New York City Waterfront Revitalization Program - Overview

Recent Updates

Shaping New York City’s Waterfront and Waterways to Promote Growth, Equity, Resiliency and Sustainability

The New York City Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP) establishes the City’s policies for waterfront planning, preservation and development projects to ensure consistency over the long term. The goal of the program is to maximize the benefits derived from economic development, environmental conservation and public use of the waterfront, while minimizing any potential conflicts among these objectives. The WRP is authorized by New York State’s Waterfront Revitalization of Coastal Areas and Inland Waterways Act, which was enacted in response to the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act, and allows municipalities to participate in the State’s Coastal Management Program by creating their own local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

First time submitting a Waterfront Revitalization Program application? Download the PDF Document WRP User Guidance Manual to learn more about the program and find step-by-step instructions on completing a Consistency Assessment Form (CAF).

Projects that require certain federal, state and local discretionary actions that are located within and/or affect the PDF Document Coastal Zone are reviewed by a relevant government agency to assess the consistency of a proposed activity or project with the WRP’s ten policies. This process also serves to better coordinate activities and decisions affecting the waterfront between overlapping jurisdictions and multiple agencies. Examples of projects that undergo WRP review range from area-wide re-zonings to private shoreline construction projects to public infrastructure projects.  A proposed project may be deemed consistent with the WRP when it will not substantially hinder and, where practicable, will advance one or more of the ten WRP policies.

The City Planning Commission (CPC), in its capacity as the City Coastal Commission (CCC), and the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) are responsible for administering the WRP. The CCC reviews and makes WRP consistency determinations for local actions that come before the CPC, as well as reviews certain state and federal actions.  DCP reviews all other WRP consistency assessments that are not otherwise required to be reviewed by the CCC and leads all inter-agency coordination. DCP and CCC review of state and federal actions is advisory and for the purpose of consultation in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations.

The New York City Consistency Assessment Form (CAF) assists applicants in identifying the relevant WRP policies and certifying that the project is consistent with the WRP, and it should be completed when a local, state or federal application is prepared. The completed form and accompanying information are used by the New York State Department of State, DCP and other City or State agencies in their review of the applicant’s certification of consistency.  For projects that require State and Federal consistency review, such as with Joint Applications for Permits, WRP consistency review materials should be submitted to all involved agencies, including DCP. 

The table below clarifies which actions are subject to WRP consistency review, which entities make the consistency determination, and which materials required for the WRP review should be forwarded to DCP.  

The table below clarifies which actions are subject to WRP consistency review, which entities make the consistency determination, and which materials required for the WRP review should be forwarded to DCP.  

 

Actions subject to WRP Consistency Review

Consistency Determination by:

WRP Consistency Assessment Submission

Local

City Planning Commission (CPC) actions (e.g. ULURP) subject to City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR)

The City Planning Commission, acting as the City Coastal Commission (CCC), makes the consistency determination.

Include WRP Consistency Assessment Form (WRP CAF) with policy assessments in “Land Use, Zoning and Public Policy Chapter” of EAS/EIS.

City agency actions (no involved CPC action) subject to CEQR

The Lead City Agency makes the consistency determination, and the CCC or NYC DCP must concur.*

Include WRP CAF with policy assessments in “Land Use, Zoning and Public Policy Chapter” of EAS/EIS. Send copy to DCP for review.

State*

Direct Actions, Funding Actions,  and Permits Granted by a State Agency subject to
SEQRA review

(e.g., State highway construction, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation Permits)

 

Lead State Agency determines consistency and notifies NYS Dept. of State.

Send WRP CAF with policy assessments, along with SEQRA documents, to DCP.See Appendix C (Guidelines for Notification and Review of Federal Agency and New York State Agency Actions). Also, see NYS Dept. of State instructions for State Agency Actions. 

Federal**

Direct Actions or Permits Granted by a Federal Agency (e.g., FAA Funding, U.S. Army Corps. Permits) (See PDF Document Appendix A for a list of Federal Activities Affecting Land and Water Uses and Natural Resources in the NYS Coastal Zone)

NYS Dept. of State (DOS) concurs with or objects to an applicant’s determination.

DOS consults with DCP to discuss possible policy concerns that DCP has identified as part of its own review.*

Send consistency assessment and WRP CAF, along with a copy of other permit applications and environmental review documents, to DCP. See Appendix C (Guidelines for Notification and Review of Federal Agency and New York State Agency Actions). Also, see NYS Dept. of State instructions for Federal Permits, Funding or Agency Actions.

* The City Planning Commission, acting as the City Coastal Commission (CCC), and the Department of City Planning (DCP) are responsible for administering the WRP. The CCC reviews all WRP consistency assessments for actions that come before the City Planning Commission, as well as those that have the potential to substantially hinder one or more policies of the WRP.  The DCP reviews all WRP consistency assessments that are not otherwise required to be reviewed by the CCC and administers all inter-agency coordination.

** For projects that require State and Federal consistency review, such as with Joint Permit Applications, WRP consistency review materials should be submitted to all involved agencies, including the NYC Department of City Planning. 

