A project that includes physical changes to the environment from construction; agency planning and policy making activities; or adoptions of agency rules, regulations, procedures, local laws, codes, or plans. See 617.2.
An action or class of actions identified in SEQR (617.5) and are not subject to review under SEQR. These are actions that have been determined not to have a significant impact on the environment or are otherwise precluded from environmental review under the Environmental Conservation Law, Article 8.
Lying near or close to; neighboring. Adjacent means that objects or parcels of land are not widely separated, though perhaps they are not actually touching; but adjoining implies that they are united so closely that no other object comes between them.
A specific mapped area of land designated as an agricultural district pursuant to the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law 25-aa for the purposes of protecting and enhancing New York state's agricultural land as a viable segment of the local and state economies and as an economic and environmental resource of major importance.
The Archeological Sensitivity Maps for NYS show areas, in general where documented archeological sites have been discovered and where there is the potential for additional sites to be found. The exact locations are not displayed since they are protected from disclosure by Section 304 (16 USC 4702-3) of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and Section 427.8 of the implementing regulations for the State Historic Preservation Act of 1980.
The Archeologically Sensitive Areas shown on the SHPO website reflect known sites protected by randomly placed buffer zones. These defined sites with their buffer zones are used by the SHPO to provide recommendations to state and federal agencies regarding the need for archeological surveys.
Aquifers known to be highly productive or whose geology suggests abundant potential water supply, but which are not intensively used as sources of water supply by major municipal systems at the present time.
Aquifers designated by the US Environmental Protection Agency as the sole or main source of drinking water for a community, under provisions of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The designations are made in response to a petition from the locality, and after public hearing. New York State has little influence over such designations.
The concept of "biodiversity" encompasses the "natural system of all species-plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms - the habitats where they live and the broader landscape." (Strong 2008, pg. 1) Our quality of life relies upon the quality of our fields, forests, wetlands and woodlands, in that each supports the plants, animals, water resources, landscapes, and ecosystems that make our world habitable and sustain our local economies.
Any man-made element of the environment including but not limited to buildings, structures, utilities, roads, bridge, sidewalks, developed park areas, and neighborhoods. Some parks may be partially or totally undeveloped. Agricultural fields are also part of the built landscape but in many communities are also considered open spaces.
A change in the concentration of development on a parcel of land. A change in the level of how a building or land is used. Indicators of change in intensity could be additional traffic, more buildings, more employees, or more residents at a particular location. Changes in intensity can also be a reduction rather than increase.
The image of a community or area as defined by such things as its built environment, natural features and open space elements, type of housing, architectural style, infrastructure, and the type and quality of public facilities and services.
A residential subdivision where the dwelling units are allowed to be placed on the parcel in a flexible manner, where lot sizes, road frontages, and other bulk dimensions are allowed to be relaxed and where a substantial part of the remaining land is left in its natural open space condition in perpetuity. These open spaces are generally left together as one or a few parcels.
The state's coastal waters and adjacent shorelands as defined in New York State Executive Law, Article 42, Section 911. (to find this law, click the link, then click EXC, click Article 42, then click on 911) (See the definition for Coastal Waters below).
Those areas of the coastline, as defined in 6 NYCRR Part 505.2, (link leaves DEC's website) which are likely to be subject to erosion within a forty-year period; or which constitute natural protective features, the alteration of which might reduce or destroy the protection afforded other lands against erosion or lower the reserves of sand or other natural materials available to replenish storm losses through natural processes.
Waters defined and listed in New York State Executive Law, Article 42, Section 911 (to find this law, click the link, then click EXC, click Article 42, then click on 911). Specifically: lakes Erie and Ontario, the St. Lawrence and Niagara rivers, the Hudson river south of the federal dam at Troy, the East river, the Harlem river, the Kill von Kull and Arthur Kill, Long Island sound and the Atlantic ocean, and their connecting water bodies, bays, harbors, shallows and marshes.
(Also see Inland Waterways below).
A specific geographic area designated by a state or local agency that has exceptional or unique environmental characteristics. A CEA designated under SEQR must have followed the requirements and procedures of 617.14 (g). Some communities identify and designate critical environmental areas in their local comprehensive plan. Others establish zoning overlay districts to regulate development within locally designated critical environmental areas.
