Ellery Enacts Law To Protect Environment

BEMUS POINT – All new building permit applications involving a site less than 1 acre will require a sediment and erosion control plan approval in Ellery.

A public hearing was held recently for the purpose of considering adopting Local Law No. 1, entitled “The Town of Ellery Sediment and Erosion Control Law.” The town board unanimously approved the motion to adopt the law.

The law is focused on ensuring that the development and use of land within Ellery does not adversely impact local waterways, wetlands or adjacent land. Officials are seeking to keep the character of the community unchanged and continue protecting the environment.

“We worked on the law for two or three months,” said Arden Johnson, town supervisor. “We have always tried to protect the waterways and wetlands.”

“This law adds another facet to the permit process for making sure that sediment and erosion control requirements are being met,” said Robert Lucas, code enforcement officer. “The town didn’t have any means of enforcing erosion or sediment control before the law.”

Whenever a project needing a building permit will directly impact a body of water, stream, creek, wetland or waterway, the law requires individuals to gain approval by the code enforcement officer, or if applicable, the town board, before a permit will be issued.

Exempted uses include developments that create less than 2,500 square feet of land disturbance, normal building maintenance, agriculture land uses and incidental landscaping. Interior alterations that do not change the nature of a structure, exterior alterations that do not change the nature of a structure and any change of use where no change to the building footprint is proposed are also exempt. Roadside agricultural stands are not exempt.

Projects involving less than 2,500 square feet of land disturbance are not exempt from the law if any water flows through the project or water is adjacent to the project. Projects that contain wetlands or projects that are adjacent to wetlands are also not exempt.

All proposed building projects must address additional requirements including ensuring no soil particles exit any construction site by any means and ensuring that water runoff resulting from construction does not flow into neighboring properties or waterways. All construction sites must maintain erosion control measures and stabilize a single access entrance as per the erosion control plan.

The town may require a sediment and erosion control plan, paid for by the applicant, to be designed by a certified licensed professional engineer, registered landscape architect, registered architect or licensed design professional in the case of steep sites with slopes 12 percent or greater. A sediment and erosion control plan may also be necessary for projects where storm water or sediment may directly impact the waterway.

All sites larger than 1 acre are regulated by the Department of Environmental Conservation, according to Lucas.

“There may have to be changes made to the law in the future, but that’s something that we will deal with at that time,” Johnson said.

A complete copy of the law may be examined at the town clerk’s office, 25 Sunnyside Ave., Bemus Point, during normal business hours.