Rebuilding & Permitting (Nicole LaFountaine & Tad Paul)

Speakers from 11/17/2012 Community meeting  discussing permits

Commissioner of Building for the Town of Brookhaven - Martin Haley  
Principle Building Inspector - Craig Lucas 

Director of the Division of Environmental Protection - Jeff Kasner
Supervisor of the Division of Environmental Protection - Tom Corrano
Joyce D'Andrea - Permit Coordinator
Bob Reilly - Executive Assistant and contact for storm related damages

Town of Brookhaven Building Dept. # (631)- 451-6333
Division of Environmental Protection # 
(631) 451-6455

Town Building Department Establishes Project Re-Occupancy Hotline to Help Residents and Business Owners Re-Occupy Condemned Properties

November 7, 2012

Farmingville, NY – The Town of Brookhaven Building Department has established the Project Re-Occupancy hotline number to assist property owners whose homes and buildings have been condemned for occupancy in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This new service is provided to help all mainland and Fire Island residents and business owners to re-occupy structures that have already been, or will be posted unsafe for occupancy. 

Those property owners who are affected can call 631-451-9276 or e-mail to speak with a Building Department representative and schedule an appointment. For more information, go to the Town’s website at

Permitting Workshop/Meeting Summary

Nikki Laountain and Eric VonKuersteiner arranged a FIPPOA sponsored meeting at the Center yesterday for any owners affected by storm damage. I’m not sure how many people there were, but in excess of 100. The meeting was a first in terms of Brookhaven coming to Manhattan, with Commissioner Martin Haley leading a team of Tom Carrano (Department of Environmental Protection), Jeff Kasner (newly recalled after retirement), Craig Lucas from Art Gerhauser’s team (Building Inspectors) as well as Bob Riley, an assistant to Haley who will be in charge of coordinating storm repair permits, and Joyce (?) from the Plan Examiner area. I think everyone thought it pretty successful. The attitude was up-beat and helpful.


The Brookhaven staff did their best to outline how they could, and could not, streamline response to the need for storm repair permits. Their position is basically that all normal procedures and filing document requirements are still in place, but they will do their best to process things quickly, answer “how to/where to” questions quickly, and generally offer the same support they offered the Pines after the harbor fires. Permit questions can also be directed to Bob Riley, .

They clarified the nature of the emergency authorizations already issued (for temporary shoring, posting, sand bags, sand cubes, access walks, etc) and made it clear that they view any of that stuff as purely temporary, not an authorization for any permanent repair. So anything that is a full fledged repair, involving structure, will require a permit.


They did not have representation from the Highway Department, so the thorny question of whether owners will have to raise, or lower, their access walks and sheds to adjust to post storm boardwalk conditions is unclear. Jay has indicated that he will try to be in touch with the Highway Department on this issue.


Marty said that he and others had proposed to the Town Board on Thursday a relaxation of the code requirements for legal non-conforming properties concerning returning to the BZA every time a permit is needed. The wording they are seeking to insert in the code is:

An existing nonconforming building or structure used as a one- or two-family dwelling with a Certificate of Occupancy, a Certificate of Existing Use or its equivalent, located in the Residential District, whether located on a conforming lot or a nonconforming lot, may be structurally altered, restored, repaired or reconstructed, in whole or in part, provided that said building additions do not encroach deeper into any nonconforming front yard, side yard or rear yard than the distance into said front yard, side yard or rear yard that the existing buildings encroach, and that said accessory structures do not encroach deeper into any nonconforming front yard, side yard or rear yard than the distance into said front yard, side yard or rear yard that the existing structures encroach.”

This would obviously be tremendously helpful.


The situation they outlined for bay side homeowners is pretty clear. Full  permits are needed for bulkheads, any repairs involving structure, etc. Drawings and diagrams as would ordinarily be required for permits will still be required, but the plan examiners have been asked to provide on-the-spot Town Hall assistance to fill in details the homeowner may need for repairs. Old surveys are acceptable, there is no need for a survey update for filing.


The situation for homeowners on the ocean is the more worrisome. As Tom Carrano said, rather awkwardly, “I am the obstacle”, because he is in charge of the issuing of permits for the DEP and for making certain that the permits conform to the NYS DEC and CEHA (Coastal Erosion Hazard Area)rules. He explained that the procedures for getting replacement permits for decks and pools on the ocean side will be daunting: a process that will require filing with the DOB, and with the DEC, more than likely getting denied due to CEHA, appealing that denial to the BZA, and negotiating some kind of solution. After the meeting, in discussion, Carrano suggested that people might do best to file for deck replacement with the hope of getting that in place, and looking to put their pools on a longer track. Marty Haley also followed up by email with a clarification that although technical  property lines may not have changed, the elimination of the dunes may change the amount of buildable land for zoning and coverage purposes which could have an impact on filings. (85-1 Definitions  LOT  -- A parcel of land occupied or capable of being occupied by one building and the accessory buildings or uses customarily incident to it, including such open spaces as are required by this chapter. Upland only shall be deemed land; neither land underwater, shore, strand nor beach shall be deemed land for the purposes of this chapter.)   We have yet to hear from the DEC or FINS on their attitude toward rebuilding on the ocean side. This whole area is one where FIPPOA will keep pushing for clarification as to the most direct route for owners’ filings. Because of the confusions regarding CEHA, lot lines, and buildable areas, survey updates will be needed on the ocean side for permits.


