East Hampton, New York Coastal Erosion Overlay District
Adopted by the Town of East Hampton, New York in 2006, this ordinance (Town of East Hampton Code, Section 255-3-80) includes provisions, among others, to create a Coastal Erosion Overlay District to protect the town's coastline from the effects of coastal erosion measures (i.e., projects designed to control or prevent coastal flooding and erosion and adjacent upland areas, including coastal ecosystems) in areas at risk of flooding and erosion. The town's natural resources include wetlands, watercourses, tidal waters, natural drainage areas, watersheds, and water recharge areas, as well as beaches, dunes, bluffs, and other coastal features. Within the Coastal Erosion Overlay District, the town designated four oceanic and bay coastal zones, where new erosion control measures are only allowed in one zone — where there are many preexisting hard structures that act as the only form of protection for remaining natural resources — by issuance of a Natural Resources Special Permit; and the town only allows for the repair, reconstruction, or alteration of preexisting (i.e., predate the date of this ordinance) erosion control measures in three zones via permit as well. As a result of this overlay district, the city will look to emphasize and permit nonstructural erosion control solutions instead.
The overlay district's four different zones are designated by coastal location (ocean or bay) and the amount and type of preexisting erosion control measures:
- Zone One: Ocean coastal zone that is largely free of erosion control measures. While the repair, reconstruction, or alteration of preexisting erosion control measures is permitted in this zone, those actions require a Natural Resources Special Permit.
- Zone Two: Bay coastal zone that is largely free of erosion control measures.
- Zone Three: Bay coastal zone that contains erosion control measures that are isolated and discontinuous, or have no substantial flooding or erosion protection features. While the repair, reconstruction, or alteration of preexisting erosion control measures is permitted in this zone, those actions require a Natural Resources Special Permit.
- Zone Four: Bay coastal zone that contains many preexisting erosion control measures that are the only remaining form of protection for natural resources and features, such as bluffs, dunes, and beaches. Here, new erosion control measures and repairs may be permitted under limited circumstances to protect natural resources and features that have been historically degraded due to the presence of these hard structures. Accordingly, the construction, placement, or installation of new erosion control measures may be permitted in this zone only through a Natural Resources Permit, in addition to repair-related actions, like in Zones One and Three.
The ordinance includes exceptions in all zones for a limited number of four emergency actions (e.g., sandbags) where no permit is required to prevent “substantial damage” to private property. In addition, nonconforming preexisting uses are allowed in all of the zones, but erosion control measures cannot be enlarged or added to in any capacity.
The Town of East Hampton implemented this ordinance in response to recommendations from the Town's Local Waterfront Revitilization Program.
Publication Date: July 2006
- Town of East Hampton, New York
- Managed Retreat Toolkit > Regulatory Tools > Living Shorelines
- Managed Retreat Toolkit > Regulatory Tools > Zoning and Overlay Zones