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SEQRA SERIES, PART 2 - Classifying the Action

Energy Environmental Government Accountability Historic Preservation Land Use & Zoning Municipal

SEQRA classifications fall into three categories: Type I, Unlisted, and Type II actions. Each category has specific criteria and implications for the environmental review process. This blog provides a comprehensive guide to understanding these classifications and when they come up.

Type I Actions

Type I actions are those that are more likely to have significant adverse impacts on the environment. These actions meet or exceed specific thresholds listed in SEQRA regulations. Examples include large-scale residential developments, certain infrastructure projects, and significant changes to zoning laws.

Key Points about Type I Actions:

  • Thresholds and Examples: Type I actions include projects such as developments that exceed 10 acres, proposals that affect historic resources, or projects that significantly alter existing land use patterns.
  • Review Requirements: These actions typically require a Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) and may necessitate the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).
  • Coordinated Review: A coordinated review is mandatory, meaning all involved agencies must agree on a lead agency to oversee the environmental review process?. This process will be covered in a subsequent blog post.

Unlisted Actions

Unlisted actions are those that do not meet the thresholds for Type I actions but are also not exempt from SEQRA review. This category encompasses a broad range of activities, from minor land use changes to moderate development projects.

Key Points about Unlisted Actions:

  • Flexibility in Review: Unlisted actions generally require a Short Environmental Assessment Form (SEAF). However, if the reviewing agency determines more detailed information is necessary, a FEAF may be required.
  • Discretionary Review: The lead agency has the discretion to determine the significance of the environmental impacts and whether a DEIS is needed.
  • Coordinated or Uncoordinated Review: Unlisted actions can undergo either coordinated or uncoordinated reviews. In an uncoordinated review, each involved agency conducts its own review and makes its own determination.

Type II Actions

Type II actions are predefined activities that are deemed to not have significant adverse environmental impacts and are thus exempt from further SEQRA review. These actions typically include minor or routine activities.

Key Points about Type II Actions:

  • Examples and Criteria: Common Type II actions include maintenance or repair activities, minor construction, and certain administrative actions like issuing permits for existing structures.
  • No Further Review Required: Once an action is classified as Type II, no further SEQRA review or determination of significance is required.
  • Documentation (Optional): Although not mandatory, agencies may document the classification of an action as Type II for their records?.

Conclusion

Correctly classifying an action under SEQRA is a critical first step in the environmental review process. Type I actions often require extensive review due to their potential significant impacts, while Unlisted actions allow for more flexibility based on the specifics of the project. Type II actions, being routine or minor, are exempt from further review. Understanding these classifications helps ensure compliance with SEQRA and facilitates informed decision-making for environmentally responsible development.

If you have questions about SEQRA, need assistance with SEQRA, or are seeking guidance with an Environmental or Land Use & Zoning matter, please contact Mindy L. Zoghlin, Esq., Jacob H. Zoghlin, Esq., or Ryan Ockenden, Esq.

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