Town fast tracks permits for waterfront damage

JIM COLLIGAN PHOTO | Shelter Island dock wrecked by Hurricane Sandy.

Waterfront property owners with docks, catwalks, bulkheads, stairways and other structures damaged by Hurricane Sandy can make repairs under a special fast-track permit procedure that the Town Board put in place this week.

Instead of the time-consuming permit review process that requires legal notices, public hearings and a vote of the full Town Board, applications for Hurricane Sandy Emergency Permits will be distributed by the Town Clerk to all Town Board members but require no action on their part unless they see problems with the proposed work. If they have no objections, permits will be issued by the Town Clerk and remain in effect for one year.

Applications for the special storm permits, which require a $150 fee, must be submitted to the Town Clerk by December 31, 2012.

The Town Board formally adopted the special storm permit process in a 5-0 vote at a special meeting on Tuesday, when board members also agreed to extend the policy of accepting storm-related yard debris for free at the Recycling Center until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 27.

Hurricane Sandy Emergency Permits may be used to install sandbags to protect damaged structures of escarpments; place sand at the foot of eroded escarpments; repair or rebuild stairways that had been in usable condition before the storm; regrade eroded dunes; in-kind and in-place repair or reconstruction of bulkheads and other erosion control structures that “were functional before Hurricane Sandy”; in-kind and in-place repair or replacements of docks and catwalks that had been functional before the storm; and to build new returns at the end of bulkheads to prevent washouts. The rules allow for the use of chemically treated lumber only under certain limited circumstances.

Applicants will also need a permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which also offers a special fast-track permit for emergency repairs.