[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Ithaca 4-11-2005 by L.L. No. 3-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Conservation Board — See Ch. 23.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 157.
Freshwater wetlands — See Ch. 161.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 234.
Zoning — See Ch. 270.
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 148, Environmental Quality Review, adopted 4-11-1988 by L.L. No. 5-1988.
The purpose of this chapter is to implement, for the Town of Ithaca, the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and the provisions of 6 NYCRR Part 617 as hereinafter defined.
Editor's Note: See Environmental Conservation Law § 8-0101 et seq. Also, in addition to the text below, this local law also provided the following: This chapter shall apply to all actions proposed to be carried out by the Town that are pending before the Town Board as of the effective date of this chapter, to all applications for approvals, permits, or funding submitted on or after the effective date, and to incomplete applications submitted prior to the effective date. If a completed application is submitted prior to the effective date and if such application is diligently prosecuted to completion, the application shall be governed by the provisions of Chapter 148 that were in effect immediately prior to the effective date. For the purposes of this section only, an application shall be deemed "completed" if it contains all required information, forms, materials and fees normally and reasonably required by the lead agency and involved agencies. An application shall be deemed "diligently prosecuted to conclusion" if the applicant promptly responds to any inquiries and promptly supplies any additional information reasonably required by the lead agency and/or involved agencies, appears at all required scheduled public hearings, and otherwise cooperates so as to permit and enable the lead agency and/or involved agencies to adequately and completely review the application and complete the SEQRA process on same within a reasonable period of time of its submission.
The intent of the State Environmental Quality Review Act and this chapter is to provide a procedural framework for the inclusion of environmental considerations into the local decision-making process at the earliest possible time and for the mitigation of negative environmental impacts.
It is the purpose of this chapter that a suitable balance of social, economic, and environmental factors be incorporated into the planning, review and decision-making processes of the Town of Ithaca. It is not the intention of SEQRA and this chapter that environmental factors be the sole or, necessarily, controlling consideration in the decision-making process.
The words used in this chapter shall have the same meaning as such words are defined in Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law and 6 NYCRR Part 617.2 as the same may be amended from time to time, unless the context requires a different meaning.
The following terms shall have the following meanings:
- Draft environmental impact statement.
- Full Environmental assessment form.
- Environmental impact statement.
- PART 617
- Volume 6 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations Part 617 (6 NYCRR 617).
- Short environmental assessment form.
- The State Environmental Quality Review Act as set forth in Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law.
- The Town of Ithaca.
- Any area designated as a freshwater wetland by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation or Town of Ithaca, or included as being within the palustrine system (labeled as "P") on the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, except those identified on the NWI as being diked, impounded, or excavated (i.e., labeled with special modifiers "h" or "x").
The following terms shall be defined and have the meaning as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.2: "actions"; "Type I action"; "Type II action"; "unlisted action"; "lead agency"; "involved agency"; "critical environmental area." Unless otherwise specifically provided herein, any other term defined in Part 617 and used in this chapter shall have the same definition as is set forth in Part 617.
All actions may be classified as set forth in Subsections A through C below, and as are defined in 6 NYCRR 617.2.
Type II: actions which have been determined legislatively not to have a significant effect on the environment, consisting of actions listed in 6 NYCRR 617.5 or in § 148-6 of this chapter;
Type I: actions which are more likely to require preparation of an environmental impact statement, consisting of actions listed in 6 NYCRR 617.4, in § 148-5 of this chapter, or in any similar listing adopted by an involved agency;
Unlisted: actions not otherwise listed as Type I or Type II actions but which require environmental significance to be determined.
A person or department of the Town of Ithaca designated by the Town Board shall:
Aid in determining whether the proposed action is Type II, using the strictest interpretation of Part 617 and this chapter. Where any doubt exists, such determination shall be referred to the lead agency as designated under the provisions of § 148-8 of this chapter and to the Town Board in all other cases.
Aid in designating the lead agency and make recommendations therefor.
Perform preliminary review of all applications, EAFs, S/EAFs, D/EISs, EISs and supporting documents to determine probable sufficiency as to scope, form and content.
Require that the applicant complete an EAF if:
Aid the applicant with any questions concerning forms or the environmental review process.
Determine whether applications, including all pertinent environmental documents, appear to be sufficient; and forward such application materials to the appropriate Town lead agency with a recommendation concerning environmental significance within a reasonable time to allow for review at the Town lead agency meeting at which the application is scheduled to be considered.
Assist agencies and applicants to identify other agencies, including federal and state agencies, that may be involved in the approving, funding or carrying out of Type I and unlisted actions. The burden for determining other involved agencies shall nevertheless rest solely on the applicant.
Assist in the scoping of the D/EIS (when a Town agency is either a lead agency or an involved agency.)
In addition to those actions listed in 6 NYCRR 617.4, the following are hereby designated as Type I actions, except when listed as Type II actions in 6 NYCRR 617.5:
Any of the following changes in the uses allowed by local law, ordinance, rule, regulation, special permit, variance or otherwise, within any zoning district or districts which result in such change in use applying to a parcel or parcels of land of 10 or more acres in the district or districts:
The construction of new residential units which meet or exceed the following thresholds:
The construction, alteration, or demolition of nonresidential facilities which meet or exceed any of the thresholds set forth in Subsection C(1) through (4) below, or the expansion of an existing nonresidential facility by more than 50% of any such thresholds:
Any unlisted action which takes place in, or within 250 feet of, any critical environmental area designated by a governmental agency pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.14(g).
Any facility, development or project which is to be located in, or immediately adjacent to, a designated wetland.
Mining of more than 2,500 cubic yards of minerals removed from the earth within 12 successive calendar months. The definition of mining and minerals shall be the same as that in the New York State Mined Land Reclamation Law, found at § 23-2705, Subdivisions 7 and 8, of the Environmental Conservation Law.