I hope this is a reasonably accurate recap. Many thanks to Nikki, Eric, and all those in attendance.



Update, as of 12 November 2012



Experience with the email permit filings for the NYS DEC is showing that the State is being quite strict about the work for which it will issue the email permits. The approvable work is clearly listed  on the second page of the NOI papers (see prior posting). Email permit requests for work that falls outside the listed types of work are being rejected. What this means, practically speaking, is that the email DEC permits are mainly useful for temporary shoring of any structure, new access walks, sandbagging, and bulkheads.



Brookhaven has issued an Emergency Authorization (­attached) for certain kinds of emergency stablilization work, but it is less useful than the DEC's efforts. Almost nothing beyond true temporary bracing, sandbags, and access walks are covered. Thus this Authorization is useful for the houses on the ocean, but probably not elsewhere.



Tom Carrano of the DEP has indicated that the DEP will be studying ways to expedite permits from that agency. As we hear more we will update the information.


Nicole LaFountaine and Tad Paul will be in touch with the Building Department to see if they can take further steps to relax any of the pre-construction requirements for filings.


11-8-2012 5pm  Update   provided By  Board member Tad Paul

Filing for New York State (NYS) Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Permits for Storm Damage Repairs (8 Nov 2012)

The NYS DEC has jurisdiction over some bay side properties, some ocean side properties, and, on rare occasions some of the properties in between. The DEC also has jurisdiction over all bulkheads on the bay side of Fire Island. If a homeowner encounters a situation where a DEC permit is needed to do storm repairs, there is an expedited process that applies for certain kinds of work, inclusive of bulkheads. Any owner or any agent for an owner may fill out the attached form, called a Notice of Intent, and email it to the DEC. The instructions are pretty clear, and the kinds of work for which this permit can cover are clearly spelled out on Page 2. The DEC will accept the emailed document as the sole filing requirement. A copy of the general permit will be returned by email, usually within 24 hours, and work can begin immediately so long as any other required permits are also in place (see below).


Filing for Brookhaven Department of Buildings (DOB) and Department of Environmental Preservation (DEP) Permits for Storm Damage Repairs (8 Nov 2012)

The Brookhaven DOB has jurisdiction over repairs that concern large amounts of work, structural members, and new additions. In addition to the DOB, the Brookhaven DEP also has jurisdiction over repairs and new construction in or adjacent to the shore line and wetland areas. Neither of these departments has yet approved any expedited procedures for storm damage repairs, so until we hear more, we have to assume that filings will have to include all normal forms and submissions. We will post new information as we receive it.


·         REBUILDING AND THE PERMIT PROCESS: At the request of Jay Pagano, Nicole LaFountaine reached out to the Town of Brookhaven Building Dept. to discuss the numerous amount of damage to our community and how best to set up the rebuilding process. Commissioner Haley sent out an assessment team on Wednesday made up of building inspectors and fire marshals to assess structures, the ocean front, boardwalks, etc. Nicole is meeting with Commissioner Haley Monday to discuss their findings and prepare a course of action. Tad Paul reported that he has been in touch with the DEC working on the same things from that level. Both agencies will be vital for rebuilding bayfront bulkheads, and oceanfront property. In preliminary discussions it does appear that there will be a streamlined permit process for storm damage and a specific point person at the Town for Fire Island.


Expediting & Building Permits for Storm Damage Repairs


FIPPOA is organizing meetings and/or telephone calls with the affected state and local agencies (NYS DEC, Brookhaven DOB and DEP) to clarify the following:

 1.       what the requirements for filings will be, particularly in terms of surveys and drawings; our discussions will be aimed at minimizing, if possible, requirements for either new surveys or new drawings

 2.       "group permits" for things like all bayside bulkhead repairs, or ocean side deck repairs for homeowners wishing to avail themselves of that service; this has been done in the past, but we do not know yet whether it will be possible at this time

 3.       Blanket Permitting for other repairs

 Until these points are clarified, we feel that it is impossible for expediters or contractors to know how much work will be involved with storm damage filings, and for that reason we suggest waiting a few days for clarifications on both points. We hope to have this information - or at least an update - posted before Friday, November 9th.