Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

What, When, and a Start on How

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "What, When, and a Start on How"— Presentation transcript:

1 What, When, and a Start on How
WELCOME TO “SEQR 101" What, When, and a Start on How -We are not attorneys disclaimer

2 New York State Environmental Quality Review Act
What Is “SEQR”? New York State Environmental Quality Review Act Statute is Article 8 of NYS Environmental Conservation Law Ch. 43, Consolidated Laws of NYS Regulations are Part 617 of Title 6 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (”6 NYCRR”) -1975 State Environmental Quality Review Act - Passed by Legislature & Signed by Governor, - Regulations written at the agency level for implementation of Law

3 Purpose of SEQR Incorporate the consideration
of environmental factors into an agency’s decision making process at the earliest possible time - key idea is that a state or local agency’s discretionary decision is the trigger mechanism. - SEQR Scales, not scales of just rather the balance of Economic, Social, and Environmental considerations. - Read Page 1 (d) of regs.

4 What Are “Environmental Factors”?
SEQR Defines Environment Broadly Resources or characteristics that could be affected by an action, including: -Land, air, water, minerals -Flora, fauna -Noise -Features of historic or aesthetic significance -Population patterns -Community character - SEQR interprets the term environment very broadly - The Environment does not pertain to just Natural Resources.

5 What is An “Agency”? State Agencies County Legislatures
A public body which has jurisdiction by law to fund, approve or directly undertake an “action” State Agencies County Legislatures Town or Village Boards City Councils Planning Boards Zoning Boards of Appeal School Boards - Notice absence of Federal Agencies - Point out agencies that you believe the audience are members of

6 Involved, Interested and Lead Agencies
Who are they? What are they? An Involved Agency is a public body which has jurisdiction by law to fund, approve or directly undertake an action An Interested Agency is a public body which does not have jurisdiction over a project, but wishes to participate in the process because of its expertise or specific concern The Lead Agency is an involved agency and is responsible for determining whether an EIS will be required, and for its preparation and filing if it is required 6 -Describe each type of agency and give scenario example NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

7 Agency is the Decision-Maker
Must have independent, statutory decision- making authority May rely on staff or consultants for expert advice or administration of process May not delegate decisions or conclusions - What work of the SEQR process must be performed by the reviewing agency and to what extent outside help may be relied upon.

8 What Is An “Action”? When an Agency:
Sponsors, undertakes or approves projects or physical activities Conducts planning or policy-making that may commit the agency to a future course of action Adopts rules, regulations or procedures Combinations of the above - 3 groups of actions - Physical actions directly performing or approving - Build a road, Build a school, approve subdivision, approve wetland permit •Site plan Review •Zoning Variance •Subdivision review - Planning or Policy making •Municipal land use plan, planning board Adopt rules & regs •100' from 50' general permit for stream conditions •Give a local government example

9 How SEQR Works Agency Proposes Action or Receives Application
Action Classified * Lead Agency Established Significance of Action Determined * Environmental Impact Statement, If Needed Findings and Agency Decision * *This slide is an overview of the entire SEQR process of which each step will be further explored throughout the presentation..... SEQR is an sequential process which can have varying levels of review.... *indicate steps where the process can end. - Agency proposes an action or receives an application .School district proposes building a school .Town gets an application for a subdivision - Action Classified, Type I, Type II, Unlisted - Lead agency established - Significance of Action .Based on EAF Review .Neg Dec .Pos Dec - DEIS, EIS - Findings SEQR Process Can Conclude At Any of These Points *

10 When Is the “Earliest Possible Time”?
Start SEQR: Early enough to affect all decisions which could impact the environment, location as well as design But far enough into planning that the range of available choices can be defined. When an application is received or a discretionary decision is made

11 When An Agency Undertakes a Project:
SEQR should be started at the earliest stages of project planning -Site selection is part of “action” when government is sponsor -Bond resolution also part of action -Exemption in regulations for preliminary studies -Don’t wait for final site plans For example - new public or municipal facilities like schools, offices, roads, parks -feasibility of scoping out a site for a school vs choosing one of the sites .preliminary studies exempt (Type II (21) ... Conduct concurrent environmental, engineering, and economic feasibility studies