All WRP application materials should be sent to DCP at:

Michael Marrella, Director of Waterfront and Open Space Planning
New York City Department of City Planning
120 Broadway, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10271
Phone: 212-720-3626
Email: wrp@planning.nyc.gov

1972 Federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) is approved, directing coastal states to create coastal zone management programs.
1981 New York State adopts the Waterfront Revitalization of Coastal Areas and Inland Waterways Act. This act enables municipalities to adapt statewide policies to local coastal management programs.
1982 New York City is the first municipality in the state to adopt a local program, referred to as the Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP).
1992 New York City releases its first citywide comprehensive waterfront plan, “Reclaiming the Edge”.
1999 New York City Council approves the first revisions to the WRP, titled the New Waterfront Revitalization Program, based on the 1992 comprehensive waterfront plan. The WRP is streamlined from 56 city and state policies to 10 policy areas.
2002 The New Waterfront Revitalization Program is approved by the New York State Secretary of State for inclusion in the NYS CMP, and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce concurs.
2011 New York City releases Vision 2020: the New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, which establishes new long-term goals for the city’s waterfront.
2013 The New York City Council approves revisions to the Waterfront Revitalization Program based on Vision 2020 as well as other recent planning efforts.
2016 The revised Waterfront Revitalization Program is approved by the New York State Secretary of State, and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce concurs.

2016 Revisions to the WRP

In order to advance the long-term goals laid out in Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, the City of New York has revised the Waterfront Revitalization Program. These changes were reviewed pursuant to the 197-a process set forth in the City Charter for community input and adoption, and received City Council approval on October 30, 2013. The WRP was approved by the NYS Secretary of State for inclusion in the State’s Coastal Management Program on February 3, 2016. The U.S. Secretary of Commerce concurred with the State’s request to incorporate the WRP into the NYS CMP.

The revisions to the WRP offer a more fine-grained set of policies to better address the City’s varied coastal conditions. Among the most significant changes, the revised policies promote climate resilient designs, encourage new opportunities for public access to the waterfront where appropriate and achievable, and improve interagency coordination to foster a clear, predictable development process. Notably, these policies for the first time address the risk of climate change and sea level rise by promoting the use of climate change projections in the planning and design of projects.

In addition, the Coastal Zone Boundary is updated to reflect the most recent FEMA Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (PFIRMs) from 2015. The two existing special area designations (Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas and Special Natural Waterfront Areas) have been updated to clarify and adjust boundary lines and to include new mapped areas. Additionally, three new special area designations have been created and mapped: Recognized Ecological Complexes, Priority Marine Activity Zones, and the West Shore Ecologically Sensitive Maritime and Industrial Area.

The New York City Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP) is the city's principal tool for managing activities occurring along the coastline. It establishes the City's policies for development and use of the waterfront and provides the framework for evaluating the consistency of local, state and federal discretionary actions within New York City’s Coastal Zone.

In 1972, the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) was passed to recognize the nation’s coastal resources and direct coastal states to create coastal zone management programs. In 1981, New York State adopted the Waterfront Revitalization of Coastal Areas and Inland Waterways Act. This Act enables municipalities to adapt statewide policies to local coastal management programs. New York City was the first municipality in the state to do so in 1982, with the first citywide Waterfront Revitalization Program. The program was revised in 2002 and again in 2016. Today, 34 out of the 35 coastal states in the U.S. have Coastal Zone Management Programs (Alaska withdrew from the program in 2011).

Vision 2020: NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan is a strategic 10-year plan for the City’s waterfront. The 2016 revisions to the WRP offer a mechanism to implement the goals and priorities of Vision 2020 in projects subject to WRP review.

Over the past 35 years, the relevant reviewing agencies have been able to ensure that thousands of public and private projects align with the City’s planning goals for the waterfront. The WRP consistency review rules have helped public agencies identify potential conflicts between overlapping regulations and policies. Through the WRP process, all regulatory bodies and applicants must consider a variety of goals, pursuant to the WRP’s policies, and seek modifications to projects or develop a plan that reconciles competing interests and advances as many policies as possible.

The NYC WRP Coastal Zone Boundary map shows the boundaries of the Coastal Zone. Visit the Maps & Policies page, where you can view or download the Coastal Zone map as a PDF or as GIS files.

The WRP consistency review is required for projects and actions that:

  • Are located within the Coastal Zone Boundary AND
  • Require at least one of the following:
    • A local discretionary action before the City Planning Commission, such as a zoning map change, special permit or zoning text amendment subject to City Environmental Quality Review (Type I or Unlisted Actions), or a city capital project subject to City Environmental Quality Review.
    • State agency actions and programs subject to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) (Type I or Unlisted). (See Appendix A for the list of State Activities Which Should Be Undertaken in a Manner Consistent with the LWRP)
    • Federal agency permits/authorizations, funding or direct actions. (See Appendix A for a list of Federal Activities Affecting Land and Water Uses and Natural Resources in the Coastal Zone of New York State)

Please send applications to:

Michael Marrella, Director of Waterfront and Open Space
New York City Department of City Planning
120 Broadway, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10271
Phone: 212-720-3626
Email: wrp@planning.nyc.gov

Applications for federal actions that require WRP consistency review should also be sent to the New York State Department of State.

For all projects within the NYC Coastal Zone Boundary, the WRP Consistency Assessment Form should be used. This form can be used in lieu of the State CAF or Federal CAF for state and federal actions.

WRP review does not have its own timeframe. Rather, WRP review is conducted within the applicable timeframes of the associated action or approval. For information on timeframes associated with Land Use Applications, visit the Applicant page.


Applications for actions within the city's Coastal Zone generally require submission of a PDF Document WRP Consistency Assessment Form (CAF), along with supporting material.

Please send applications, including the CAF, to:

Michael Marrella, Director of Waterfront and Open Space
New York Department of City Planning
120 Broadway, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10271
Phone: 212-720-3626
Email: wrp@planning.nyc.gov

This material was prepared for the New York State Department of State, with funds provided under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.