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Old 06-15-2021, 01:39 PM   #1
Onshore
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Default New Optional Online Registration Process and Dock Registration Rules

Beginning June 15, 2021, owners of legally existing non-tidal docking structures in need of repairs or maintenance will have an alternative to obtaining a Wetlands permit to authorize the work. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is introducing a new voluntary registration process that the owners of legally existing non-tidal docking structures can participate in that will allow their structures to be exempted from the usual repair permitting requirements. This new registration process is faster, easier, and less expensive ($200) than the existing Permit By Notification, Expedited Minimum, or Standard Wetlands permitting processes ($400).

The new registration process can also benefit owners of seasonal structures that do not require repair permits. Often the owners of seasonal structures lack documentation illustrating that the structures are compliant with RSA 482-A. This can cause delays when buying or selling property while the owner is searching for a historic permit or evidence that the structure was built before 1978. Registration only requires that the structure has existed since January 1, 2000 and registered structures will, by law, be considered to be in compliance with RSA 482-A. Thus registering seasonal structures may reduce delays and facilitate property sales.

Again this new process is only available for legal non-tidal structures, and also cannot be used for residential structures over public waters. NHDES has developed an online registration process to facilitate and streamline the use of this new option for those that choose to participate and register their docking structures. Registrations will need to be renewed at the end of their five year term to remain valid. The renewal process will also be available online.

More detailed information about the adopted interim rules can be found in the following two fact sheets: New Voluntary Non-Tidal Docking Structures Registration Process (WB-28), Permitting for Private, Non-Commercial Freshwater Docking Structures (WB-19). A video from a recent outreach session to explain the new electronic submission process can be found here. The new online registration process and paper form can be found at this url: https://onlineforms.nh.gov/?formtag=nhdes-w-06-096.
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Old 06-15-2021, 05:50 PM   #2
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Can you give some examples of just what sort of "repair" and "maintenance" work hits the threshold of something that would require a permit of any sort? I would think that, for example, if a plank on a removable deck section for a seasonal dock developed a split then simply replacing that plank would not require any permit. Or am I wrong?
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Old 06-15-2021, 06:19 PM   #3
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Again this new process is only available for legal non-tidal structures, and also cannot be used for residential structures over public waters
As Winnie is "public water", does this mean that the new process does not apply for docks here?

Alan
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Old 06-15-2021, 10:39 PM   #4
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DES has stated on multiple occasions that "Temporary seasonal docks" are not an environmental issue. To me, they should get out of the business of things that are not an environmental issue, but they, like any bureaucracy, just can't give something up. It is hard to tell from Onshore's post if DES is giving up an issue where they never should have been in the first place (my opinion). By drawing TSD's into the law, DES put themselves in the awkward position of resolving lot line and grandfathered dock placement, grandfathered positions, etc. Now, they are trying to move out of that situation, but there is some history that is difficult to ignore.
Especially on small lakes in southern NH where folks have moved in and converted camps to year round housing, the questions about dock placement and grandfathering are most complex, but they need to set rules that apply to all lakes. Very difficult. I appreciaite Onshore's posts to keep us up to date.
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Old 06-16-2021, 05:22 AM   #5
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Onshore, Is this new registration process for seasonal docks only? Is the grand-fathering date of 2000 (moved from 1978) also only for seasonal docks?
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Old 06-16-2021, 07:48 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by DickR View Post
Can you give some examples of just what sort of "repair" and "maintenance" work hits the threshold of something that would require a permit of any sort? I would think that, for example, if a plank on a removable deck section for a seasonal dock developed a split then simply replacing that plank would not require any permit. Or am I wrong?
Repairs to permanent docking structures that occur in the water require a permit under RSA 482-A. (For the record, this is not a new requirement. This has been true since July 1, 1969. See image attached documenting jurisdiction in May 4, 1970.) So repairs of pilings, cribs, concrete piers, and resetting breakwater material would have required a permit but could now be completed without one if the structure is registered. Repairs of deck boards, stringers, and caps that are completed "in the dry" do not require a permit. Repairs to seasonal docks that are made while the dock is out of the water during the winter also do not require permits.
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Old 06-16-2021, 08:17 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Slickcraft View Post
As Winnie is "public water", does this mean that the new process does not apply for docks here?

Alan
The process definitely applies to docks on Winnipesaukee. I think you are misunderstanding the language "cannot be used for residential structures over public waters." This is not intended to mean docking structures attached to residential use properties. The language in the law prohibits registering residential structures that are located completely, or in part, over the public waters. So if there is a camp / house that extends out into the lake and the dock is directly connected to the camp / house, then it could not be registered.
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Old 06-16-2021, 08:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Descant View Post
DES has stated on multiple occasions that "Temporary seasonal docks" are not an environmental issue. To me, they should get out of the business of things that are not an environmental issue, but they, like any bureaucracy, just can't give something up. It is hard to tell from Onshore's post if DES is giving up an issue where they never should have been in the first place (my opinion). By drawing TSD's into the law, DES put themselves in the awkward position of resolving lot line and grandfathered dock placement, grandfathered positions, etc. Now, they are trying to move out of that situation, but there is some history that is difficult to ignore.
Especially on small lakes in southern NH where folks have moved in and converted camps to year round housing, the questions about dock placement and grandfathering are most complex, but they need to set rules that apply to all lakes. Very difficult. I appreciaite Onshore's posts to keep us up to date.
NHDES does the work the NH Legislature and Executive Branch assigns to it. As early as 1969 laws were adopted to regulate non-tidal docks and require that they receive approve from the State. In 1978, language was added to those laws by the NH Legislature, with the signature of the Governor, making it clear that these laws applied to seasonal docks in non-tidal waters as well. NHDES was not created until 1985, at which time the NH Legislature, with the approval of the Governor, assigned these pre-existing responsibilities to it by incorporating the pre-existing Water Resource Board and the Special Board into the newly formed agency.

We at NHDES are truly hopeful that this new tool granted to us by the NH Legislature will allow us to fulfill the responsibilities they have previously assigned to us in a more efficient and transparent manner.
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Old 06-16-2021, 08:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lil' Barndoor Guy View Post
Onshore, Is this new registration process for seasonal docks only? Is the grand-fathering date of 2000 (moved from 1978) also only for seasonal docks?
This process is available to the owners of both seasonal and permanent docking structures. The qualifying date for all structures, seasonal and permanent, for which no permitting history can be found is January 1, 2000.
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