12 When Agencies Fund or Approve a Project:
As an “Involved” Agency, SEQR Begins When an Application is Received -Review of and decisions on wetlands or other state and local permits for site work -Review and decisions on state or local highway access applications -Review and approval of applications for state grants and loans - SEQR begins when an application is recived

13 SEQR for Planning and Policy-Making
Agencies “Involved” If Decisions May Commit Them to Future Actions Comprehensive or program plans -SEQR applies to the planning, not only to individual resulting projects Also applies to formally-adopted policies that could affect the environment -Not new personnel rules or operating hours for public facilities Local laws and ordinances Analyze before adopting Planning and Policy Making - Municipal land use plan .Industrial, Residential, Agricultural zoning - Not Type II (20) Routine Agency Administration

14 “Actions” Under SEQR Thought Questions:
What typical local activities would be “actions” under SEQR? Why, or why not?

15 Local Legislative Body Zoning Board of Appeals
Agencies may not Act … Local Legislative Body Planning Board Zoning Board of Appeals … Before complying with SEQRA 15 NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

16 When an Agency is Sponsor:
How Do You “Start SEQR”? When an Agency is Sponsor: ▪First “involved agency” ▪Should identify other state or local agencies who may be “involved” ▪May reach out to other agencies during project planning to clarify jurisdictions and interest ▪Must “classify” the action

17 When an Agency Reviews:
How Do You “Start SEQR”? When an Agency Reviews: First agency to receive an application responsible for initiating SEQR process First involved agency must identify other state or local agencies who may be “involved” based on one or more jurisdictions over the project, for example: -Highway access -Natural resource-based permits -Local land use approvals First agency must “classify” the action

18 “Classifying“ the Action
Look at the “Whole Action” Consider all components, phases or aspects of a proposal Examples: -Projects to be undertaken in phases -Sequenced new construction plus conversions of old facilities -Projects requiring siting decisions followed by final site design -Determining location as well as design of new residential facilities - Whole Action, Segmentation - give a segmentation example, Happy Acres Subdivision...

19 Classifying Actions Type 2 A Type 2 classification concludes SEQR
Most maintenance or repair including upgrading buildings to meet building and fire codes Purchase or sale of equipment New non-residential uses under 4,000 sq.ft. Routine educational activities, including expansion under 10,000 sq.ft. or school closing, but not new use following closing Statutory exemption A Type 2 classification concludes SEQR -list in regs that are presumed benign -617.5 -End of SEQR, Note to file to show SEQR was performed

20 Classifying Actions Type 1 Carry the presumption that they may have a
significant adverse impact on the environment, and more likely to require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) - list in regs, 617.4 - Presumption of significant impact leading to EIS - Full EAF to Determine Significance - Coordinated review (indicate that will be explored later)

21 Classifying Actions Unlisted Fall between the two “listed” categories
Type 2 Fall between the two “listed” categories Examples: -New 20-unit apartment building -New non-residential use of 10 acres or less -Parking for less than 1,000 cars -Other activities not specifically listed in either 617.4 or 617.5 Require that SEQR continue Type 1 617.5 617.4 - Not on Type I or type II List - Full EAF or Short -Coordinated or Uncoordinated Review

22 Why Classification Matters
Sets Basic Review Requirements Type 1 Actions: -Must “coordinate” with other “involved agencies“ -Must use Full EAF (Environmental Assessment Form) Unlisted Actions: -May choose whether to coordinate -May use Full or Short EAF Type 2 Actions -No further review required - Determines level of review an action will receive -reiterate the info from Type I, Type II, Unlisted slides

23 What is Coordinated Review?
Establishes a “Lead Agency” to Conduct a Single, Integrated Environmental Review of Proposed Actions Lead Agency is responsible for the conduct and administration of the SEQR review process Must have its own decision-making authority May not delegate to an advisory body - one agency serves as the lead agency to conduct the review even though their may be multiple involved agencies. (Just read do not explain to next slide)

24 Coordinated Review: How?
Start by Establishing Lead Agency Agency which proposes a project or first receives an application must: -Identify all potentially “involved” agencies -Send EAF Part I plus supporting maps or related materials to those agencies -Advise each that SEQR Lead Agency must be established Involved agencies should establish Lead Agency within 30 days of notice Lead Agency should be established by consensus Frame in experiences with lead agency response letters

