A. Coordinated Review
In This Section You Will Learn:
- coordinated review under SEQR.
1. What is coordinated review?
Coordinated review is the process by which all involved agencies cooperate in one integrated environmental review. Coordinated review has two major elements: establishing a lead agency and determining the interests and concerns of involved agencies so these interests and concerns may be considered by the lead agency in the determination of significance and in scoping an environmental impact statement.
2. When is review coordinated under SEQR?
Coordinated review is required for all Type I actions, for all actions that require an EIS, and for all Unlisted actions subject to a Conditioned Negative Declaration. It is an option for all other Unlisted actions. Coordinated review should be considered as soon as an agency is faced with a decision subject to SEQR and recognizes that another agency will be involved in the action. 3. Which agency starts the coordination process? The agency responsible for undertaking the action or the first agency to receive an application from the project sponsor for a Type I action must start the coordination process. Any agency that believes an Unlisted action should be coordinated may start coordination.
4. How are involved agencies identified to start a review?
The project sponsor is responsible for identifying all agencies which have any discretionary decisions to make with respect to the action. This identification must be provided in Part I of the EAF. The agency circulating the coordination request also has the responsibility to check the list and to identify any other agencies that it believes may be part of the decision-making for the proposed action. There is no harm in contacting agencies that may turn out to have no jurisdiction regarding the action. They still may have an interest and be able to provide information for consideration in the lead agency's determination of significance.
5. Is there a penalty for failing to identify an involved agency?
If the lead agency can show that it made a reasonable effort to identify all potential involved agencies, there is no penalty [see 617.3(d) (link leaves DEC website)]. But, if a known involved agency is not given an opportunity to participate, there may be grounds to nullify any approvals subsequently made regarding the action because of failure to comply with SEQR procedures.
6. What if an agency is contacted as part of the coordination process but does not respond?
If an agency does not respond, it must be presumed that agency has no interest in lead agency selection and has no comments on the action at that time. An agency has no obligation to respond to a coordination request. However, failure to respond may result in that agency's concerns being omitted from the environmental review. An agency which fails to respond is still considered an involved agency.
7. What if an agency isn't contacted, but learns of the action through other means and realizes that it is involved?
After it has recognized its own involvement, an agency should make its involvement and concerns known to the lead agency as soon as possible. From then on it must be treated in the same manner as any other involved agency in the SEQR process.
8. Is it necessary for an agency to have an application before it to be considered as an involved agency?
No. An agency is an involved agency if it will ultimately make a discretionary decision with respect to some aspect of the whole action. The agency must be consulted in the initial coordinated review procedure under SEQR, and is eligible to be considered as lead agency. This is true even if such decision will not occur until some later phase of a project.
9. Is an agency considered an involved agency if it has previously placed the action on its Type II list?
No. By placing the action on its Type II list, the agency has already made its decision regarding the environmental non-significance of the action. It cannot be an involved or lead agency in coordinated review. [see 617.5(b) (link leaves DEC website)]
10. Is an agency considered an involved agency if it has previously adopted a law, regulation or ordinance prohibiting the action?
No. Unless the prohibiting ordinance allows the agency to grant special exceptions, the agency has no discretionary decision on the action and has eliminated its ability to be considered as an involved or lead agency for coordinated review.
11. Is coordination required when there is only one involved agency?
No. That agency must assume the responsibilities of lead agency.
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