[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Beacon 5-16-1977 (Art. VI of Ch. 8 of the 1972 Code of Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is enacted pursuant to Article 8 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law providing for environmental quality review of actions which may have a significant effect on the environment.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Environmental Quality Review Law" of the City of Beacon.
It is the intent of the City Council that:
Environmental factors be incorporated into the existing planning and decisionmaking processes of all City agencies.
All agencies shall conduct their affairs with an awareness that they are stewards of the air, water, land and living resources and that they have an obligation to protect the environment for the use and enjoyment of this and all future generations.
Protection of the environment and enhancement of human and community resources shall be given appropriate weight along with social and economic considerations, and all these factors shall be considered together in reaching decisions on proposed actions. A suitable balance of social, economic and environmental factors shall be incorporated into the planning and decisionmaking processes of all agencies.
The processes set forth in this chapter shall, as far as possible, be integrated into existing agency procedures and shall not result in undue delays in agency planning and decisionmaking.
The following terms, phrases, words and their derivatives shall have the meanings given herein:
- Any activity of any agency, except an exempt action as defined in this section, including, without limitations:
- A. Physical activities, such as construction, destruction or other activities, including the approval thereof, which change the use or appearance of any natural resources or structure.
- B. Funding activities, such as the proposing, approval or disapproval of contracts, grants, subsidies, loans, tax abatements or exemptions or other forms of direct or indirect financial assistance.
- C. Licensing activities, such as the proposing, approval or disapproval of a lease, permit, license, certificate or other entitlement for use or permission to act.
- D. Planning activities, such as site selection for other activities and the proposing, approval or disapproval of master or long-range plans, Zoning Maps and Ordinances, development plans or other plans designed to provide a program for future activities.
- E. Policymaking activities, such as the making, modification or establishment of rules, regulations, procedures, policies and guidelines.
- Any City department, official, officer, employee, board, agency, commission, council, district, public benefit corporation or public authority, including the City Council.
- Draft environmental impact statement.
- DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
- A preliminary environmental impact statement prepared pursuant to § 107-8 herein.
- Environmental impact statement.
- The physical conditions which will be affected by a proposed action, including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, noise, features of historic or aesthetic significance, existing patterns of population concentration, distribution or growth and existing community or neighborhood character.
- ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
- A detailed statement setting forth the matters specified in § 107-7 herein. It includes any comments on a draft environmental impact statement which are received pursuant to § 107-8D and E herein and the agency's response to such comments, to the extent that such comments raise issues not adequately resolved in the draft environmental impact statement.
- EXEMPT ACTION
- Any one of the following:
- A. Enforcement or criminal proceedings or the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in determining whether or not to institute such proceedings.
- B. Ministerial actions, which are actions performed upon a given state of facts in a prescribed manner imposed by law without the exercise of any judgment or discretion as to the propriety of the action, such as the grant of a driver's license, although such law may require, in some degree, a construction of its language or intent.
- C. Maintenance or repair involving no substantial change in an existing structure or facility.
- D. Actions requiring a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need under Articles VII and VIII of the Public Service Law and the consideration of, grant or denial of any such certificate.
- E. Except as set forth in § 107-11 herein, actions undertaken or approved prior to the effective dates of this chapter. An action shall be deemed to be undertaken or approved prior to such dates if, in the case of construction activities, a contract for substantial construction activities has been entered into or if a continuous program of on-site construction or modification has been engaged in or if, in the case of an action involving federal participation, either a draft environmental impact statement or a negative declaration has been duly prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
- F. Actions which are immediately necessary on a limited emergency basis for the protection or preservation of life, health, property or natural resources.
- G. Actions of any court.
- LEAD AGENCY
- Where several agencies are involved in an action, that agency primarily responsible for preparation of the environmental impact statement.
- OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER
- That newspaper formally designated by the City Council as the official newspaper or, if none, a newspaper of general circulation within the City.
- Any person, individual, corporation, governmental entity, partnership, association, trustee or other legal entity.
- The State Environmental Quality Review Act, Article 8 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law.
No decision to carry out or approve an action other than a Type II action, as set forth in §§ 107-6 and 107-15 herein, shall be made by an agency until there has been full compliance with all requirements of this chapter; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed as prohibiting:
The conducting of contemporaneous environmental, engineering, economic feasibility or other studies and preliminary planning and budgetary processes necessary to the formulation of a proposal for action which do not commit the agency to approve, commence or engage in such action; or
The granting of any part of an application which relates only to technical specifications and requirements, provided that no such partial approval shall entitle or permit the applicant to commence the action until all requirements of this chapter have been fulfilled.
