2008-10-17 / Letters

John Baxter Is RIGHT

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to John Baxter's letter in The Wave on October 3. He is 100 percent right about the Coastal Zone Management Act and the Waterfront Committee.

The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (CZMA) 16 USC section 1452 is comprehensive legislation enacted by Congress to have coastal states and municipalities effectively manage the coastal areas along the shore and inland. The CZMA requires the states to protect, preserve, maintain, and restore coastal areas and communities through orderly development, sensitive preservation of neighborhoods and natural areas; and maintain and increase public access to the waterfront. The concern is that New York State Coastal Management Program and New York City's Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP) revise the zoning and building code to further reflect the policies and standards and goals of the WRP and CZMA. This was partially accomplished this year except for 116 Street that was zoned out of character with the existing neighborhood scale.

In addition, the requirement includes to protect, preserve, restore, and maintain existing public access to the waterfront that include streets, easements on private property and any pedestrian way that connect to a waterfront area.

The City and state receive millions of dollars that have added up to billions to improve the coastal areas for the well being of all citizens of this and future generations. Instead, there has been out of character development with the elimination of public access areas throughout Rockaway in violation of the CZMA, which is federal law, and the WRP, which concurs with federal law under the CZMA.

The Waterfront Committee, a group of attorneys, has remained unresponsive to the citizens and its community in protecting the waterfront and their constituency.

The citizens can take action by contacting the Department of Commerce that approves annual award contracts under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is the agency that manages and administers the coastal management programs. NOAA is required by law to hold public hearings to get comment from the community. NOAA does not notify the community or the neighborhood associations and no one shows up at these hearings to participate in the important process, which is funded with taxpayer dollars. The funds are approved by Congressional Committee for use by NOAA.

If people want to participate through public hearings and letter writing they should look up NOAA and New York State Coastal Management Program and New York City's Waterfront Revitalization Program representative at NOAA, Carliegh Trappe and the director of NOAA, David Kennedy and make their interests known. Also ask to be put on the mailing list for future hearings.

NOAA and New York State are also required to do educational workshops on the CZMA and the coastal management programs, but I have not heard of workshops conducted in Rockaway. And what happened to the Waterfront Committee and the expenditure of our tax dollars where Rockaway has not received any benefits from either resource.

This is our community and we should all get to work together in preserving this beautiful coastal area.

RICHARD GEORGE

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