2013-03-01 / Letters

Coastal Law Can’t Be Ignored

Dear Editor,

Maybe Storm Sandy was a wakeup call for Rockaway. Maybe now our local politicians and our community board will admit that we are guided by city, state, and federal law, with the federal government having oversight and enforcement power in anything we build on the peninsula.

In the 1970’s, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, declared Rockaway a Coastal Zone Boundary, ocean to bay, from the tip of Breezy Point to the shorelines of Nassau County and therefore must follow the rules and regulations set forth in the Coastal Zone Management Act, CZMA, of 1972.

Did we do that? Of course not. Nobody is going to tell us what to do, right Community Board 14? We’ll tell them where to go, won’t we? Board 14 did exactly what the state and city told them to do, when to do it and how to do it, and to hell with the CZMA and Rockaway.

For example, Board 14 allowed Duane Reade to build illegally over Beach 116 Street and block the most important dock on the Peninsula for ferry-boat service. Board 14 never checked the fraudulent applications filed, or didn’t want to, in order to construct Duane Reade even though it was pointed out to them. The dock was washed away years ago but it is still on the maps.

One more thing. Board 14 allowed the development of Arverne to proceed in violation of the CZMA. One of the main ingredients in the CZMA is that existing public access and visual corridors to the shoreline cannot be diminished. They can only be enhanced. Drive by some of the Arverne Development and you will see that not only are the existing public access and visual corridors blocked, but there are houses built on the streets.

“It’s another fine mess you got me into Ollie, so it is.” Will any one of the 50 members and staff on Board 14 respond to this letter? Not a chance. They should, and start the process of redemption.

Bottom line is that one has to follow the money. It starts in the Commerce Department. A whole heap of money goes to NOAA, and NOAA distributes some of that money to the states with Coastal Zone Boundaries. New York State Coastal Management Program, CMP, gets millions of dollars each year.

Oh sure, the CMP trickles some of that to the New York City Waterfront Revitalization Program, WRP, and some of that is trickled down to the Rockaway Coastal Management Program, RCMP.

Oh good grief I forgot. Rockaway never formed the RCMP. Over the past 30 years Board 14, along with all of our elected officials, have deprived Rockaway of hundreds of millions of dollars that Rockaway was, and still is, entitled to, if only Rockaway would follow the CZMA in the planning and development of new projects. This is a clear example of incompetence and corruption. Maybe Storm Sandy shook the tree, but did it jar the sand in the ears loose?

JOHN BAXTER

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