The number of residential structures allowed per acre. It is not the same as minimum lot size. Also the number of families, individuals, dwelling units, households, or housing structures per unit of land.
Ecosystem Services are the processes by which the environment produces resources that we often take for granted such as clean water, timber, and habitat for fisheries, and pollination of native and agricultural plants.
Plants or animals that are native to New York and that are in imminent danger of extirpation or extinction here and that are listed as endangered in Section 182.5 of the Environmental Conservation Law § 11-0535 (animals including mollusks, insects, fishes, birds, and mammals), 6 NYCRR 193.3 (plants) or that are listed as endangered by the United States Department of the Interior in the Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR part 17).
The channel of a river and adjacent land areas which must be reserved to discharge the 100-year flood without causing a rise in flood elevations. The floodway is shown either on the community's Flood Insurance Rate Map or on a separate "Flood Boundary and Floodway" map for maps published before about 1988. Within regulatory floodways, more stringent development controls exist than elsewhere in the Special Flood Hazard Area. The floodway is that area that must be kept open to convey flood waters downstream.
All growth - direct or indirect that is induced by increases in employment, population, and housing, through the elimination of obstacles to growth (such as a lack of infrastructure), or through the stimulation of economic activity within a region.
An area with the combination of resources like, food, cover, water, and environmental conditions (temperature, precipitation, presence or absence of predators and competitors) that promotes occupancy by individuals of a given species and allows those individuals to survive and reproduce.
Describes the type of vegetation an area supports. For example, a deciduous forest can be considered as a particular habitat type and will support species specifically adapted to that type, and an urban area can also be thought of as a habitat type with its own set of plant and animal species.
Any waste material within the definition of hazardous waste listed in either 40 CFR Part 261, 40 CFR Part 302, 6 NYCRR Part 371 or 6 NYCRR Part 597, alone or in combination, including but not limited to petroleum products, organic chemical solvents, heavy metal sludges, acids with a pH of less than or equal to two, alkalis with a pH greater than or equal to twelve point five (12.5), radioactive substances, pathological or infectious wastes or any material exhibiting the characteristics of ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or EP toxicity.
Those reasonably foreseeable impacts that result from the incremental impact of an action or actions when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency or person undertakes such other action.
Areas identified through the New York State Bird Conservation Area Program on state-owned lands and waters to "safeguard and enhance populations of wild birds native to New York State and the habitats therein that birds are dependent upon for breeding, migration, shelter, and sustenance." The Bird Conservation Area (BCA) Program is modeled after the National Audubon Society's Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program.
The state's major inland lakes, rivers, creeks, and barge canal system as defined in New York State Executive Law, Article 42, Section 911 and listed at:
New York State Department of State website on "Designated Waterways".
(a) the state's major inland lakes consisting of lakes Big Tupper, Black, Canadarago, Canandaigua, Cayuga, Champlain, Chautauqua, Conesus, Cranberry, George, Great Sacandaga, Honoeye, Indian, Keuka, Long, Mirror, Oneida, Onondaga, Otisco, Otsego, Owasco, Placid, Raquette, Ronkonkoma, Sacandaga, Saratoga, Schroon, Seneca, Skaneateles, Silver (in the county of Wyoming) and Saranac, and the Fulton chain of lakes;
(b) the state's major rivers comprised of the Allegheny, Ausable, Black, Boquet, Canisteo, Chaumont (including Chaumont bay), Chemung, Cohocton, Delaware, Deer, Genesee, Grasse, Hudson north of the federal dam at Troy, Indian, Little (in the Adirondack park), Little Salmon (including north and south branches), Mad, Mettowee, Mohawk, Oswegatchie, Racquette, Sacandaga, Salmon, Saranac, Susquehanna, Tioga, Tioughnioga, Wallkill and Buffalo rivers, and the north and middle branches of the Moose river;
(c) the state's major creeks comprised of the Bushkill, Cattaraugus, Cincinnati, East Kill, Esopus (including upper and lower branches), Fish (including east and west branches), Gooseberry, Little Sandy, Onondaga, Sandy, Schoharie, South Sandy, Oatka and Tonawanda and West Kill creeks;
(d) the Barge Canal System as defined in section two of the canal law; and
(e) the adjacent shorelands to the extent that such inland waters and adjacent lands are strongly influenced by each other including, but not limited to, islands, wetlands, beaches, dunes, barrier islands, cliffs, bluffs and erosion prone areas.
