Conservation Director Alicia Mozian and Town Engineer Peter Ratkiewich announced the following procedure for replacing docks and seawalls that were damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.
“This information applies to properties located within the jurisdiction of the Waterway Protection Line Ordinance (WPLO) and will remain in effect until Aug. 1,” said Mozian.
Docks that have already been approved pursuant to the WPLO may be repaired in-kind and in-place with issuance of an administrative approval from the Conservation Department staff. An existing conditions survey or similar drawing showing the dimensions of the dock is required. If applicable, proof that the dock existed prior to 1980 is also helpful as that is the date of the adoption of the WPLO.
Most docks in Westport also received authorization from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). This agency reports that repairs to docks already permitted by them are authorized under the General Permit for Dock Reconstruction.
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This general permit applies to the repair or replacement of previously existing and authorized commercial or residential docks, and must be reconstructed in compliance with its prior authorization within one year of the day of the damage (i.e. Oct. 30, 2013). Dock owners nned to register with DEEP, file a start-work notification prior to construction, and obtain a compliance certification upon completion of the construction. Residents should contact the DEEP Office of Long Island Sound Programs at 860-424-3034.
Property owners who have seawalls that were damaged should follow a similar path for repair. Properties that fall within the jurisdiction of the WPLO seawalls may be repaired or replaced to the height that was in existence prior to the storm via an administrative approval issued by the Conservation Department. A survey or similar drawing that demonstrates the height of the wall must be submitted as part of the application process. A copy of the original WPLO approval or proof of its existence prior to 1980 is also encouraged.
Similarly, most seawalls in Westport have been approved by DEEP. The DEEP General Permit for Minor Seawall Repair allows for minor repairs to existing authorized or legally installed seawalls. Permitted repairs include patching concrete, re-pointing mortar between stone, resetting fallen stones, and applying a skim coat to the face of the seawall. This authorization expires on Jan. 28, 2013. A copy of the original DEEP permit is also encouraged.
More substantial repairs are also allowed by DEEP for seawalls that have a permit, were installed prior to Jan. 1, 1995, or protect infrastructure or a residence in existence before Jan. 1, 1995. This allows for placement of rip-rap on slopes behind existing, damaged seawalls and repair or rebuilding to the pre-existing condition of seawalls, bulkheads and rip-rap revetments that have been previously authorized.
DEEP is requiring property owners apply retroactively for a Certificate of Permission within 30 days of April 30, 2013 to retain or continue the repair work.
The Conservation Department’s policy change to allow for issuance of administrative approval pursuant to the WPLO remains in effect until Aug. 1, 2013. It does not eliminate the need to seek authorization from the Planning and Zoning Department.
If residents are uncertain if their property falls within the boundary of the Waterway Protection Line Ordinance, they should contact the Conservation Department at 203-341-1170.