Agencies may identify programs or categories of actions which could most appropriately be covered by a single environmental impact statement. Statements for comprehensive plans are often appropriate to assess the environmental effects of:
Such statements will eliminate multiple sequential reviews of the same or similar actions. No further environmental impact statements need be prepared for actions which are included in such a statement. Agencies preparing such a statement shall develop procedures for amending or supplementing such statements to reflect impacts which are not addressed or adequately analyzed in such a statement as initially prepared. Such procedures shall include provision for informing the public and other agencies of the preparation of such amendments or supplements and for allowing comment thereon before incorporation of such amendments or supplements into said statement.
To simplify the task of determining whether or not a proposed action may have a significant effect on the environment, actions are divided into three classes, Type I, Type II and Type III.
Type I actions or classes of actions are likely to, but will not necessarily, require preparation of environmental impact statements because they will in almost every instance have a significant effect on the environment. Type I actions are listed on the environmental clearance form in § 107-15 herein.
Type II actions or classes of actions have been determined not to have a significant effect on the environment and do not require environmental impact statements. Type II actions are listed on the environmental clearance form in § 107-15 herein.
Type III actions or classes of actions are actions which are neither Type I nor Type II and which may have a significant effect on the environment if they can reasonably be expected, by the agency, to lead to one of the following consequences:
A substantial adverse change to ambient air or water quality or noise levels or in solid waste production, drainage, erosion or flooding.
The removal or destruction of large quantities of flora or fauna, the substantial interference with the movement of any resident or migratory fish or wildlife species, impacts on critical habitat areas or the substantial affecting of a rare or endangered species of animal or plant or the habitat of such a species.
The encouragement or attraction of a large number of people to a place or places for more than a few days relative to the number of people who would come to such place absent the action.
The creation of a material conflict with a community's existing plans or goals as officially approved or adopted.
The impairment of the character or quality of important historical, archaeological, architectural or aesthetic resources or of the existing community or neighborhood character.
A substantial change in the use of either the quantity or type of energy.
The creation of a hazard to human health or safety.
A substantial change in the use or intensity of use of land or other natural resources or in the capacity of land or other natural resources to support uses.
The creation of a material demand for other actions which would result in one of the above consequences.
Changes in two or more elements of the environment, no one of which is substantial, but when taken together result in a material change in the environment.
For the purpose of determining whether an action will cause one of the foregoing consequences, the action shall be deemed to include other contemporaneous or subsequent actions which:
The significance of a likely consequence should be assessed in connection with its setting, its probability of occurrence, its duration, its irreversibility, its controllability, its geographic scope and its magnitude. Section 107-15 herein contains forms which an agency may wholly or partly use and an applicant shall use to aid in determining whether or not a Type III action will have a significant effect on the environment.
Within the framework presented in Subsection D herein, environmental impact statements should deal only with the specific significant environmental impacts which can be reasonably anticipated. They should not contain more detail than is appropriate considering the nature and magnitude of the proposed action, the significance of its potential impacts and the existing resources and capability of the agency responsible for the statement. An agency may require that an EIS be prepared by a duly qualified professional.
All draft and final environmental impact statements shall be preceded by a cover sheet stating:
Whether it is a draft or final.
The name or other descriptive title of the action.
The location of the action, including the name of this City.
The name and address of the agency which required its preparation and the name and telephone number of a person at the agency to be contacted for further information.
Identification of the individuals or organizations who prepared any portion of the statement.
The date of its completion.
If a draft or final environmental impact statement exceeds 10 pages in length, it shall have a table of contents following the cover sheet.
The body of all draft and final environmental impact statements shall at least contain the following:
A description of the proposed action and its environmental setting.
A statement of the environmental impact of the proposed action, including its short- and long-term effects, and typical associated environmental effects.
An identification of any adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided if the proposed action is implemented.
A discussion of alternatives to the proposed action and the comparable impacts and effects of such alternatives.
An identification of any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented.
A description of mitigation measures proposed to minimize the adverse environmental impacts.
A description of any growth-inducing aspects of the proposed action.
A discussion of the effects of the proposed action on the use and conservation of energy.
A list of any underlying studies, reports and other information obtained and considered by the agency in preparing the statement.
