The information below provides a basic understanding of what CEQR is,
when it is triggered, what an applicant needs to do to get started with CEQR,
and how the public may be involved with a CEQR review.
What is CEQR?
As mandated by the State
Environmental Quality Review Act, CEQR is the process by which New York City
agencies determine what effect, if any, a discretionary action they approve may
have upon the environment. CEQR is a disclosure process and
not an approval process in and of itself. Completion of an
environmental review supports other decisions made by agencies such as approvals
of rezoning or variance applications, funding, or issuance of discretionary
permits. Ministerial actions, such as the issuance of a
building permit, are not subject to environmental review.
What triggers a CEQR Review?
A project may need
certain discretionary actions or approvals by one or more city, state, or
federal agencies before it can start. An action may be initiated by the City or
proposed by private applicants for approval by a city agency. To determine
whether a project needs to be reviewed under CEQR, ask the following:
- Does the project need discretionary approvals or permits from any
- Does the project need city funding?
- Is the project being directly undertaken by a city agency?
If the answer is YES to any of these questions, a project needs
to undergo a CEQR review. If state or federal funding or approvals are also
needed, a project must comply with the requirements of SEQRA and NEPA,
respectively. The lead agency is primarily responsible for the review and
assists the applicant through this process. To learn more, please see the CEQR Technical Manual.
How does a review get started?
To get started an
applicant or agency needs to have the following:
- A defined proposed project; and
- A list of city, state, or federal approvals, permits, or funding, if
any, that are necessary to complete the project (this list helps determine
whether the project needs CEQR review and, if so, how extensive the review
must be and helps determine an appropriate lead agency).
What type of review is needed under CEQR?
necessary level of review depends on the type of action(s), as defined by
state rules, to be approved, funded, or undertaken by a
city agency. To determine the appropriate level of review, determine the
- Is the action considered a Type II Action?
- If YES, then no further CEQR review is needed.
- Is the action considered a Type I Action?
- If YES, then complete the Full EAS Form.
- Is the action considered an Unlisted action?
- If YES, then complete either the Short EAS Form or the Full
What is the CEQR Process?
To help understand the
overall steps CEQR reviews may take from beginning to end, click on this CEQR
process diagram to enlarge it.
Can the public participate in an environmental
Public participation in the environmental review
process is important because it provides a different perspective from project
proponents and agencies in examining potential environmental
effects. Valuable information may be provided by people who
live and work in areas of proposed projects. New York City encourages all
interested parties to participate in the environmental review
What is a Public Comment Period?
periods are mandated by state and city rules at certain steps of the
environmental review process. Such comment periods provide
the public, agencies, and other interested parties the opportunity to provide
input into the process for specific reviews. For example,
substantive comments on a draft scope of work may focus the issues and analysis
topics to be included in the draft EIS, the methodologies for
analysis (such as the size of a study area, the type of data to be gathered, or
the type of analysis to be conducted), the alternatives to the proposed project,
and any special conditions or concerns that the lead agency should
What opportunities are there to participate in CEQR
Opportunities for public participation, review and
comment are listed below.
For reviews resulting in a Conditional Negative Declaration
- After a CND is published, the public has 30 days to review
the Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS) and the CND and to submit
comments on their substance. When the public comment
period concludes, the lead agency may decide that either:
- A CND is not appropriate based on comments received and further
review is required. A Positive Declaration is then issued
requiring the preparation of an Environmental Impact
- No further review is required and the CND is issued.
For reviews resulting in a Positive Declaration (Pos
- Public Comment Period (for draft Scope of Work):
When the lead agency issues a draft Scope of Work (the document that outlines
the extent of what will be analyzed in the EIS and how such analyses will be
conducted), the public may comment on the substance of the
scope. This comment period begins when the draft scope is
issued, includes a public scoping meeting (discussed below), and extends
for a minimum of 10 days after this meeting. These
comments are then taken into account in developing the final scope of work for
the Draft EIS.
- Public Scoping Meeting: As part of the public
comment period for the draft Scope of Work for an EIS, a public scoping
meeting is held not less than thirty (30) nor more than forty-five (45) days
after the draft scope of work is published and notice of the meeting is
The chart below illustrates the CEQR draft Scope of Work &
Public Scoping Meeting process.
Period (for DEIS): When the lead agency issues a draft EIS
(DEIS), the public may comment on its substance. The
comment period begins with the issuance of the DEIS and Notice of Completion,
includes a required public hearing on the DEIS (discussed below), and extends
for a minimum of 10 days after this meeting. Comments
received are then taken into account before issuing the final EIS
Hearing: As part of the public comment for the DEIS, a public hearing
on the DEIS is held not less than fifteen (15) calendar days nor more
than sixty (60) calendar days after the completion and filing of the DEIS
to allow the public the opportunity to provide comment on the
DEIS. If a project is going through another review process,
such as ULURP, these time periods may be extended and the hearing on the DEIS
may be held concurrently with the required hearing on a ULURP
The chart below illustrates the regulatory process for a public
hearing on the DEIS.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):Additional Sources of Information:
Before you contact your lead
agency or MOEC, see whether your question has been addressed in the CEQR Frequently Asked
If you still need
additional information on CEQR, please see any of the following sources of
information or contact MOEC to assist you: