Ohio Coastal Management Program
Shore Structure Permits
In 1955, the state of Ohio began requiring permits for the construction of shore erosion, wave and flood control structures as an early effort to protect and manage Ohio's Lake Erie shore. Permits were initially issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) through its Division of Shore Erosion, then after 1961 through its Chief Engineer and then through the Division of Water. As of July 2007, Shore Structure Permits are signed by the Director of ODNR.
What requires a Shore Structure Permit?
A Shore Structure Permit must be obtained prior to the construction of an erosion, wave or flood control structure along the Ohio shore of Lake Erie. Shore structures commonly include nourished beaches, seawalls, stone revetments, bulkheads, breakwaters, groins, docks, piers and jetties.
Is a permit needed for the repair or rehabilitation of a structure?
A Shore Structure Permit may be required to do repair or rehabilitation work depending on the type of work being performed, when the structure was originally constructed, and any approvals that were originally obtained. Please contact ODNR at 419-626-7980 prior to beginning any repair work.
How is a Shore Structure Permit application obtained?
The application form and detailed instructions are provided in the ODNR Coastal Permits and Lease Booklet (pdf format) which can be downloaded here or obtained from the ODNR Office of Coastal Management at 105 West Shoreline Drive, Sandusky, Ohio 44870 or by calling 419-626-7980. A Shore Structure Permit application should be submitted to ODNR at least three months prior to the planned start of construction.
Be sure to submit a complete application, including drawings and specifications prepared by an Ohio registered Professional Engineer and a copy of all design calculations, analyses, or supporting documentation used by the Professional Engineer.
Is there a fee to apply for a Permit?
There is no fee to apply for a Shore Structure Permit, but the services of an Ohio registered Professional Engineer will need to be retained.
What does ODNR look at in the application?
Is the proposed shore structure of sound coastal engineering design? The structure's function and integrity, as well as the stability of the bank or bluff, must be addressed to maximize the shore structure's effectiveness.
What is the proposed shore structure's impact to the shore as a natural resource? Most notably, the impacts to the nearshore wave climate, littoral transport, sand resources, and public safety are assessed.
Potential and cumulative impacts are also considered. An acceptable shore structure will have a minimal (or thoroughly justified) impact on adjacent properties, the shoreline and Lake Erie. Does the proposed shore structure comply with all applicable ODNR regulations? These regulations frequently include Submerged Land Leases (Section 1506.11 ORC) and Coastal Erosion Area Permits (Section 1506.07 ORC). A Shore Structure Permit will not be issued until all other applicable ODNR authorizations have been obtained.
ODNR’s review of the application, which usually includes a site visit, may generate comments that are sent to the applicant. These comments may simply suggest ways to improve the effectiveness of the structure or may outline specific concerns that the applicant must address before a Permit will be granted. The applicant may need to provide additional design information or modify the proposed design to address these comments.
When is a Shore Structure Permit issued?
A permit will be issued if:
- the application is complete,
- ODNR's review does not generate any concerns, and
- all applicable state regulations (including Submerged Lands Leasing) are complied with, a Shore Structure Permit can be issued within 120 days.
Delays beyond ODNR's control frequently occur because the application received is not complete or all applicable state regulations are not complied with.
Can ODNR rush a Permit?
ODNR strives to issue every Permit in a timely manner, but an "emergency" or expedited procedure for issuing a permit does not exist. To facilitate the permitting process, contact ODNR as early in the planning process as possible.
How long is a Shore Structure Permit valid?
A Shore Structure Permit is generally valid for two years after the date it is issued. All construction activities must be completed within those two years and according to any conditions listed in the Permit. A time extension may be granted if a written request is received before the Permit expires. After the Permit is issued, another site inspection may be conducted to ensure the structure is constructed in accordance with the Permit.
What if a shore structure is not in the water?
A Shore Structure Permit can be required for structures built in or partially in the water, completely out of the water, or above the Ordinary High Water Mark. Furthermore, a Shore Structure Permit is required for structures built along the shore of the islands, bays and inlets, including Sandusky Bay.
In other words, a Shore Structure Permit may be needed for structures that do not require a U. S. Army Corps of Engineers' permit or a Lake Erie submerged lands lease.
Is a Professional Engineer necessary?
Yes. Passage of Amended Substitute Senate Bill 182 in 1994 changed the Shore Structure Permit statute such that all plans and specifications, submitted as part of the application for a Shore Structure Permit, must be prepared by an Ohio registered Professional Engineer.
Understand that a Professional Engineer is not just providing professional drawing services, but is designing and professionally certifying the structure.