Author Topic: Thinking of installing a dock on the canal?  (Read 40 times)

Michael Caswell

  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 213
  • Location: Fairport NY
Thinking of installing a dock on the canal?
« on: April 27, 2019, 03:08:21 pm »
My own experience of this several years ago, was of complete frustration, as I struggled to keep the Permit Engineer and other officials happy. I already had a permit for a dock when I purchased my property. All I understood was that I paid $100 a year for a plaque with a number on it, nailed to this old dock. I had no idea there was a plan with drawings on it filed by my predecessor.
My dock was pretty dilapidated and to get onto it, I had to jump three feet from the bank because the shoreline had eroded so badly.  I also had a huge 3' diameter boulder close to the dock, so I built a smaller dock right over the boulder.

You can see the two docks in the photo. The new section was installed on the new permit and the left dock was removed. It left me having to remember not to come in on that side at the peril of losing a propeller.


The Permit Engineer must have spotted the two docks, and I was told that this didn't comply with my permit. So he eventually sent me a copy of it. Thankfully, the dock along the shoreline complied with the permit, but only because everyone told me it used to be there. The leg out to the T was there too.
So the process began, I had a permit issued to remove the second dock on the left. I had to apply for a new permit to change the old dock, because the channel was silting up and I needed to get into deeper water.
I was sent some paperwork, and the nightmare began. All sorts of vague statements were in the documents, raising many questions regarding the materials and designs. Timbers were mentioned regarding the preservatives used, but which preservatives? The Permit Engineer was non specific, so I suggested Home Depot treated lumber. I never got a solid answer, so I wrote telling them that was what I was using. No reply!
I did a computer Aided Drawing (CAD) of the intended dock, and they told me I needed to do the drawing in pencil. This was about the time I lost it with them.
I went through FIVE different departments to get approvals USACE, NYDEC, NYCC, Dept Of Historic Preservation and I think even FEMA was involved.

When I actually received the permit, I noticed one part a neighbor had been telling me about for some time. It said 'beautification'. I could beautify the land on my shoreline. So what did that mean exactly? I guess that all depended on what the Permit Engineer considered to be beautiful or ugly eh?

It's no wonder I'd heard so many people say they weren't going to apply for these permits, and just got on with their pet project. I think they've been frightened away from contacting this very uncooperative and hostile division of the Canal Corp.

This board is here to find solutions to these sorts of problems, so other folks can enjoy their docks etc. and the Canal Corp can learn how to present these regulations etc. in a better light. The process for dock permits definitely needs a huge overhaul.

« Last Edit: April 28, 2019, 05:38:32 pm by Michael Caswell »

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter


Rusty

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Thinking of installing a dock on the canal?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2019, 02:00:15 pm »
Quote
I did a computer Aided Drawing (CAD) of the intended dock, and they told me I needed to do the drawing in pencil. This was about the time I lost it with them.

I also created and submitted CAD models and dimensioned drawings but didn't have any issues with that. I was hesitant to do so because I thought they would expect even more from me but as an engineer myself I couldn't resist.

Quote
I went through FIVE different departments to get approvals USACE, NYDEC, NYCC, Dept Of Historic Preservation and I think even FEMA was involved.

Since my dock is permanent and affixed into the canal banks I also had to go through the NYSDEC and USACE with a joint application. My application was approved without any issues presuming because I'm in a landcut section and above the waterline. I believe the additional application material is only needed if the dock is permanent, floating docks just need approval from the Thruway authority I believe.

Quote
I could beautify the land on my shoreline. So what did that mean exactly? I guess that all depended on what the Permit Engineer considered to be beautiful or ugly eh?

My understanding of this is that you can do pretty much whatever you want with the land such as remove or plant trees, mow the grass, make and maintain a path, have a firepit, etc. keeping in mind that at anytime they could come through and reclaim the land for their own use.

Doug K

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 402
  • Location: Brockport
Re: Thinking of installing a dock on the canal?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2019, 08:23:08 am »
Just a note, all approvals for NY Canal work will funnel to NY Power Authority if needed.

NYS Thruway is out, years of mis-management of the Erie Canal forced the transfer of the Canal Corp to someone who understood what they owned, how to maintain it properly, and how to best use it to drive sustainability into the 21st century.

You and Mike should be moderators for this Forum Board, looks like you both have perspective that would help many EC Neighbors.