RESOURCES PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION
New York State Coastal Policy 20
ACCESS TO THE PUBLICLY-OWNED FORESHORE AND TO LANDS IMMEDIATELY ADJACENT TO THE FORESHORE OR THE WATER'S EDGE THAT ARE PUBLICLY-OWNED SHALL BE PROVIDED AND IT SHALL BE PROVIDED IN A MANNER COMPATIBLE WITH ADJOINING USES.
Explanation of Policy
In coastal areas where there are little or no recreation facilities providing specific water-related recreational activities, access to the publicly-owned lands of the coast at large should be provided for numerous activities and pursuits which require only minimal facilities for their enjoyment. Such access would provide for walking along a beach or a city waterfront or to a vantage point from which to view the seashore. Similar activities requiring access would include bicycling, birdwatching, photography, nature study, beachcombing, fishing and hunting.
For those activities, there are several methods of providing access which will receive priority attention of the Coastal Management Program. These include: the development of a coastal trails system; the provision of access across transportation facilities to the coast; the improvement of access to waterfronts in urban areas; and the promotion of mixed and multi-use development.
While such publicly-owned lands referenced in the policy shall be retained in public ownership, traditional sales of easements on lands underwater to adjacent onshore property owners are consistent with this policy, provided such easements do not substantially interfere with continued public use of the public lands on which the easement is granted. Also, public use of such publicly-owned underwater lands and lands immediately adjacent to the shore shall be discouraged where such use would be inappropriate for reasons of public safety, military security, or the protection of fragile coastal resources.
The following guidelines will be used in determining the consistency of a proposed action with this policy:
1. Existing access from adjacent or proximate
public lands or facilities to existing public coastal lands and/or waters shall
not be reduced, nor shall the possibility of increasing access in the future
from adjacent or nearby public lands or facilities to public coastal lands
and/or waters be eliminated, unless such actions are demonstrated to be of
overriding regional or Statewide public benefit or, in the latter case,
estimates of future use of these lands and waters are too low to justify
maintaining or providing increased access.
The following is an explanation of the terms
used in the above guidelines:
a) (See definitions under first policy of "access", and "public lands or facilities").
b) A reduction in the existing or anticipated level of public access - includes, but is not limited, to the following:
(1) Pedestrian access is diminished or eliminated because of hazardous crossings required at new or altered transportation facilities, electric power transmission lines, or similar linear facilities.
(2) Pedestrian access is diminished or blocked completely by public or private development.
c) An elimination of the possibility of increasing public access in the future - includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) Construction of public facilities which
physically prevent the provision, except at great expense, of convenient public
access to public coastal lands and /or waters.
(2) Sale, lease, or other conveyance of public
lands that could provide public access to public coastal lands and/or waters.
(3) Construction of private facilities which physically prevent the provision of convenient public access to public coastal lands and/or waters from public lands and facilities.
2. The existing level of public access within public coastal lands or waters shall not be reduced or eliminated.
reduction in the existing level of public access - includes, but is not
limited to, the following:
(1) Access is reduced or eliminated because of hazardous crossings required at new or altered transportation facilities, electric power transmission lines, or similar linear facilities.
(2) Access is reduced or blocked completely by any public developments.
3. Public access from the nearest public roadway
to the shoreline and along the coast shall be provided by new land use or
development, except where (a) it is inconsistent with public safety, military
security, or the protection of identified fragile coastal resources; (b)
adequate access exists within one-half mile; or (c) agriculture would be
adversely affected. Such access shall not be required to be open to public use
until a public agency or private association agrees to accept responsibility for
maintenance and liability of the accessway.
4. The State will not undertake or directly fund
any project which increases access to a water-related resource or facility that
is not open to all members of the public.
5. In their plans and programs for increasing
public access, State agencies shall give priority in the following order to
projects located: within the boundaries of the Federal-Aid Metropolitan Urban
Area and served by public transportation; within the Federal-Aid Metropolitan
Urban Area but not served by public transportation; outside the defined Urban
Area boundary and served by public transportation; and outside the defined Urban
Area boundary but not served by public transportation.
6. Proposals for increased public access to coastal lands and waters shall be analyzed according to the following factors:
(a) The level of access to be provided should be in accord with estimated public use. If not, the proposed level of access to be provided shall be deemed inconsistent with the policy.
(b) The level of access to be provided shall not cause a degree of use which would exceed the physical capability of the coastal lands or waters. If this were determined to be the case, the proposed level of access to be provided shall be deemed inconsistent with