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SEQRA SERIES, PART 7 - Preparing the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and the SEQRA Findings

Jul. 19th, 2024 11:00 am

The final steps in the SEQRA process involve preparing the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and issuing findings.

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

Jun. 28th, 2024 10:00 am

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.

SEQRA SERIES, PART 5 - Scoping and Preparing the Draft EIS

Jun. 21st, 2024 12:00 pm

The next steps in the SEQRA process involve scoping and preparing the Draft EIS (DEIS). Scoping is an essential step in the SEQRA process, aimed at identifying the significant environmental issues that need to be addressed in the DEIS. This process ensures that the DEIS is concise and focused on significant environmental impacts, avoiding the inclusion of unnecessary or irrelevant information.

SEQRA SERIES, PART 4 - Coordinated Review and Determining Significance

Jun. 14th, 2024 12:00 pm

The next steps in the SEQRA process involve coordinated review of the action amongst involved agencies, and a determination of significance of potential environmental impacts.

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

Jun. 7th, 2024 11:00 am

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.

SEQRA SERIES, PART 2 - Classifying the Action

May. 31st, 2024 12:00 pm

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.

SEQRA SERIES, PART 1 - What is the Purpose of SEQRA, and When Does it Apply?

May. 17th, 2024 11:00 am

In the realm of New York State environmental regulation, the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) stands out as cornerstone legislation. SEQRA mandates that all agencies must evaluate the environmental impacts of the actions they propose or approve. This blog post aims to shed light on the purpose of SEQRA and delve into the types of actions that necessitate SEQRA review.

Understanding Planned Development Districts: A Flexible Approach to Land Use

Apr. 18th, 2024 2:00 pm

In the realm of municipal planning, the concept of a Planned Development District (PDD) represents a shift in land-use control that departs from traditional zoning regulations. A PDD is a designated area where a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial uses can coexist under specific guidelines aimed at achieving efficient and compatible land use aligned with a community's comprehensive plan.

Historic Preservation Considerations in the Municipal Approval Process

Apr. 15th, 2024 12:00 pm

When navigating the intersection of municipal development and historic preservation, understanding the role of a Historic Preservation Board (HPB) becomes essential. These boards play a critical role in maintaining the architectural integrity and historical significance of properties within municipalities. Their involvement is required in a variety of circumstances, from individual property modifications to broader community development initiatives.

Importance of a Historic Preservation Board

HPBs extend their influence beyond merely vetting alterations to individual historic properties. Their oversight encompasses the entirety of historic districts, ensuring that new developments, renovations, and even demolition projects align with established historic preservation standards. This holistic approach is vital in maintaining the character and integrity of neighborhoods steeped in history.

When a Historic Preservation Board May Step In

For homeowners wishing to build or alter structures on their property, approval from the municipality's HPB is required if the property falls within a historic district and the construction is visible from the public right of way. This includes any exterior modifications visible from the street, such as adding windows, altering facades, or constructing additions. The municipality’s HPB would evaluate these changes for their impact on the historic character of the property and the surrounding area.

Large scale development projects have similar requirements. In these situations, the HPB’s role is to ensure that new developments respect the historical context and fabric of the area, which may influence zoning or planning decisions to protect historic assets.

Obtaining Approval from an HPB

When property owners and developers are seeking approval from a municipality’s planning and zoning board(s), historic preservation concerns may arise. A planning and zoning board(s) may either refer the application to the municipality’s HPB or may advise the applicant to approach the HPB itself. Applicants are often required to demonstrate, through presenting detailed plans, how their proposed changes contribute to the preservation of the property's historic value. An applicant will also need to demonstrate how the construction or alterations do not take away from the historic character of the district. If satisfied, a HPB may issue a Certificate of Appropriateness (or a similar instrument) which confirms that the construction or alterations do not offend the historic interests of the district.

Relation to Zoning and Environmental Issues

The involvement of HPBs often intersects with zoning laws and environmental regulations. For instance, zoning adjustments may be required to accommodate the preservation of historic structures, or environmental assessments may need to account for the impact on historically significant landscapes. The preservation process can thus influence and be influenced by broader municipal planning and development policies.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the work of HPBs is essential in preserving a municipality’s historic heritage, it is not without its challenges. Balancing the needs for preservation with demands for development and modernization requires nuanced decision-making. Furthermore, the financial implications of preservation, including funding for maintenance and restoration, can be significant. However, these challenges also present opportunities for innovation, such as adaptive reuse projects that repurpose historic buildings for new uses, breathing new life into old structures while retaining their historical significance.


HPBs play a pivotal role in balancing development with the conservation of historical heritage. Their approval is crucial for property owners looking to alter historic landmarks and for developers planning projects that impacts historic sites. This process ensures that growth and change within a historic district respects and preserves its historical and cultural significance, often intertwining with zoning and environmental considerations to promote sustainable development that honors the past.

If you have questions about historic preservation or need assistance navigating municipal approval processes as a property owner or developer, contact the attorneys at The Zoghlin Group for help. For inquiries related to, Historic Preservation, Land Use and Zoning, and Municipal Law, please contact Mindy Zoghlin, Esq., Jacob Zoghlin, Esq., or Ryan Ockenden, Esq.