The use of practical non-chemical approaches, including possible limited use of approved pesticides, for the avoidance and control of pest infestations. It also includes general education and technical training of on-site personnel and the establishment of implementation procedures, evaluation mechanisms and reporting for the management program.
The concentration of development on a parcel of land in relation to the parcels' size. Intensity is sometimes measured as the number of square feet of development per acre by land. Some communities measure and regulate intensity through a floor/area ratio (total floor area compared to site size), while still others, use a building footprint (the exterior dimensions of a building).
An involved agency principally responsible for undertaking, funding or approving an action and therefore responsible for determining whether an environmental impact statement is required in connection with the action, and or the preparation and filling of the statement if one is required. See also 617.2 (u).
Any action taken by the State or by elected officials of a local municipality (town, village, city, or county) related to the legal adoption of a local law, ordinance, regulation, administrative rule, or comprehensive plan.
An LWRP is a locally prepared, comprehensive land and water use plan for a community's natural, public, working waterfront, and developed waterfront resources. It provides a comprehensive framework within which critical waterfront issues can be addressed.
A Local Waterfront Revitalization Program is both a plan and a program. The term refers to both a planning document prepared by a community, as well as the program established to implement the plan. The Program may be comprehensive and address all issues that affect a community's entire waterfront or it may address the most critical issues facing a significant portion of its waterfront.
The National Natural Landmarks (NNL) Program recognizes and encourages the conservation of sites that contain outstanding biological and geological resources, regardless of landownership type. NNLs are owned by a variety of land stewards, and participation in the program is voluntary. These lands are selected for their outstanding condition, illustrative value, rarity, diversity, and value to science and education. Sites are designated by the Secretary of the Interior, and the program is administered by the National Park Service.
A US or New York State government organization that maintains lists and files of documentation of buildings, structures, objects, districts, and sites of national, state, or local historic significance. Buildings on the Register may be marked with plaques that provide historical information about them. Also called the National or State Register.
The term "near" will mean different things depending on the setting and type of action being considered. For example, when evaluating a six-lot subdivision in a suburban residential district "near" might include a radius of 1,000 feet. However, a neighborhood business in an urban setting might include areas within 500 feet. Or, a retail farm stand in a rural setting might include an area up to 2,500 feet (one half mile) from the proposed project site. In other places where "near" is not defined, use 500 feet as a minimum distance in urban settings, 1000 feet in suburban neighborhoods, and 2,500 feet in rural areas.
Created by legislation (1972) and expanded under the State Historic Preservation Act of 1980, it is a 13 member, unsalaried board with responsibilities related to the nomination of properties to the state register of historic places.
Non-Point Source of Pollution: A form of water pollution that generally results from land runoff, precipitation, atmospheric deposition, drainage, seepage or hydrologic modification. The term "nonpoint source" is defined to mean any source of water pollution that does not meet the legal definition of "point source" in section 502(14) of the Clean Water Act. Unlike pollution that comes from specific points such as from industrial and sewage treatment plants, nonpoint source (NPS) pollution comes from many diffuse sources. NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters.
Land left in a natural state for conservation, recreation, scenic, or possibly agricultural purposes devoted to the preservation of distinctive ecological, physical, visual, architectural, historic, geologic or botanic sites. The term does not include land that is paved, used for the storage, parking or circulation of automobiles, used for playgrounds or manicured recreational lands such as ball fields, or occupied by any structure except agricultural buildings.
A locally designated zoning district that covers one or more underlying zones. These districts often are designated to address specific environmental resources and they impose additional requirements above that required by the underlying zone to protect that resource. Overlay zones often address resources that follow natural features which extends into more than one underlying zone.
