Q. 5, Short EAF (Part 1) Zoning / Planning
Short Environmental Assessment Form Workbook
Is the proposed action,
a. a permitted use under the zoning regulations?
b. consistent with the adopted comprehensive plan?
This question helps the reviewing agency determine how well the project fits in with current or future plans for the area. Understanding whether or not a proposed activity is permitted under current zoning or if it is consistent with a municipality's comprehensive plan provides a context for determining if the activity is compatible with the community's plans for development. Activities that are consistent are much less likely to result in impacts to community character or to the environment.
For example, a subdivision of a ten-acre lot into ten new lots in an urban area zoned for quarter-acre residential development would be allowed and consistent with the municipal regulations. However, a subdivision of a ten-acre lot into ten new quarter-acre lots in a rural area zoned for three-acre lots would not be consistent with the zoning regulations.
How to tell if your project is consistent with an adopted comprehensive plan
Some comprehensive plans include a future land use concept map or text description that details what the community wants for each area in the municipality. In that case, you can compare your proposed project to the future planned uses and determine if they are similar. For example, a comprehensive plan that proposes a retail business zoning district in the location where you are proposing a retail establishment would most likely be consistent.
Other comprehensive plans are more general and do not include a future land use map or they make broad statements about the kind of development desired in the future. In that case, you should review the plan's vision, goals, and recommendations to determine if your project appears to be consistent with them. For example, a proposed project to develop a retail establishment on a side street at the edge of a village that has a comprehensive plan generally describing the community's wishes to concentrate all retail development on their main street, and maintain other areas of the village for single-family residential development would most likely not be consistent.
For help in determining if the municipality has zoning or a comprehensive plan, check their website, or contact the code enforcement officer (or building inspector), municipal clerk, or planning board clerk. Local resources are the best to contact to help you determine if your project is consistent with the local zoning or plan. You may also refer to the list of resources identified in the FEAF workbook. (Link to be inserted here when the FEAF is done)
Answering this Question
a. A permitted use under the zoning regulations?
Answer no if the activity is not allowed under the current zoning.
Answer yes if the activity you are proposing is permitted under current zoning.
Answer yes if the activity is a use that is subject to a special use permit.
Answer N/A if the municipality has not adopted a zoning law or ordinance.
b. Consistent with the adopted comprehensive plan?
Answer no if the activity is not consistent with the municipal comprehensive plan.
Answer yes if the activity is consistent with the comprehensive plan.
Answer N/A if the municipality does not have a comprehensive plan.