For final environmental impact statements, copies or a summary of the substantive comments received in response to the draft environmental impact statement and the agency's response to such comments.
An environmental impact statement may incorporate by reference all or portions of other documents which contain information relevant to the statement. The referenced document shall be made available to the public at the City Clerk's office in the City Hall. When a statement uses incorporation by reference, the referenced document shall be briefly described and its date of preparation provided.
Application. An agency considering an action or an applicant requesting approval by an agency shall complete the environmental clearance form contained in § 107-15 herein. An applicant shall present this form to the agency whose approval is being sought, accompanied by a fee as set forth in § 107-12 herein.
Determination of need for an EIS.
In cases where an applicant is involved, the agency shall render a written determination within 15 days following receipt of a complete application, except as provided in § 107-9 herein; provided, however, that such period may be extended by mutual agreement of the applicant and the agency. The determination shall state whether the proposed action is:
The agency may meet with the applicant and meet and consult with any other person for the purpose of aiding it in making the determination.
In the case of a Type I or Type III action, the agency shall circulate such determination as follows:
To Region 3, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, New York 12561.
To the Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 50 Wolf Road, Albany, New York 12233.
To the City Clerk.
To the official newspaper.
Following a determination that a proposed action is an exempt or Type II action or will not have a significant effect on the environment, the proposed action may be processed without further regard to this chapter.
Following a determination that a proposed action may have a significant effect on the environment, the agency shall prepare a draft environmental impact statement or, in the case of an action involving an applicant, may request the applicant to prepare an environmental impact report in the form of a draft environmental impact statement. If the applicant decides not to submit an environmental impact report, the agency shall prepare or cause to be prepared the draft environmental impact statement or, in its discretion, notify the applicant that the processing of the application will cease and that no approval will be issued. The applicant shall submit a fee, in accordance with § 107-12 herein, to defray the expense to the agency of preparing and/or reviewing the draft environmental impact statement.
Notice of completion.
Upon completion of a draft environmental impact statement, a notice of completion shall be prepared, which shall contain the following:
A brief description of the action covered by the statement and the location of its potential impacts and effects.
A statement indicating where and how copies of the statement can be obtained from the agency.
A statement that comments on the DEIS are requested and will be received and considered by the agency at a given address for a period of not less than 30 calendar days from the date of circulation of the notice of completion or not less than 10 calendar days following a public hearing held pursuant to Subsection D herein.
The notice of completion shall be circulated as follows:
To all other agencies involved in the action.
To all persons who have requested it.
To the Editor, State Bulletin, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 50 Wolf Road, Albany, New York 12233.
To the New York State Clearinghouse, Capital Building, Albany, New York 12224.
To the A-95 Coordinator, Tri-State Regional Planning Commission, One World Trade Center, New York, New York 10048.
To the official newspaper.
In addition, the notice of completion and a copy of the draft environmental impact statement shall be circulated as follows:
Public hearing. If the agency, at its discretion, decides to hold a public hearing on a draft environmental impact statement, notice thereof shall be circulated in the same manner as the notice of completion and shall be published in the official newspaper at least 10 days prior to such public hearing. Such notice shall also state the place where substantive written comments on the draft environmental impact statement may be sent and the date by which such comments must be received. The hearing shall commence no less than 15 calendar days nor more than 60 calendar days from the date of the filing of the DEIS, except as otherwise provided where the agency determines that additional time is necessary for the public or some other agency to review the DEIS or where a different hearing date is required as appropriate under other applicable law.
Analysis of the DEIS. If, on the basis of a draft environmental impact statement or a public hearing thereon, the agency determines that an action will not have significant effect on the environment, the proposed action may be processed without further regard to this chapter.
Final EIS. If the agency determines that an action may have a significant effect on the environment, the agency shall prepare or cause to be prepared a final environmental impact statement. If the action involves an application, the agency may direct the applicant to prepare the final EIS. Such final EIS shall be prepared within 45 days after the close of any hearing or within 60 days after the filing of the draft environmental impact statement, whichever last occurs: provided, however, that the agency may extend this time as necessary to complete the statement adequately or where problems identified with the proposed action require material reconsideration or modification or where mutually agreed to by the applicant and the agency. Where the action involves an application, such final EIS shall be accompanied by a fee, in accordance with § 107-12 herein.
Notice of completion. A notice of completion of a final EIS shall be prepared. Copies of this notice and copies of the final EIS shall be circulated in the same manner as provided in Subsection C herein.