Any land use that is allowed by a municipality in a zoning district and subject to the restrictions applicable to that zoning district. Some communities issue permits for certain uses 'by right' which means that the use is allowed, may have restrictions applicable to that zoning district, but where no review by the Planning Board is required.
(1) Any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any insects, rodents, fungi, weeds, or other forms of plant or animal life or viruses, except viruses on or in living humans /or other animals, which the department shall declare to be a pest; and
(2) any substance or mixture of substances intended as a plant regulator, defoliant or desiccant.
Any type of document prepare by or for a local municipality including, but not limited to open space plan, land use plan, comprehensive plan, economic development plan, transportation plan, environmental protection plan, or conservation plan.
Any discernible, confined and discrete point, including but not limited to any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock, concentrated animal feeding operation, or vessel or other floating craft, from which pollutants are or may be discharged. The term does not include agricultural storm water discharges and return flows from irrigated agriculture.
The RCRA gives EPA the authority to control hazardous waste from the "cradle-to-grave." This includes the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA also set forth a framework for the management of non-hazardous solid wastes. The 1986 amendments to RCRA enabled EPA to address environmental problems that could result from underground tanks storing petroleum and other hazardous substances. New York State DEC implements RCRA in partnership with the EPA.
Areas that have been designated as scenic under Part 666 (Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers) or areas identified as meeting the criteria of statewide aesthetic significance to the coastal area pursuant to 19 NYCRR 602.5.
See also: Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance
Habitats that are documented by the New York State Natural Heritage Program database such as forests, wetlands and other habitat types) that contain rare plants, rare wildlife, and significant ecological communities.
This includes natural and human-made light sources that reflect in the night time sky. Electric lighting increases night sky brightness and is the human-made source of sky glow. Light that is either emitted directly upward by luminaires or reflected from the ground is scattered by dust and gas molecules in the atmosphere, producing a luminous background. Sky glow is highly variable depending on immediate weather conditions, quantity of dust and gas in the atmosphere, amount of light directed skyward, and the direction from which it is viewed. In poor weather conditions, more particles are present in the atmosphere to scatter the upward-bound light, so sky glow becomes a very visible effect of wasted light and wasted energy.
A pattern of growth and development that is designed to use or improve existing infrastructure, is in that are already developed or in areas that are designated for concentrated infill development in local land use plans, that promotes mixed land uses and compact development, that preserves open space, that improves transportation opportunities (i. e., biking, walking) and reduces automobile dependency, and that promotes collaboration among state agencies and localities to promote intermunicipal and regional planning.
Soils that, because of their physical structure and characteristics, are very conducive to agricultural production. These are usually classified as prime farmland soils, and sometimes soils of statewide significance.
Any garbage, refuse, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility and other discarded materials including solid, liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material, resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations, and from community activities, but does not include solid or dissolved materials in domestic sewage, or solid or dissolved materials in irrigation return flows or industrial discharges that are point sources subject to permit under 33 USC 1342, as amended (86 Stat. 880), or source, special nuclear or by-product material as defined by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (68 Stat. 923) except as may be provided by existing agreements between the State of New York and the government of the United States (see section 360-1.3 of this Part). In Simple Words, solid wastes are any discarded (abandoned or considered waste-like) materials. Solid wastes can be solid, liquid, and semi-solid or containerized gaseous material.
Facilities for processing, collection, storage, exchange, recover, disposal, transfer, or dismantling of solid waste. These include construction and demolition debris processing facilities, household hazardous waste collection and storage facilities, materials exchanges, organic waste recycling facilities, recycling facilities, solid waste landfills, transfer stations, vehicle dismantlers, and waste tire storage facilities.
A land use which is deemed permissible within a given zoning district or districts, but which may have the potential to exhibit characteristics or create impacts incompatible with the purposes of such district. The special use shall, therefore, be subject to approval by the Planning Board in accordance with conditions set forth for such use, as well as other applicable provisions of this law.
Species that are deemed rare, imperiled, and those for which status has not been established. These species include those that are on the federal list of endangered or threatened in NY, those that are on the State list of endangered, threatened, or special concern, those species with 20 or fewer elemental occurrences in the New York Natural Heritage Program database, and estuarine and marine species of greatest conservation need as determined by New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Marine Resources staff. See also: Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN).