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Inverse Condemnation: Property Rights & Government Actions

Apr. 12th, 2024 12:00 pm

When discussing property rights and government actions, terms like eminent domain and condemnation often come to mind. But what happens when private property is taken outside an eminent domain proceeding? That illustrates the lesser-known concept of inverse condemnation. In this blog post, we'll delve into what inverse condemnation entails, how it differs from eminent domain, examples of its application, and the remedies available.

Importance of a Comprehensive Administrative Record for Municipal Decision-Making

Dec. 3rd, 2023 10:00 am

Like the sunrise every morning, one thing is certain: there will always be people displeased with a municipal board’s decision-making. If a legal challenge to a municipal board decision happens, the administrative record that the board created for that decision is critically important.

Exploring Mediation Over Litigation in Land Use and Environmental Disputes

Nov. 20th, 2023 10:15 am

Today, the resolution of legal disputes — especially those involving land use and environmental laws, municipal decision-making, and community development projects impacting communities — often lead parties towards the courtroom.

Tips on Organizing Community Groups

Nov. 20th, 2023 9:30 am

New York State is home to diverse communities, each with its unique charm and character. Sometimes, development projects come knocking at our doors, bringing change that can disrupt our environment, neighborhoods, and way of life.

Understanding Type I Actions Under SEQRA

Nov. 9th, 2023 12:00 pm

New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) ensures that any state or local governmental decisions which may impact the environment are given due consideration. It’s a law that touches on various aspects of community life, from new construction to the adoption of land use plans. But what exactly triggers a Type I action under SEQRA? Let’s delve into this topic to uncover the significance of these actions and how they could affect you and your community.

Simplifying Civil Litigation: New York's Legal Landscape Transformed By Passage of New Law, Allowing Affirmations In Lieu of Affidavits in Civil Litigation

Nov. 7th, 2023 12:00 pm

In a progressive move towards streamlining the civil litigation process, New York State Governor Hochul recently signed into law bills that amend the New York Civil Practice Law & Rules (CPLR) Section 2106, marking a pivotal shift in the procedural dynamics of civil litigation. Effective from January 1, 2024, the amendments apply to both ongoing and future actions, aiming to remove bureaucratic hurdles that have traditionally impeded the swift progression of legal processes.

A New Vision for NYC: How Mayor Adams Aims to Implement New Zoning Practices to Solve the City's Most Pressing Problems

Nov. 7th, 2023 11:00 am

In an historic move, New York City is setting the stage for transformative change through comprehensive zoning reforms, collectively known as the “City of Yes” initiative.[1] This approach aims to address some of the city’s most pressing issues, including the housing crisis, the need for sustainable development, and the aspiration for a city-wide economic revitalization. This blog takes a look at the three cornerstone changes that are poised to reshape the city, while addressing necessary future considerations.

NYS's New Tech Hub Designation: A Catalyst for Development and a Test for Sustainable Practices

Nov. 7th, 2023 10:45 am

Upstate New York has the opportunity to enter a technological renaissance. In late October, the federal government, authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act, designated Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo as a national tech hub for computer chip manufacturing (NY SMART I-Corridor), and the Southern Tier for battery technologies and the energy storage sector (New Energy New York).

Elevating Communities: Understanding EPA's Environmental Justice Programs in New York

Nov. 7th, 2023 10:00 am

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking significant strides in addressing environmental and public health disparities across communities with its commitment to Environmental Justice (EJ) programs. In New York, these initiatives are receiving a substantial boost, with over $61 million in funding earmarked for projects that aim to empower and protect underserved communities. Let’s delve into what these programs entail, how they are funded, and the transformative impact they can have on New Yorkers.

Airbnb's Challenge to NYC's Short-Term Rental Rules Dismissed: Court Upholds Regulations

Sep. 1st, 2023 10:50 am

The landscape of short-term rentals in New York City is ever-changing, with a recent court decision adding another chapter to its evolving story. The New York State Supreme Court, in its landmark decision in “Airbnb Inc. v. New York City Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, New York County Index Number 154865/2023”, dismissed a lawsuit brought by Airbnb and short-term rental hosts against the city’s regulations on such accommodations.

The Power of State Constitutions: Montana's Recent Environmental Rights Ruling Explored

Sep. 1st, 2023 9:00 am

Constitutional rights form the backbone of our legal system. When these rights intersect with environmental concerns, the legal landscape becomes particularly intriguing. One such instance recently played out in Montana, offering insights and raising questions about similar provisions in state constitutions across the country, including New York State.

New York State's Green Amendment: An Examination of its Scope and Implications

Aug. 8th, 2023 12:10 pm

Effective January 1, 2022, New York State enacted a new constitutional amendment, known as the Green Amendment, or the Environmental Rights Amendment. Embedded within the New York State Constitution at Article I, Section 19, the Amendment assures each individual’s right to clean air, clean water, and a healthful environment. This significant constitutional change has drawn much attention, and it’s critical for residents, businesses, and government actors alike to understand what this amendment entails and how it might affect their interactions with the environment.

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