Approval/disapproval of action.
No decision to carry out or approve an action which has been the subject of a final environmental impact statement shall be made until after the filing and consideration of such final EIS. Where the agency has been the lead agency for an action, it shall make a decision whether or not to approve the action within 30 days of the date of filing of the final EIS.
An agency shall not carry out or approve an action which may have a significant effect on the environment unless it determines, in writing, that:
Consistent with social, economic and other essential considerations of City policy, to the maximum extent practicable, from among the reasonable alternatives thereto, the action to be carried out or approved is one which minimizes or avoids adverse environmental effects, including the effects disclosed in the EIS; and
All practicable means will be taken in carrying out or approving the action to minimize or avoid adverse environmental effects.
When an action which may have a significant effect on the environment involves the decision or approval of more than one agency, all involved agencies shall, to the fullest extent possible, coordinate their environmental reviews through a lead agency to the end that the requirements of this chapter are met by a single draft environmental impact statement, a single final environmental impact statement and a single hearing process. In order to expedite this coordination, agencies shall require applicants to specify in their applications which other agencies, to the best of their knowledge, will have jurisdiction over the proposed action.
Upon receipt of a complete application for an action which an agency determines may have a significant effect on the environment, the agency shall immediately notify all other agencies which may be involved in the proposed action and request full coordination of the environmental review of such action. The designation of the lead agency shall be made by mutual agreement between the agencies within 30 calendar days following the filing of a complete application.
If a question arises between or among two or more agencies as to which agency is the lead agency, the agencies shall resolve the question themselves and designate a lead agency in writing on the basis of the following:
The agency to first act on the proposed action.
A determination of which agency has the greatest responsibility for supervising or approving the action as a whole.
A determination of which agency has more general governmental powers as compared to single or limited powers or purposes.
A determination of which agency has the greatest capacity for providing the most thorough environmental assessment of the action.
A determination of whether the anticipated impacts of the action being considered are primarily of statewide, regional or local concern, e.g., if such impacts are primarily of local concern, the local agency should be the lead agency.
If such agencies are unable to resolve the question within the prescribed thirty-calendar-day period, they shall:
Where the agencies are all agencies of the City of Beacon, submit the question to the City Council for its determination; or
Where nonlocal agencies are involved, submit the question in written form to the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation who shall, within five business days, on the basis of the criteria specified above, designate the lead agency.
In the case of an action involving an applicant, the lead agency shall immediately notify the applicant in writing that it is the lead agency and may request the applicant to prepare the draft EIS or do so itself.
The other agencies involved in the action shall have no further obligations under this chapter with respect to the action being considered, except:
To provide their views, where appropriate and to the extent practical, appropriate technical analysis and support.
Where there has been duly prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 both a draft environmental impact statement and a final environmental impact statement for an action under consideration, the agency shall have no obligation to prepare an environmental impact statement or make findings under this chapter with respect to the action so long as the environmental impact statements either contain or are supplemented by the items concerning growth-inducing aspects and energy use and conservation listed in § 107-7D(7) and (8) herein.
Where there has been duly prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 a negative declaration or other written determination that the action will not require a federal impact statement, the agency shall determine whether or not the action may have a significant effect on the environment pursuant to this chapter.
Actions undertaken or approved prior to the effective dates of this chapter shall be exempt actions; provided, however, that if after such dates an agency modifies an action undertaken or approved prior to that date and the agency determines that the modification may have a significant adverse effect on the environment, such modification shall be an action subject to this chapter.
When a Type I or Type III action involves an applicant, the agency may charge fees in order to recover the costs incurred in preparing or causing to be prepared or reviewing an environmental impact statement regarding the action.
The fees may be in cash or, at the discretion of the agency and subject to the approval of the City Attorney as to form and sufficiency, in the form of a bond.
The fees shall be as follows:
Accompanying a preliminary environmental assessment form: $50, to be submitted at the time of application, as set forth in § 107-8A herein.
Submitted prior to the preparation of a DEIS, such fee as the agency determines is required to cover its cost as set forth in Subsection A herein.
The agency shall maintain files, which shall be open for public inspection, of all notices of completion, draft and final environmental impact statements and the written determinations resulting therefrom.
As provided by § 8-0117 of Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law, the provisions of this chapter shall take effect June 1, 1977, as pertains to actions directly undertaken by agencies, and shall take effect September 1, 1977, as pertains to actions requiring permits or other approvals from agencies.