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Lease Assignment Process

A leaseholder that no longer wishes to retain their lease may apply to assign their lease to a new entity, provided that shellfish aquaculture activities were put into operation by the Leaseholder on the subject lease area. The proposed Assignee must meet the eligibility criteria outlined in Section 3.1 of the Revised Administrative Guidance document (RAG).

Pre-Application Meeting: Prior to submitting an application, the Assignor (leaseholder) must contact the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning (Department) to schedule a pre-application meeting with Department staff, the Assignor and the Assignee. Applications submitted without the conduct of a pre-application meeting, involving the aforementioned parties, will not be accepted. Please be advised that, pursuant to the Revised Administrative Guidance (RAG) Section 4.8 A.) Lease Assignment, "No profit shall be made by the lessee [Assignor] in the assignment of a lease."

Application Fees: A non-refundable lease application fee must be submitted with the complete Lease Assignment Application. The application fees for lease assignments are as follows:

Application Fees Non-Commercial 10-Acre Lease Commercial 10-Acre Lease Commercial Lease on Oyster Grant
Lease Assignment $200 (non-refundable) $200 (non-refundable) $150 (non-refundable)

Submission and Review of Application: Subsequent to the conduct of the pre-application meeting, one Lease Assignment Application shall be completed by the Leaseholder (Assignor) and the proposed Assignee and submitted to the Department via mail, along with the application fee. The Department will review the lease assignment application and shall make a determination on the Assignor and Assignee's eligibility based upon all criteria outlined in the RAG. The Assignor and proposed Assignee shall be notified by receipt when the application was received and if it has been accepted by the Department. Incomplete applications will be returned.

Public Comment Period: Public Notice shall be provided for at least two months by posting such notice in the Office of the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning; the Office of the Suffolk County Clerk; the Office of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Division of Marine Resources; the Clerk’s Office of the five East End towns; and the Office of the East Hampton, Southampton and Southold Town Trustees. Such notice shall also be published in the official newspaper(s) of the County; a local newspaper where the lease site is located; posted on the Lease Program website and emailed to all who have signed up for notifications regarding ALP. The notice shall include the name of the current leaseholder (Assignor); the name of the proposed Assignee; the lease site identification number; the name of the town where the lease site is located; the lease site coordinates; proposed operation type (Commercial, Experimental/Educational, or Resource Restoration); and proposed cultivation method (On-Bottom, Off-Bottom, On/Off-Bottom). The public will be able to submit written comments to the Department on the lease site during this two-month period. Once the comment period has concluded, the Department will send to the Assignor and proposed Assignee any comments and/or objections received during the Public Comment Period.

County Review and Decision: Comments submitted during the Public Comment Period will be reviewed by Department staff; all credible comments and/or objections will be considered by the Department while making a determination to approve or disapprove the subject lease assignment. Such approval or disapproval is within the discretion of the Department and made by the Director of Planning. The Assignor and proposed Assignee will receive a letter notifying them of the Department’s determination. If approved the notification letter will include required next steps and a deadline to respond. Please be advised, the proposed Assignee shall accept the terms of the lease, such as the lease site location, term of lease and Annual Lease Rental Fee "as is".

Preparation of Lease: Provided the Department has approved the lease assignment, staff will proceed with the preparation of the draft lease assignment document, entitled “Assignment of Shellfish Aquaculture Agreement with County Consent” (hereinafter referred to as “Lease Assignment”) and will send a draft of this document to the Assignor and proposed Assignee for their review. The Assignor and proposed Assignee will have 45 days from the date of transmittal of the draft Lease Assignment to contact the Department and schedule a date and time to come to the Department to sign the required Lease Assignment and other necessary documents. Please note the Assignor and proposed Assignee do not need to sign the Lease Assignment documents on the same day but each much sign the document within the 45-day period noted above. Failure to execute the Lease Assignment documents within the 45-day time period may result in the termination of the application, and discontinuance of the lease assignment execution process. Once the Lease Assignment document has been fully executed it will be recorded in the Office of the Suffolk County Clerk. An original will be sent to the Assignee (who will, at that point, be the official leaseholder) and to the Assignor, along with all recording documents.

Shellfish Permits and Marking Lease Boundaries/Equipment: Lease site boundaries must be identified and marked according to requirements specified in Appendix B of the RAG. The assignee must obtain all permits and licenses required by the NYSDEC, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard (PATON permit); prior to conducting any shellfish cultivation activities on the lease; copies of issued permits should be submitted to the Department. Leaseholders shall have six months from the date of the approval notification from the Department to submit permit applications to the applicable Federal and State regulatory agencies. Hard copies or pdf’s of all permit applications shall be submitted to the Department to document the completion of this requirement. If the required regulatory permit applications have not been submitted within the established timeframe this shall be cause for termination of the lease by the Department. Copies of issued permits should be submitted to the Department. Leaseholders must also submit photos of boundary markers to document their continued maintenance and compliance with Lease Program Requirements.

Leaseholder Annual Report: Upon execution of the Lease Assignment, the Assignee shall assume all responsibilities and requirements of the Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Agreement; and is responsible for completing and submitting the Leaseholder Annual Report form to the Department, 30 days before the lease anniversary date (start of lease term), along with a payment of the annual lease rental fee and the SC Form 22, each year that they retain the lease. Failure to fulfill the annual reporting requirements or payment of the annual lease rental fee shall be cause for termination of lease by the County.

Suffolk County Government

H. Lee Dennison Bldg

100 Veterans Memorial Hwy
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Riverhead County Center

County Road 51
Riverhead, NY 11901