Here are answers to a number of questions that MOS has compiled over time.
What is the CEQR review process?
The CEQR process is essentially a two-level process consisting of an initial assessmetn in which an Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS) is used to describe a project and to assess potential impacts. If potential significant adverse impacts are identified at this level, the lead agency issues a positivie declaration and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is completed that analyzes, in detail, those impacts identified in the EAS. The lead agency provides guidance through the CEQR process. For more information see the CEQR Process Diagram.
For convenience, CEQR reviews generally, may be considered to have nine stages. However, these do not have to be completed sequentially and actually may occur simultaneously.
Project Development– project specifics are being defined, but a CEQR Review is expected to be required.
EAS Drafting & Review– EAS form (short or full) is being completed. City agencies convened by lead agency are reviewing information supplied by applicant. Applicants are expected to respond to questions and provide information as needed.
EAS Determination of Significance– When the EAS is complete to the satisfaction of the lead agency, it determines whether there is potential for significant adverse impacts which would require an EIS. If lead agency determines there is no need for an EIS, a negative declaration is issued and CEQR is complete.
EIS Scoping– determining the scope of the EIS
Public Scoping Meeting --Public is given notice and a chance to review and comment on the draft scope of work. The public comment period extends through at least the tenth day after the meeting.
Issuance of Final Scope of Work
EIS Drafting & Review– The Draft EIS is being completed based on final scope of work. City agencies convened by lead agency are reviewing information supplied by applicant. Applicants are expected to respond to questions and provide information as needed.
EIS Public Hearing– Public is invited to review and comment on the DEIS. The public comment period extends through at least the tenth day after the hearing.
FEIS Completion –The EIS is finalized and includes responses to substantive public comments made on the DEIS.
Statement of Findings –Each involved agency responsible for approving, funding, or undertaking all or part of the action must issue a statement of findings regarding the impacts of the project on the environment before that agency’s action commences.
Post CEQR –CEQR is complete. If mitigation measures were identified in the EIS, the lead agency and applicant must ensure that either the mitigation is completed or the need for mitigation no longer exists.
What can a private applicant do to facilitate completion of CEQR review?
The four most important things a private applicant can do to facilitate completion of its CEQR review are:
Have a well-defined project– know specifically, and in as much detail as possible, what the project proposal entails and be able to concisely describe it.
Do your homework– research and know as much as possible about the steps needed to complete your project and the various processes, procedures, and documents you need to follow.
Be consistent and accurate– be consistent and accurate in all of your documentation
Be responsive– please be as responsive to the city agencies as possible, even if you simply provide an indication as to when you anticipate having an answer
Please note: A poorly defined project, sloppy documentation, and/or slow responsiveness only delays your project through the process, necessitating, multiple review cycles and ultimately costing additional time and money.
How will I know who my lead agency is? Do I have a choice?
Applicants cannot select their lead agency. The lead agency is determined by the agency taking the discretionary action. If you need approval or funding from only one agency, then that agency is automatically the “lead agency.” When multiple agencies are involved and must approve, fund, or execute a portion of the project, the agencies determine among themselves who is going to be the lead agency, using the CEQR and SEQR rules to guide them. The City's rules specify the lead agency for certain actions see 62 RCNY Chapter 5.
YES, if an applicant fails to respond to city lead agency requests for up to 6 months and after two reminders; one at 3 months, and one at 5 months with a 30 day termination notice, project review will be terminated. Applicants wishing to resume the project will be required to begin the CEQR process anew.
What if I do not want to continue with my project?
If you no longer wish to continue a project for whatever reason, please contact the lead agency and inform it of your decision to withdraw your project.Withdrawals are considered final and should you choose to resume the project review, applicants will be required to begin anew.
Note: If you are unsure of your decision to withdraw, please contact your lead agency to discuss putting your project on hold so that city agency resources maybe reallocated to other reviews.
What if I experience non-CEQR related delays in my project?
If you are experiencing non-CEQR related delays (e.g. funding issues, etc.), you should contact your lead agency to discuss the severity of the delays and their respective effects on your review going through the CEQR process. If appropriate it may make sense to place your project on hold until you can resolve these non-CEQR related delays. This allows city agency resources to be reallocated to other reviews in the queue until your review is ready to resume.
Note: A project may remain on hold for only up to one year before a decision to resume or withdraw your project is required.
Why do I keep getting my materials returned to me with comments?
There could be a number of reasons regarding why submissions are returned with comments. among the most common is that the materials are not of sufficient detail and/or quality to allow the agencies to make their determinations. Additionally, typically in the cases of EISs the assumptions, methodologies, frameworks, data, and/or analysis of the impacts and/or various build scenarios may not have been adequately performed and/or documented in accordance with the guidance outlined in the CEQR Technical Manual. Please contact your lead agency to clarify the specific issues/comments so that you may understand and adequately address them.