Village/Town of Mount Kisco v. Town of Bedford
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: Construction of the Mt. Kisco Hunt residential subdivision in the Village/Town of Mount Kisco and the Town of Bedford in Westchester County
DISPUTING AGENCIES: Village/Town of Mount Kisco Planning Board Town of Bedford Planning Board
This decision to designate the Village/Town of Mount Kisco Planning Board as lead agency for the conduct of an environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process is made pursuant to Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law and 6 NYCRR 617. I find that the impacts from this proposed residential subdivision will be primarily local in nature and that the Village/Town of Mount Kisco Planning Board has the broadest governmental jurisdiction over the proposed action.
The proposed project consists of the subdivision of 25.146 acres of land and development of 77 single-family homes. All of the homes will be constructed within the Village/Town of Mount Kisco. The Town of Bedford must consider the construction of approximately 25 feet of road to provide access to NYS Route 172. Greater than 95% of the land under review is located in the Village/Town of Mount Kisco.
In resolving a dispute about lead agency, I am guided by the three criteria listed in order of importance in 6 NYCRR paragraph 617.6(e)(5). These are: (1) whether the anticipated impacts are primarily of local, regional or statewide significance; (2) which agency has the broadest governmental powers for investigation of potential impacts; and (3) which agency has the greatest ability to provide a thorough environmental assessment of the proposed action.
In consideration of the first criterion, all proposed residences will be situated within the Village/Town of Mount Kisco. The only part of the project within the adjoining Town of Bedford will be approximately 25 feet of access road. The impacts related to construction of and servicing the subdivision including supplying water, sewer, fire and police protection will be the responsibility of the Village/Town of Mount Kisco. In addition, the Village/Town of Mount Kisco indicates that it must consider as part of its subdivision review potential impacts to steep slopes and on-site wetlands.
The Town of Bedford has identified local and regional traffic impacts to State Route 172 as its primary concern, stating that 60% of the traffic generated by the project will pass through their municipality on its way to Interstate Route 684. Also mentioned as concerns by the Town of Bedford Planning Board are the potential effects on the school system, stormwater and wetlands concerns.
Both local municipalities will be impacted by the proposed development. However, the entire proposed development, with the exception of the access road to NYS Route 172, lies within the Village/Town of Mount Kisco. Authority to impose mitigation measures to reduce impacts to the site and local school system and traffic system fall within the jurisdiction of the Village/Town of Mount Kisco.
The second criterion to consider is which agency has the broadest powers for investigating the potential impacts for the proposed action. The applicant needs subdivision approval from the Village/Town of Mount Kisco for the land within its control which constitutes greater than 95% of the project property. The application also requires subdivision approval from the Town of Bedford for land within its control which constitutes less than 5% of the project property. The scope of the Town of Bedford's jurisdiction here is limited to assuring that the access road is built to town specifications. It is clear that in this instance the jurisdiction of the Village/Town of Mount Kisco is much broader that the jurisdiction of the Town of Bedford.
The third criterion to consider is which agency has the greatest capability to provide the most thorough environmental assessment for the project. Both agencies possess the ability to conduct the environmental review, either through the use of present staff or by obtaining the services of a consultant.
I conclude, based on the facts presented, that the Village/Town of Mount Kisco Planning Board best serves the function of lead agency for the conduct of the environmental review for the proposed Mount Kisco Hunt subdivision, due to the local nature of impacts and its broader jurisdiction.
This decision does not in any way change or limit the jurisdiction of any of the involved agencies. The Village/Town of Mount Kisco as lead agency must identify, assess and mitigate environmental impacts associated with the construction of the proposed Mount Kisco Hunt subdivision, including the local and regional traffic impacts. The Village/Town of Mount Kisco has indicated that an environmental impact statement will be prepared for this project. The other involved agencies should assist the Village/Town of Mount Kisco in the conduct of the environmental review by actively participating in the EIS review process. The New York State Department of Transportation's input, as an involved agency, will be necessary to ensure that all aspects of the potential local and regional traffic impacts are carefully analyzed, and to supply the lead agency with the information necessary to ensure that the EIS record provides an adequate basis for all agencies to make their independent SEQR findings.
Michael Zagata Commissioner
Albany, New York
Distribution of Copies:
- W. Johnston, Chairman, Village/Town Mount Kisco Planning Board
D. Coe, EdD, Chairman, Town of Bedford Planning Board
J. Sachs, Esq., Attorney for Town of Bedford
T. Bakner, Esq., Attorney for Applicant (Toll Brothers, Inc.)
R. Peters, NYSDOT Region 8
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:
- Commissioner Zagata