Town of Poughkeepsie v. City of Poughkeepsie
Lead Agency Dispute
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Commissioner's Determination of Lead Agency
under Article 8 of the
Environmental Conservation Law
PROJECT: Woodlands at Hunter's Run
This decision to designate, as lead agency, the City of Poughkeepsie Planning Board (hereinafter referred to as "the CPPB") is made pursuant to 6NYCRR Section 617.6(e). My determination is based on the fact that the CPPB, which must consider an application for a change in zone from R-1 to Planned Residential Development, has the broader jurisdiction over the action and more appropriately meets the criteria for lead agency enumerated at 6NYCRR Section 617.6(d)(1).
The proposed action is the construction of 120 attached, single-family units on 47.1 acres by N.C.H.P. Development Corporation. The development, to be known as Woodlands at Hunter's Run, will be partially located within both the City of Poughkeepsie and the Town of Poughkeepsie. Of the 47.1-acre site, 29.3 acres are located in the City of Poughkeepsie and 17.8 acres are located within the Town of Poughkeepsie.
On June 25, 1986, the CPPB mailed a notice to the other potentially involved agencies declaring its intention to act as lead agency for the Woodlands at Hunter's Run application. Meetings between the Town of Poughkeepsie Planning Board (hereinafter referred to as "the TPPB") and the CPPB were held on July 9 and July 17, 1986, in an attempt to resolve lead agency.
In light of the inability of the two agencies to agree on lead agency, the TPPB, in a letter dated July 23, 1986, requested that pursuant to 6NYCRR Section 617.6(e), the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation resolve the dispute. In a letter dated July 25, 1986, the CPPB joined in this request. Additional material was requested from both agencies on August 1,1986. The response from the CPPB was received on August 7, 1986 and from the TPPB on August 8, 1986.
According to 6NYCRR Section 617.6(d)(1), in resolving lead agency disputes, I must consider the location of the anticipated impacts; the breadth of the applicable jurisdiction; and the capability of each agency in providing a thorough environmental assessment.
The overall plan proposes the construction of 120 residential units; 76 units will be constructed on a 29.3-acre parcel in the City of Poughkeepsie, 44 units will be constructed on a 17.8-acre parcel in the Town of Poughkeepsie. While the on-site construction impacts are likely to be slightly greater on the City's portion of the site, these could be offset by impacts such as traffic and drainage which do not respect political boundaries. Therefore, I conclude that, based on the information available prior to full environmental review, the impacts cannot be apportioned primarily to either municipality.
The ability of the agencies to provide for a thorough environmental assessment is also comparable as both planning boards possess the necessary staff and expertise needed to conduct a full environmental review. This leaves the comparison of the breadth of jurisdiction as the determining factor in designating lead agency, in this case.
Both agencies will be required to issue subdivision and site plan approval for the proposed project. However, the CPPB as an agency of the City of Poughkeepsie will also be involved in the review of the proposed zoning change from R-1 to Planned Residential Development. This request for rezoning requires the City of Poughkeepsie to address fundamental land use considerations which could change the future course of decisions required for the Woodlands at Hunter's Run project.
Based upon a careful consideration of all the facts presented, I find that the CPPB, which must consider and evaluate the request for a change in zone in addition to site plan and subdivision approval, is the agency best suited to act as lead agency for the review of the Woodlands at Hunter's Run application.
This project, which extends beyond the political boundaries of either municipality, requires that both agencies work in close cooperation. The State Environmental Quality Review Act requires that an action be considered in its entirety and that the review be comprehensive in nature. The CPPB, as lead agency, will be responsible for seeing that the concerns of the Town of Poughkeepsie, such as traffic and drainage, are identified and evaluated within the environmental review process. However, this decision does not in any manner limit or minimize the authority of the Town of Poughkeepsie to approve, modify and approve, or disapprove plans for development of that portion of the site which lies within the jurisdiction of the Town.
Henry G. Williams Commissioner
Dated: Aug. 26, 1986
Albany, New York
Distribution of Copies:
- City of Poughkeepsie Planning Board - D. Aldeborgh, Chairman
Town of Poughkeepsie - G. Brian Morgan, Attorney
N.C.H.P. Development Corporation
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:
- L. Marsh