Any facility, development or project which would generate more than 2,000 vehicle trips per any twenty-four-hour period.
Any facility, development or project which, when completed, would generate dual-wheel truck traffic of more than 10 vehicles per any eight-hour period per day.
Any facility, development or project which would exceed New York State or federal ambient air quality standards, whichever is more restrictive.
Any facility, development or project which would exceed New York State or federal water quality standards, whichever is more restrictive.
In addition to those actions listed in 6 NYCRR 617.5, the following is hereby designated as a Type II action: all tree planting, landscaping, and trimming by the Town of Ithaca Highway Department.
All actions, as defined in 6 NYCRR 617.2(b), to be carried out, funded or approved by any agency, board, body, or officer of the Town shall require the preparation of:
An EAF if a Type I action or if an unlisted action where a S/EAF would not provide the lead agency with sufficient information on which to base its determination of significance.
The lead agency shall be determined pursuant to the provisions of 6 NYCRR 617.6.
After being duly designated, the lead agency shall make a determination of environmental significance pursuant to Part 617. All determinations by the lead agency shall be by resolution duly adopted by the lead agency.
Such determination of environmental significance shall be one of the following:
Negative declaration of environmental significance. Upon a determination having been made and filed that the proposed action will not have a significant adverse impact on the environment, the action shall be processed without further regard to SEQRA, Part 617, or this chapter.
Conditioned negative declaration of environmental significance. In regard to unlisted actions only, upon a determination having been made, filed and published that the action, as initially proposed, may result in one or more significant adverse environmental impacts, but that mitigation measures, identified and required by the lead agency pursuant to the procedures in Part 617, will modify the proposed action so that no significant adverse environmental impacts will result, the action will be processed as a negative declaration; provided, however, that no comments are received during the public comment period which would require the submission of a D/EIS pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.7(d)(1) and (2). A conditioned negative declaration can only be given for an unlisted action and must follow the requirements of 6 NYCRR 617.7(d).
Positive declaration of environmental significance. Upon a determination having been made and filed that the proposed action may have a significant adverse impact on the environment, the applicant, all other involved agencies, and other persons shall be notified in accordance with 6 NYCRR 617.12 that a D/EIS is required.
A negative declaration of environmental significance shall be prepared, filed and distributed as prescribed in 6 NYCRR 617.12(b) and, where applicable, published as prescribed in 6 NYCRR 617.12(c).
A notice of conditioned negative declaration of environmental significance shall be prepared, filed and published in the environmental notice bulletin pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.12(b) and 617.12(c). The notice shall state that the conditioned negative declaration has been issued, what conditions have been imposed and the length of the comment period established by the lead agency. In no case shall the comment period be less than 30 days. Notwithstanding the above, the conditioned negative declaration must be rescinded, and a D/EIS shall be prepared if any of the conditions set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.7(d)(2) are met within the public comment period. Conditioned negative declarations may also be amended or rescinded pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.7(e) and (f).
If the lead agency makes a positive declaration of environmental significance, thus requiring that a D/EIS be prepared, the matter shall be processed as provided in Part 617.
In the case of an application for approval or funding, the D/EIS shall be prepared by the applicant or by the agency, at the option of the applicant. The applicant shall notify the agency within 30 days of the filing of the notice of positive declaration as to whether the applicant or the agency shall prepare the D/EIS. If the applicant does not elect to prepare the D/EIS, the agency shall prepare it, cause it to be prepared, or terminate its review of the proposed action. Upon receipt of the D/EIS, the lead agency shall determine by resolution whether to accept the D/EIS as satisfactory as to scope and content.
Upon the adoption by the lead agency of a resolution to accept the D/EIS, the lead agency shall file a notice of completion of the D/EIS in accordance with the requirements provided in 6 NYCRR 617.12.
All time limits applicable to the processing of a D/EIS and EIS shall commence to run on the date of filing of the notice of completion of the D/EIS.
An application shall be deemed received for the purposes of 6 NYCRR 617.6(a) when the lead agency has deemed the application, along with pertinent environmental forms, to be complete.
The SEQRA process for an application for a permit or funding shall be deemed complete when, as is appropriate in each case, one of the following events occurs:
The action has been determined to be a Type II action.
A negative declaration of environmental significance has been issued and such declaration has been filed pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.12.
A conditioned negative declaration of environmental significance has been issued and such declaration has been duly filed and published pursuant to Part 617; provided that no comments have been received within the comment period that would require the submission of a D/EIS pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.7(d).
A written findings statement on a final EIS has been approved and filed pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.11 and 617.12.
Public hearings on the D/EIS are not required but, if held, shall be held concurrently with any hearings required to be held by the lead or other involved agencies to the fullest extent practicable. The decision as to whether to hold a public hearing on the D/EIS will be made pursuant to the guidelines in 6 NYCRR 617.9(a)(4). For purposes of coordinating public hearings on a D/EIS and other required public hearings, the lead agency may, in its sole discretion, determine that an application for funding or approval shall be deemed complete upon the acceptance by the lead agency of a D/EIS as satisfactory with respect to scope, content, and adequacy.
The fees for review or preparation of a D/EIS or EIS involving an applicant for approval or funding of an action shall be determined by the lead agency for each such application. The fees shall be based on the actual cost to the Town for reviewing or preparing the D/EIS or EIS, including the cost of hiring consultants, the salary time of Town employees and actual disbursements incurred as a result of the review or preparation of the EIS, but in no event shall the fees be greater than those established in 6 NYCRR 617.13.
Critical environmental areas may be designated by the Town Board pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.14(g).
Environmental review of actions involving a federal agency shall be processed in accordance with 6 NYCRR 617.15.