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SEQRA SERIES, PART 6 - Public Comment Period and Public Hearing

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The next steps in the SEQRA process involve opening up SEQRA review for the project/action for public comment on the Draft EIS (DEIS), and then potentially holding a public hearing on it, too.

Public Comment Period

Once the DEIS is prepared, it is made available for public review and comment. This period allows for public scrutiny and suggestions ensuring that all potential environmental impacts and concerns are considered.

Typically, the minimum duration for the public comment period is 30 days, but it can be extended depending on the project's complexity or the level of public interest. This extension ensures that stakeholders have adequate time to review and respond to the information presented in the DEIS. Comments can be submitted in writing or electronically, depending on the options provided by the lead agency. These comments should address specific aspects of the DEIS, such as environmental impact analyses, mitigation measures, or the consideration of alternatives.

Comments received during this period play a crucial role in the SEQRA process. They can lead to revisions of the DEIS, prompt further studies, or result in changes to the proposed action to more effectively mitigate identified environmental impacts.

Public Hearing

The public hearing process under SEQRA provides a formal forum for public discussion and input on the DEIS. While not always required, a public hearing may be held if there is significant public interest in the project or if the potential environmental impacts warrant broader discussion.

If a public hearing is to be held, it is typically scheduled during the public comment period. Notice of the hearing is given at least 14 days in advance to maximize participation. The hearing offers a platform for oral comments and presentations by the public, stakeholders, and project sponsors. It is an opportunity for direct interaction with the lead agency and provides a space for clarifying concerns, asking questions, and discussing the content of the DEIS. All comments and discussions had during the hearing are recorded and become part of the public record. This ensures that the input received is considered alongside written comments in the final decision-making process.

The feedback obtained through the public hearing, together with the written comments from the public comment period, informs the finalization of the EIS. This comprehensive consideration of public input is fundamental in ensuring that decisions are made with a full understanding of the potential environmental impacts and community concerns.


The public comment period and hearing process are essential components of the SEQRA review, embodying the spirit of public participation and transparency in environmental decision-making. By providing a structured avenue for feedback and discussion, these phases ensure that environmental reviews are comprehensive, inclusive, and reflective of the community's environmental values and concerns. Through these mechanisms, SEQRA not only protects New York's environmental resources but also fosters a participatory approach to environmental governance.

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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