After you have considered your options, follow the steps below to gain the environmental and regulatory information needed for decision making. The steps are listed in general order although some steps may be conducted concurrently.
1) Contact local, state and/or federal regulatory officials. Begin by working with your local zoning enforcement office and/or on a FEMA firmette to determine if your property is in a mapped flood zone and if so, what building requirements apply.
2) Consult with and/or hire a professional such as a coastal engineer or environmental consultant familiar with CT DEEP’s permitting process who can assist you in the preparation of the application and plans. In most cases local, state, and/or federal regulators can help direct you to the best professional discipline to assist with your specific project. Sometimes it is helpful to have the consultant completing the environmental assessment and the construction contractor present at regulatory consultation meetings.
3) Evaluate your risk. Check your insurance coverage to make sure you have adequate liability coverage related to loss due to shoreline erosion, as well as flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurance company.
4) Prepare a Coastal Site Plan. Construction activities landward of the Coastal Jurisdiction Line may have adverse impacts on coastal resources and may need a Coastal Site Plan. The Coastal Site Plan does not need to be prepared by a professional in all cases; however, a good, clear plan can improve the efficiency and timeliness of any permitting that may be required. Good plans also will be beneficial to the construction contractor and can help avoid costly mistakes during the construction process.
5) Be Neighborly. If the planned project involves work at or near a property boundary, or may affect an abutter’s “viewshed,” consider sharing the plan with the abutter(s) to make sure they fully understand the work to be performed and the potential impact to their property. This consultation is a courtesy at this stage, and not a regulatory mandate; however, obtaining “buy in” from abutter(s) can potentially avoid neighbor disputes that may lead to costly permitting and/or construction delays.
6) Need a local permit? Share plans with local zoning enforcement to determine what, if any, town ordinances may need to be followed. Local zoning requirements will determine the acceptable activities and location(s) for coastal construction. A coastal site plan must be filed with the local municipal zoning commission for any proposed building, use, structure or shoreline flood and erosion control structure fully or partially within the coastal boundary. In addition to undertaking stormwater management practices, precautions must be taken to prevent direct construction-related impacts to adjacent resources. The Connecticut Coastal Management Manual contains a Municipal Coastal Management Review Process Flowchart.
7) Need a state permit? Connecticut’s permit authority through DEEP’s Office of Long Island Sound Programs (OLISP) regulates all activities conducted in tidal wetlands and in tidal, coastal or navigable waters in Connecticut waterward of the Coastal Jurisdiction Line (CJL) under the Structures, Dredging and Fill Act and the Tidal Wetlands Act. Three types of permits are issued for activities conducted along the coast, depending on the nature of the work proposed: individual permits, Certificates of Permission (COP) and General Permits. Each involves a different review process, as explained in the overview of Connecticut’s coastal permit program. Before submitting a permit application, you should consult with staff from OLISP to determine the appropriate permit process. A pre-application meeting is strongly recommended prior to the submittal of an application. DEEP recommends that you consult with a professional such as a land surveyor, engineer or environmental/marine consultant familiar with the Department’s permitting process who can assist you in the preparation of the application and plans. Call 860-424-3034 to request an application package and to schedule a pre-application meeting with the appropriate Permitting and Enforcement analyst who is assigned to the town in which you are proposing the project.
8) Need a federal permit? If the plan involves work below the highest annual tide (HAT) and/or in a freshwater wetland or habitat for endangered or threatened species, a federal permit(s) under the Federal Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act may be required. Share the plan with all applicable federal authorities to determine what permits may be necessary. Any applicant for a federal Army Corps of Engineers permit for work that would result in the discharge of dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States, including wetlands, may also be required to obtain a state Water Quality Certificate from DEEP pursuant to Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. Such work or discharge must be consistent with the provisions of the federal Act and with the Connecticut Water Quality Standards. Generally, certification is made in conjunction with issuance of a state permit under the structures, dredging and fill statutes. In cases where an Army Corps permit is being sought, the applicant may qualify for authorization under a Programmatic General Permit (PGP), which is a more expedited process.
9) Hire qualified contractors who are experienced with the best practices associated with construction in or adjacent to the shoreline.
See a Beach, Dune and Coastal Flooding Checklist.to help you conduct a field inventory of your property and identify and rank beach and dune hazards.