OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING THE COASTAL MANAGEMENT ACT AND SHORELINE FLOOD AND EROSION CONTROL STRUCTURES.
By law, a coastal site plan for a proposed shoreline flood and erosion control structure must be filed with a municipal zoning commission to determine whether it conforms with (1) the state Coastal Management Act (CMA), (2) the municipality's zoning regulations, and (3) applicable Department of Energy and Environmental Protection permit requirements.
This bill requires a municipal zoning commission to find a coastal site plan for such a structure consistent with applicable CMA policies to balance development and protection of the state's coastal resources in the coastal boundary if:
1. the applicant submitting the plan provides three alternative options, and
2. a structural engineer certifies that the options are consistent with such CMA policies.
If the commission does not agree with the structural engineer's certification, it must, as a condition of approving the plan, propose an alternative option that is (1) consistent with the same policies, (2) practical, and (3) have a total project cost of less than 15% of the assessed value of all structures on the property. Under the bill, a coastal site plan for a shoreline flood and erosion control structure that complies with these provisions is consistent with applicable CMA policies.
The bill also makes a technical change.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage
Shoreline Flood and Erosion Control Structure
By law, a “shoreline flood and erosion control structure” is any structure to control flooding or erosion from tidal, coastal, or navigable waters, including breakwaters; bulkheads; groins; jetties; revetments; riprap; seawalls; and placing concrete, rocks, or other significant barriers to flood water flows or sediment movement along the shoreline (CGS § 22a-109(c)).
Coastal site plans for such structures must show that the activity is consistent with CMA goals and policies which include, among other things:
1. discouraging uses that do not allow continued natural rates of erosion;
2. preserving the dynamic form and integrity of natural beach systems to provide critical wildlife habitat, a sand supply reservoir, a buffer for coastal flooding and erosion, and recreational opportunities; and
3. promoting nonstructural solutions to flood and erosion problems except where structural alternatives are unavoidable and necessary to protect certain structures, facilities, and uses (CGS § 22a-92(b)).
The “coastal boundary” is the furthest inland of (1) the 100-year-frequency coastal flood zone, (2) a 1,000-foot setback from the mean high-water mark, or (3) a 1,000-foot setback from the inland boundary of the tidal wetlands (CGS § 22a-94(b)).
sHB 5128, favorably reported out by the Environment Committee, makes several changes to the CMA including, among other things, requiring the consideration of sea level rise in coastal site plan reviews and preventing certain reconstruction after a casualty loss.
The Environment Committee also reported out SB 351, which adds cemetery and burial grounds to the list of land uses that can be protected by structural solutions in the coastal boundary.