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SEQRA SERIES, PART 3 - Completing an Environmental Assessment Form (EAF)

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The type of Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) required depends on whether the action is classified as Type I, Unlisted, or Type II. This blog provides a guide to understanding and completing the correct EAF depending on the type of project, and whether an EAF needs to be completed at all.

Type I Actions

As discussed in last week’s blog, Type I actions are those with a higher likelihood of significant environmental impact. These projects meet or exceed specific thresholds outlined in SEQRA regulations, such as large-scale developments, major infrastructure projects, change of use(s) in a zoning district and affecting 25+ acres, or adopting a Comprehensive Plan.

Steps for Completing a Full EAF for Type I Actions:

  • Full EAF Part 1: Complete Part 1 of the Full EAF, which includes detailed information about the project’s location, purpose, and potential environmental impacts.
  • Submission and Coordination: Submit the completed Part 1 to the lead agency, which will distribute it to all involved agencies for a coordinated review. All involved agencies must agree on a lead agency within 30 days.
  • Public Participation: Engage with the public as required, allowing for scoping and commenting on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), if necessary (to be covered in a later blog).

Unlisted Actions

Unlisted actions do not meet Type I thresholds but are not exempt from SEQRA. They can range from minor land use changes to moderate-scale developments. It is context dependent.

Steps for Completing a Short EAF or Full EAF for Unlisted Actions:

  • Short EAF Part 1: Typically, a Short EAF is sufficient. Complete Part 1, providing basic information about the project and its potential impacts?.
  • Optional Full EAF: If the reviewing agency deems the Short EAF insufficient, you may be required to complete a Full EAF.
  • Review Process: The lead agency may opt for either coordinated or uncoordinated review. In coordinated review, the lead agency communicates with all involved agencies. In uncoordinated review, each agency conducts its own environmental assessment independently.

Type II Actions

Type II actions are predetermined to have no significant environmental impact and are thus exempt from further SEQRA review. Examples include building a single-family home, granting a setback or lot line variance, or adopting a moratorium.

Conclusion

Understanding which EAF to complete is a crucial step in the SEQRA process. Type I actions require a Full EAF and a coordinated review, while Unlisted actions typically need a Short EAF but may require a Full EAF based on the agency's discretion. Type II actions are exempt from further review, streamlining the process significantly. Proper classification and form completion ensure compliance with SEQRA and facilitate a smooth review process.

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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