require a Coastal Erosion Management Permit.
- Any individual, public or private corporation, political subdivision, government agency, public improvement district, partnership, association, firm, trust, estate or any other legal entity whatsoever.
- PRIMARY DUNE
- The most waterward major dune where there are two or more parallel dunes within a coastal area. Where there is only one dune present, it is the primary one. Occasionally, one or more relatively small dune formations exist waterward of the primary dune. These smaller formations will be considered to be part of the primary dune for the purposes of this chapter. The waterward limit of a primary dune is the landward limit of its fronting beach. The landward limit of the primary dune is 25 feet landward of its landward toe.
- RECEDING EDGE
- The most landward line of active erosion, or in cases where there is no discernible line of active erosion, it is the most waterward line of permanent vegetation.
- RECESSION RATE
- The rate, expressed in feet per year, at which an eroding shoreline moves landward.
- REGULATED ACTIVITY
- The construction, modification, restoration or placement of a structure, or major addition to a structure, or any action or use of land which materially alters the condition of land, including grading, excavating, dumping, mining, dredging, filling or other disturbance of soil.
- The reconstruction without modification of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the estimated full replacement cost of the structure at the time of restoration. Modifications, however, may be allowed if they do not exceed preexisting size limits and are intended to mitigate impacts to natural protective features and other natural resources.
- SECONDARY DUNE
- The major dune immediately landward of the primary dune. The waterward limit of a secondary dune is the landward limit of its fronting primary dune. The landward limit of a secondary dune is 25 feet landward of its landward toe.
- SIGNIFICANT FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT
- Those habitats which are essential to the survival of a large portion of a particular fish or wildlife population; support rare or endangered species; are found at a very low frequency within a geographic area; support fish or wildlife populations having significant commercial or recreational value; or that would be difficult or impossible to replace.
- STRUCTURAL HAZARD AREA
- Those shorelands located landward of natural protective features and having shorelines receding at a long-term average recession rate of one foot or more per year. The inland boundary of a structural hazard area is calculated by starting at the landward limit of the fronting natural protective feature and measuring along a line perpendicular to the shoreline a horizontal distance landward which is 40 times the long-term average annual recession rate.
- Any object constructed, installed or placed in, on or under land or water, including, but not limited to a building; permanent shed; deck; in-ground and aboveground pool; garage; mobile home; road; public service distribution, transmission or collection system; tanks; docks; piers; wharf; groins; jetties; seawalls; bulkheads; breakwaters; revetments; artificial beach nourishment; or any addition to or alteration of the same.
- The lowest surface point on a slope face of a dune or bluff.[Amended 5-8-2001 by L.L. No. 1-2001]
- UNREGULATED ACTIVITY
- Excepted activities which are not regulated by this chapter include but are not limited to elevated walkways or stairways constructed solely for pedestrian use and built by an individual property owner for the limited purpose of providing noncommercial access to the beach; docks, piers, wharves or structures built on floats, columns, open timber piles or other similar openwork supports with a top surface area of less than 200 square feet, or which are removed in the fall of each year; normal beach grooming or clean-up; maintenance of structures when normal and customary and/or in compliance with an approved maintenance program; planting vegetation and sand fencing so as to stabilize or entrap sand in primary dune and secondary dune areas, in order to maintain or increase the height and width of dunes; routine agricultural operations, including cultivation or harvesting, and the implementation of practices recommended in a soil and water conservation plan as defined in § 3(12) of the Soil and Water Conservation Districts Law; provided, however, that agricultural operations and implementation of practices will not be construed to include any activity that involves the construction or placement of a structure.
- Plant life capable of surviving and successfully reproducing in the area or region and which is compatible with the environment of the coastal erosion hazard area.