25 Uncoordinated Review Unlisted Actions Only
Each agency acts independently -Do separate environmental reviews Allowed under 617 but individual agency rules or policy may require otherwise If any agency finds that a project may have significant adverse environmental impacts, uncoordinated review ends: -Must coordinate for Lead Agency -Other uncoordinated environmental reviews superseded - uncoordinated until any one agency identifies a significant impact

26 Lead Agency If only one agency has jurisdiction, then it is the Lead Agency If more than one agency has jurisdiction, a Lead Agency is selected from among them by consensus 26 NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

27 “Involved” Agencies Thought Questions:
Are there other agencies who are typically “involved” in your local projects? What is the basis for their being “involved”?

28 Lead Agency Determines “Significance”
Sets Path of Environmental Review Analyze EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) No EIS Pos Dec Neg Dec EAF Plus Plans or Application Lead Agency should determine significance within 20 days of being established.

29 Review Starts With the “EAF” (Environmental Assessment Form)
Project, Site and Impact Descriptions Part 1: Site and Project Descriptions -Prepared by Project Sponsor Part 2: Potential Project Impacts and Magnitudes -Prepared by Lead Agency Part 3: Importance of Impacts Identified in Part 2

30 Find and Use Additional Sources:
Evaluate the EAF Part 1 Find and Use Additional Sources: all project designs, studies, maps, applications or other documents available to date resource and reference maps published sources other agencies local resources

31 Systematic Analysis by Category to Identify Potential Impacts
Part 2: What Is Affected? Systematic Analysis by Category to Identify Potential Impacts -Land -Water -Air -Plants & Animals -Agricultural Land -Aesthetics -Historic & Archaeological -Open Space & Recreation -Critical Environmental Areas -Transportation -Energy -Noise & Odor -Public Health -Growth & Community Character

32 Determine Magnitude of Impacts
Part 2: How Big an Effect? Determine Magnitude of Impacts Lead Agency must show assessment Identify potential impacts of proposed action -“Yes” if any impact possible -“Maybe” should be treated as “Yes” Compare elements of proposed action to examples and thresholds -Size only: small-to-moderate v. large -Large impact is not always significant impact Be reasonable -Use Part 2 examples as a guide Review Project as proposed by the project sponsor

33 Part 3: Weighing Impacts
Evaluate potential impacts One or more potentially large impacts identified in Part 2 Describe impacts identified in Part 2 -Include design features which avoid or reduce potential impacts ▪Decide if any of the impacts identified as “potentially large” are important

34 Using the Environmental Assessment Form
Thought Question: Who is responsible for the evaluations in Parts 2 and 3 when the lead agency is also the project sponsor?

35 Determining Significance
What You Are Looking For Impairment of “Community Character” Adverse changes to the environment Reduction of wildlife habitat Hazard to human health Substantial change in the use of land Creating a conflict with adopted community plans or goals 35 NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

36 Determination of Significance
Must Be In Writing ▪Review the “Whole Action” ▪Identify all relevant impacts ▪Analyze / Take a “Hard Look” * ▪Provide “reasoned elaboration” -explain why impact may, or will not be, significant * H.O.M.E.S. v NYS Urban Development Corporation 69AD 2d 222, 418 NYS 2d 287 (4th Dept., 1979)

37 Determination of Significance
Be Explicit in Your “Reasoned Elaboration” ▪ State whether you find each potential impact likely, significant, or neither ▪ Describe mitigation included in the project plans ▪ Name sources you rely on to reach your conclusions ▪ Explain how cited sources support your

38 Determination of Significance
Positive Declaration ▪ Lead agency determines that the action has the potential to cause or result in: -at least one -significant -adverse environmental impact ▪ “Low threshold” for requiring an environmental impact statement

39 Determination of Significance
Negative Declaration ▪ Lead agency must conclude that project as proposed will have no significant adverse environmental impacts, because: -no likely impacts were identified -no identified impacts are significant -Identified significant impacts are mitigated ▪ Written determination must include reasons behind conclusions

40 After the Determination of Significance
Two Possible Pathways After a negative declaration, SEQR has been completed Planning, design or review continue under fundamental agency mandates After a positive declaration, SEQR review continues Next step is defining content of the EIS Integrates with standard process when draft EIS is accepted Leads to findings in support of decision

