Flood repairs may require permits

P roperty owners who are planning to make repairs to their properties as a result of this spring’s flooding may need to acquire permits before undertaking any work.

Individuals whose shoreline, riverbank or stream bank properties were damaged by flooding may need to acquire permits or authorization from the Department of Environmental Conservation before engaging in any work.

“Anything along shorelines they should check with us,” explained DEC spokesman David Winchell. “The laws and regulations may be a little tricky so it’s best to contact the permits office before beginning any work.”

Winchell said excavation projects are especially problematic.

The placement of any fill below the mean high water mark will require a permit. This applies to any body of water, whether it is a stream, lake or river.

 “Any other work along the shoreline, people should contact us,” he said.

The cleanup and removal of debris doesn’t require a permit and fill can be utilized without a permit as long as it’s used above the mean water mark.

Repairs that adhere to the original pre-flood design or footprint of a structure typically don’t require a permit, but it’s best to check with the appropriate agency just in case.

Although the permit process has not been modified for flood victims, Winchell said efforts will be made to expedite the process.

“We are not shortening the review process, but we are giving these projects priority,” Winchell said.

Residents who live within the “Blue Line” may need to receive the approval from agencies besides the DEC, such as the Adirondack Park Agency.

Besides ensuring that homeowners are in compliance with state laws and regulations, permits are required before property owners can be considered for any reimbursement for repair costs from federal or state emergency funds.

Before applying for permits, property owners are encouraged to photograph damaged areas they plan to repair and submit those images with permit applications.

Anyone who feels they may need a permit for repairs they plan on making are encouraged to call the Region 5 Environmental Permits office at 897-1234 or the Warrensburg office at 623-1200.

DEC also provides a number of documents pertaining to shoreline stabilization and the permit application process on their website, www.dec.ny.gov.

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