Native species of fish and wildlife found by the NYS DEC to be at risk of becoming threatened in New York. Species of special concern do not qualify as either endangered or threatened, but have been determined by the department to require some measure of protection to ensure that the species does not become threatened.
The air permitting program as required by the Clean Air Act and under New York State law and regulation, most notably 6 NYCRR Part 201. The program is administered by DEC's Division of Air Resources (DAR). The two most common types of permit for air contamination sources are described in 6 NYCRR Part 201. See also: NYSDEC's Air Permitting and Registration Program.
Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that doesn't soak into the ground but runs off into waterways. It flows from rooftops, over paved areas and bare soil, and through sloped lawns while picking up a variety of materials on its way. Stormwater is that water that flows or will flow off the land by surface runoff.
The land area immediately adjacent to and which slopes toward the bed of a watercourse and which is necessary to maintain the integrity of a watercourse. A bank will not be considered to extend more than 50 feet horizontally from the mean high water line, with the following exception: Where a generally uniform slope of 45 degrees (100%) or greater adjoins the bed of the watercourse, the bank is extended to the crest of the slope or the first definable break in slope, either a natural or constructed (i.e., road or railroad grade) feature, lying generally parallel to the watercourse.
Anything that is constructed or built which requires location on the ground or is attached to something having a location on the ground. In addition to residential or commercial buildings, structures may also include but are not limited to: sheds, signs, fences, towers, poles, rods, sidewalks, and driveways.
When a parcel of land is split into two or more lots through a process where the Planning Board reviews and approves all new lots to be created in the municipality. Public health law and environmental conservation law both define a 'realty subdivision'.
native plants or animals species likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future in New York and that are listed as threatened section 182.5 of the Environmental Conservation Law § 11-0535 (animals including mollusks, insects, fishes, birds, and mammals), 6 NYCRR 193.3 (plants) or that are listed as endangered by the United States Department of the Interior in the Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR part 17).
Unique Geologic Features or unusual landforms include, but are not limited to features such as cliffs, dunes, waterfalls, erratic rocks, gorges, glacial features, or caves. These have been identified in the New York State Geological Highway Map (NYS Museum, NYS Geological Survey, Educational Leaflet No. 3).
A wetland in a small, shallow depression within an upland forest. Vernal pools have a physical isolation from navigable bodies of water, do not support fish and provide essential breeding habitat for certain amphibians and invertebrates. Vernal pools are flooded in spring or after a heavy rainfall, but are usually dry during summer and fill again in autumn. In the winter vernal pools may be frozen over after having been filled with fall rains. In the spring, usually around mid-March through April, the pools melt and amphibians begin to lay their eggs there.
A facility designed to control pollution from human waste. These include septic systems and sewage treatment plants. Wastewater treatment is one of the most common forms of pollution control. Its basic function is to speed up the natural purification processes. In many instances wastewater treatment is a two-stage process. In the primary stage of wastewater treatment, solids are allowed to settle and are then removed from wastewater. The secondary stage allows biological processes to further purify wastewater.
A planning document that is developed to protect and restore waterbodies on a watershed basis. These generally include monitoring and assessment information, including water quality reports and best use classifications, and include recommendations on steps that can be taken to improve water quality in that watershed. Plans developed on a watershed basis are more successful at addressing water quality problems and helping to prevent future problems because they involve stakeholders in both upstream and downstream communities throughout the watershed.
A public water system is any entity which provides water to the public for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances. In New York, any system with at least five service connections or that regularly serves an average of at least 25 people daily for at least 60 days out of the year is considered a public water system. (NYS Department of Health web page)
The water saturated zone in the soil that occurs during specified months. The place that is the 'surface' of the subsurface materials that are saturated with groundwater in a given vicinity. A saturated zone that lasts for less than a month is not considered a water table.
Lands and submerged lands commonly called marshes, swamps, sloughs, bogs, and flats supporting aquatic or semi-aquatic vegetation, including lands considered freshwater wetlands as that term is defined in Section 24-0107 of Title 1 of Article 24 of the New York State Conservation Law and wetlands as defined in Section 404 of the Army Corps of Engineers wetlands permit program.