City Launches Website To Help Waterfront Builders From Harlem To Hollis

May 12, 2016

west harlem pierCrains New York reports that applicants for construction permits on waterfront property can end up waist-deep in bureaucracy, but a new website will help them navigate.

The Waterfront Navigator website, funded by the Empire State Development Corp. and the city, aims to be a one-stop shop for users to figure out which permits they need from which agencies, and how to get them.

The city, state and federal government all have jurisdiction over the coastline and local landowners sometimes need sign-off on environmental compliance from all three levels of government before beginning normal city buildings permit processes.

“New York City has long been a global maritime hub for waterfront business owners and development, yet it has been a perennial challenge to navigate the complicated waterfront permit application process,”  said Maria Torres-Springer, president of the city’s Economic Development Corp., in a statement. “This is largely because of the multiple layers of federal, state, and local entities with jurisdictional responsibility for waterfront construction permitting.”

The Department of City Planning, state Department of State and Department of Environmental Conservation, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are all involved. Permits are not always needed from all four agencies, but sometimes they are. Each agency can require multiple permits, and applicants often must accumulate up to a dozen in total, according to the EDC.

Applicants frequently submit incomplete applications or confuse details including formatting on plans and drawings, EDC said, mistakes that can slow the process or send permit seekers in circles. The navigator website—an example of the de Blasio and Cuomo administrations working together—will clarify what types of site photographs, drawings and forms are needed based on project specifications.

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