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Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Application Process

Pre-Application Meeting: Once an application period is established by the Department of Economic Development and Planning (Department), applicants are required to attend a pre-application meeting with Department staff, prior to submitting a Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Application. Applications will not be accepted without having first attended a pre-application meeting. Information pertaining to the implementation of a Lease Application Cycle and the respective application period will be posted on the Lease Program website.

Lease Application Fee(s): A non-refundable lease application fee must be submitted with the complete lease application. The application fees are as follows:

Application Fees Non-Commercial 10-Acre Lease Commercial 10-Acre Lease Commercial Lease on Oyster Grant
Lease Term Case-by-case basis 10 Years; option to renew for an additional 10 years at the County’s discretion 10 Years; option to renew for an additional 10 years at the County’s discretion
Lease Application $150 (non-refundable) $150 (non-refundable) $150 (non-refundable)

Submission and Review of Application: Applications must be submitted via mail to the Department, along with their application fee during the application period established by the Department. The Department will review all applications received, and make a determination on applicant eligibility. The applicant shall be notified by receipt when the application was received and if it has been accepted by the Department. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant who may then resubmit their application with the missing information, provided there is adequate time remaining in the application period. Any applications received which are postmarked, after the final day of the established application period will not be accepted and shall be returned to the applicant.

Number of Leases Permitted: New lease applicants may only submit one application during a given lease application cycle. This limitation shall not apply to oyster grant owners that own more than one oyster grant and are applying for a lease on the same. Each applicant shall identify in the application three lease sites (one preferred 10- acre lease site and two alternative 10-acre lease sites), which they would be willing to lease if approved. Current leaseholders who wish to apply for a second lease site, please refer to "Second Lease Site Application Process". The Random Selection Process will be open to the public. All applicants will be notified of the results of the Random Selection Process.

Establish Application Priority: Subsequent to the close of the lease application period, if the aggregate acreage in new lease applications exceeds the acreage available under the annual acreage cap limit, the Department shall use the Random Selection Process to establish applicant priority and determine which applicants will proceed in the lease application process.

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 (Department); 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 sites are located; posted on the Lease Program website; and emailed to all who have signed up for notifications regarding ALP. The notice shall include the names of the lease applicants; the proposed lease site identification number(s); the name of the town where the lease site(s) is located; the lease site(s) coordinates; the proposed operation type (Commercial, Experimental/Educational, or Resource Restoration); and the proposed cultivation method (On-Bottom, Off-Bottom, On/Off-Bottom). The public will be able to submit written comments to the Department on the proposed lease sites during this two-month period. Once the Public Comment Period has concluded, the Department will send the applicant any comments and/or objections received during the public comment period.

Aquaculture Lease Board Meetings: The Department will issue a Meeting Notice, which announces the date, time and location of the Aquaculture Lease Board (ALB) Meeting, and will be posted on the Lease Program’s website. The ALB meeting is open to the public and lease applicants. During the ALB meeting, staff will present to the ALB members the lease sites that were applied for during the application period, and any comments and/or objections to a specific lease site submitted during the Public Comment Period. Lease applicants and/or members of the public will also be given the opportunity to make any additional oral comments on the proposed lease sites at that time. Once all comments are presented and/or heard, Department staff will present their recommendations to the ALB. The ALB, by majority vote, will make determinations based on a regional and environmental perspective on which potential lease sites will be approved; conditionally approved; or disapproved for leasing.

Notification: Subsequent to the ALB meeting, the Department will notify each applicant of ALB’s approval or disapproval of their proposed lease sites. Lease applicants shall be required to verify their desire to proceed with the lease execution and confirm their approved lease site selection. As required by law, all lease sites must be surveyed by a licensed land surveyor. Upon confirmation of the selected and approved lease site, the Department will provide lease applicants with the lease site boundary survey specifications and coordinates. All surveys must meet the requirements outlined in the Revised Administrative Guidance Appendix A. Lease applicants are responsible for the procurement and cost of the lease site boundary survey and boundary survey maps; the applicant shall have a period of six (6) months from the date of this notification to submit the required lease site boundary survey maps to the Department. As the lease site boundary survey map is a required attachment to the Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Agreement, a lease cannot be executed until the survey maps are received. Failure to submit the boundary survey maps within the specified six (6) month period may result in the termination of the lease application and the discontinuance of the lease execution process. During this six (6) month period, lease applicants may also start the process to submit permit applications to the applicable Federal and State regulatory agencies; and submit a copy to the Department.

Preparation of Lease: Once the Department receives the final copies of the lease site boundary survey maps, a draft Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Agreement (Lease) will be sent to the lease applicant for their review. Upon receipt of the draft Lease, the lease applicant will have forty-five (45) days to sign their Lease and associated documents. Lease applicants must contact the Department to schedule a date to come to the Department of Economic Development and Planning Office (H. Lee Dennison Building) to sign the documents. The lease applicant shall be required to submit the first annual lease rental fee payment to the Department upon signature of the Lease. Once the Lease is fully executed by the Department, an original shall be recorded in the Office of the Suffolk County Clerk. Leaseholders will receive an original Lease and copies of all recorded documents.

Shellfish Permits and Marking Lease Boundaries/Equipment: Leaseholders must obtain all permits and licenses required by the NYSDEC, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard and any other applicable regulatory agency prior to the conduct of any shellfish cultivation activities on their lease site. Leaseholders shall have six (6) months from the date of Departmental notification regarding the ALB’s decision to apply for all applicable Federal and State regulatory permits. Hard copies or pdf’s of all permit applications must be submitted to the Department to document the completion of this requirement. Lease site boundaries must be identified and marked according to requirements specified in Appendix B of the Revised Administrative Guidance. Once permits are issued, leaseholders must submit copies of the issued permits and/or approvals to the Department; and may deploy lease site boundary markers and shellfish aquaculture gear. Leaseholders must also contact the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to initiate chart/coastal pilot corrections prior to deployment of shellfish aquaculture gear on the site. It is strongly recommended that upon notification and selection of the approved lease site, lease applicants pursue their permits and the conduct of the lease site boundary survey concurrently. 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.

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