More than 20 property owners along the Lake Ontario shoreline in Niagara County have received emergency general permits for projects to protect their property since Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a speeded-up permit process last week.
A spokesman for the Department of Environmental Conservation said that's more lakeshore work permits than were issued in all of 2016, when 18 were granted in Niagara County.
When one of the emergency permits is granted, it includes automatic approval of work plans by the Army Corps of Engineers, which previously had to review all projects separately, the DEC said.
Scores of property owners along the lake have been looking for ways to protect their land from erosion and flooding caused by unusually high water levels, which some blame on a new Lake Ontario management plan implemented by the International Joint Commission, and others blame on the heavy rains this spring.
Cuomo also announced Tuesday that a Department of Financial Services mobile command center will be set up from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the Olcott Fire Company hall, 1691 Lockport-Olcott Road, to assist property owners who have sustained flood damage with their insurance concerns.
Cuomo said he has formally asked the Corps for assistance in constructing temporary flood barriers along the Lake Ontario shore as needed. Cuomo last week declared a state of emergency in all lakeshore counties.
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