Adirondack Park Agency

News Release


December 09, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Further Information Contact: (518) 891-4050
Keith P. McKeever, Public Relations

ADIRONDACK PARK AGENCY SCHEDULES PUBLIC HEARINGS ON PROPOSED REVISIONS TO BOATHOUSE REGULATIONS

RAY BROOK, NY - The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has scheduled four public hearings to solicit public comments on proposed revisions to its Boathouse regulations. The four hearings are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

January 5, 2010, 6:00 p.m. Adirondack Park Agency Ray Brook, New York Hearing will be webcast live. Please see APA website www.apa.state.ny.us.

January 6, 2010, 6:00 p.m. Town of Webb Park Ave. Building 183 Park Ave. Old Forge, New York

January 7, 2010, 11:00 a.m. Department of Environmental Conservation 625 Broadway, Room 129B Albany, New York

January 7, 2010, 6:00 p.m. Lake George Town Hall Lake George, New York

The public may also submit written comments on this matter. Written comments will be accepted until January, 17, 2009.

Please submit written comments to:

John S. Banta, Counsel NYS Adirondack Park Agency P.O. Box 99 Ray Brook, New York 12977 Fax (518) 891-3938

Please provide any requests for specific accommodations to the agency representative designated above.

The current APA Boathouse definition was implemented in regulations adopted in 1979, and revised in 2002. The 2009 definition proposes specific roof, height and footprint criteria to replace the 2002 "single story" limitation. The revision clarifies design components and continues to prohibit the use of boathouses for anything other than boat storage.

Other uses, if independently built, would be subject to the shoreline setback requirements of the APA Act. For example, other structures such as decks, guest cottages, and recreation rooms are prohibited on the shoreline if greater than 100 square feet in size. Under prior regulations, landowners attached these components as part of what would otherwise be a boat berthing structure, and argued these components were part of the "boathouse" because the previous definitions did not specifically exclude them.

The 2002 definition limited boathouses to a "single story". However, the definition fails to prohibit large "attics", and extensive rooftop decks, resulting in some very large non-jurisdictional shoreline structures. The lack of clarity requires architect's plans and time-consuming staff evaluation.

The 2009 proposal retains the 2002 provisions that define "boathouse" to mean "a covered structure with direct access to a navigable body of water which (1) is used only for the storage of boats and associated equipment; (2) does not contain bathroom facilities, sanitary plumbing, or sanitary drains of any kind; (3) does not contain kitchen facilities of any kind; (4) does not contain a heating system of any kind; (5) does not contain beds or sleeping quarters of any kind"

The proposal adds: (6) has a footprint of 900 square feet or less measured at exterior walls, a height of fifteen feet or less, and a minimum roof pitch of four on twelve for all rigid roof surfaces. Height shall be measured from the surface of the floor serving the boat berths to the highest point of the structure.

The change is prospective only; lawful existing boathouse structures may be repaired or replaced pursuant to Section 811 of the APA Act within the existing building envelop. For those who wish to exceed the size parameters or expand a larger existing boathouse, a variance will be required. Standard shoreline cutting and wetland jurisdictional predicates still apply in all cases.

Shorelines are important to the Adirondack Park's communities and environment. The dynamic ecosystems that edge Adirondack Park lakes, wetlands, rivers, and streams are critical to both terrestrial and aquatic species. Well-vegetated shorelines serve as buffer strips, protecting banks from erosion, safeguarding water quality, cooling streams, and providing some of the Park's most productive wildlife habitat.

Large structures and intensive use at the shoreline causes unnecessary erosion and adverse impacts to critical habitat and aesthetics and raises questions of fair treatment of neighboring shoreline properties.

The Statutes and Regulations that the Agency is charged to administer strive to protect water quality and the scenic appeal of Adirondack shorelines by establishing structure setbacks, lot widths and cutting restrictions. However boathouses, docks and other structures less than 100 square feet are exempt from the shoreline setback requirements.

The mission of the Adirondack Park Agency is to protect the public and private resources of the Adirondack Park through the exercise of the powers and duties of the Agency as provided by law. With its headquarters located in Ray Brook, the Agency also operates two Visitor Interpretive Centers, in Newcomb and Paul Smiths. For more information, call the APA at (518) 891-4050 or visit www.apa.state.ny.us.

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