41 Optional but recommended
Scoping the Draft EIS Optional but recommended ▸Focus on significant issues ▸Identify necessary information ▸Identify alternatives or mitigation to minimize impacts ▸Enable other agency and public input

42 Analytic, NOT Encyclopedic
DEIS Content Analytic, NOT Encyclopedic Describe the Action Define Location Describe the Setting Evaluate Potentially Significant Adverse Environmental Impacts Identify Potential Mitigation Measures Discuss Reasonable Alternatives DEIS

43 Lead Agency “Accepts” After Review
Draft EIS Lead Agency “Accepts” After Review DEIS often prepared and submitted by sponsor Lead agency reviews to determine if DEIS is “adequate” -May be returned to sponsor for revision -Must provide specific written comments or suggested changes - Lead agency has 45 days for review days if resubmission

44 Required Element of SEQR
Public Comment on DEIS Required Element of SEQR Minimum is 30 day public comment period after filing Notice of Completion of DEIS Hearing is optional under SEQR: -May run concurrently with any other required hearing on the same project -Minimum of 14 days advance notice of hearing -Must start no less than 15 and no more than 60 days after Notice of Completion of DEIS SEQR public comment period must continue at least 10 days after hearing closes Notice of Completion

45 FEIS: Lead Agency Product
Lead Agency Responsible for Accuracy and Adequacy DEIS and any revisions All comments received Lead agency responses to all substantive comments + DEIS FEIS =

46 Lead Agency is responsible.
FEIS Preparation Lead Agency is responsible. For projects where lead agency is reviewing an application, FEIS should be completed: -within 45 days after a public hearing OR -within 60 days after the DEIS Notice of Completion if there is no public hearing Notice of Completion of FEIS starts a 10-day public “consideration” period No involved agencies can issue findings and final decisions until those 10 days have run

47 Linking the EIS to Agency Decisions
After the FEIS Linking the EIS to Agency Decisions Lead Agency must file Notice of Completion of Final EIS No sooner than 10 days after that notice, lead and every other involved agency must each issue their own findings and decisions -“Findings” are rationale for each agency’s decision -Comprehensive, reasoned elaboration based on EIS -Must certify that selected alternative, or mitigation measures, avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts

48 Agency Final Decisions After SEQR
SEQR Findings after an FEIS may be made concurrently with final decision on project Negative Declaration may be made No enforcing entity named in the statute, so SEQR is enforced through the courts Significant factors in SEQR challenges: -Standing of litigants -Statute of limitations -Timing of challenges

49 Compliance Must Be “Substantive” and “Literal”
Complying with SEQR Compliance Must Be “Substantive” and “Literal” ▪ “Substantive”: agency must evaluate all potential impacts of a proposed action -Not just those within its own jurisdiction ▪ “Literal”: agency must follow SEQR’s procedural requirements -Appropriate to integrate SEQR with other reviews -But other reviews may not be substituted for or be represented as equivalent to SEQR’s requirements

50 Rules Vary by Project and Decision
Filing & Notice Rules Vary by Project and Decision File with involved agencies, applicant, CEO of municipality, and individuals who request copies For: -Type 1 Negative Declaration -Notice of Completion of Draft or Final EIS -Notices of Hearing (if any) -Findings Also publish in “ENB”: -Type 1 Negative Declaration; -EIS Acceptance or SEQR Hearing Notice Retain in lead agency files: -Unlisted Negative Declaration As of 2/26/06: ALL EIS’s to be posted on “publicly- accessible” website(s), unless “impracticable”

51 A Few Practitioners’ Tips
Think “Back to Basics” ▪Involve the public early -provide thorough and accurate information ▪Establish and maintain communication links with all parties: -sponsors, other agencies, and the public ▪Remember why we “do SEQR”: -to balance environmental with other values in decision-making ▪Prepare documents to guide and support agencies’ decisions

52 For More Information NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Environmental Permits 625 Broadway Albany, NY (518) NYS Department of State 41 State Street Albany, New York 12231 (518) (Counsel’s Office) (518) (Division of Local Government Services)

Download ppt "What, When, and a Start on How"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google