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Part 3 - Examples

Short Environmental Assessment Form (SEAF)

Example 1

Proposed activity: A 10,000 square foot commercial building is proposed to be located in a mixed commercial/residential zoning district within a village on a five acre parcel. The area is currently all residential or vacant parcels. There is no potable water or sewer available on the parcel, but they are available nearby and could be extended to the parcel. There is access directly to a state highway. There is a stream and wooded stream bank located at the rear of the parcel. This stream flows to a larger, state-regulated wetland. There are currently no sidewalks to this part of the village. The proposed business will create noise above the normal ambient noise levels and will generate traffic to the site all day. The location on the stream is also a former mill but it is not listed on the State or National Register of Historic Places, and has not been formally determined eligible for listing.

  • Using information from Part 1, the Planning Board has answered questions 1 through 11 on Part 2.
  • Using the Part 2 tools, the Planning Board determined that there would be no impact to the environmental resources evaluated in Questions 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 11. These were all checked as "no or small impact may occur" on Part 2.
  • However, the Planning Board determined that questions 2, 5, 8, 9, and 10 would need further evaluation in Part 3 because the impacts could potentially be moderate to large.
After further review, the Planning Board found:
  1. The proposed use is consistent with the existing zoning and the comprehensive plan. Therefore, the change in intensity is planned for and desired by the community.
  2. The potential impact to traffic, transportation, and pedestrian opportunities, while likely to occur for a long time, is considered a minor impact because of the location of the commercial business on a state highway, and because there will be less than 100 extra cars per day added to the street.
  3. The applicant recognized the historical significance of the mill site and planned to keep all structures and the parking area away from any historic features on the parcel.
  4. The applicant will be disturbing more than one acre of land and therefore will have to meet all NYS DEC stormwater regulations. However, the Planning Board also felt that removal of vegetation along the stream along with changes due to stormwater coming off the parking lot were not mitigated in the project application, and that this could potentially have significant adverse impacts on the stream and thus the associated wetland.

As a result of this analysis, the Planning Board decided that of the impacts identified from Part 3, the impact on flooding, stormwater, erosion, and natural resources were not mitigated and needed further analysis. They decided that an environmental impact statement would be required and that the scope of that would be limited to these topics.

An appropriate Part 3 statement for this example would be:

The Planning Board decided that potential moderate to large impacts could occur related to changes in use, intensity of use, traffic, historic and archaeological resources, natural resources, and to erosion, flooding, and drainage. This is because the action will be a more intense use in that part of the village, will add more cars to the street in that area, may impact the old mill site which is a historic site in the village, could impact the stream ecology and the wetland downstream, and could add significant erosion and runoff.

After analysis, the Planning Board decided that these impacts would be moderate in magnitude, mostly long-term, and probably will occur. Thus these are all potentially significant impacts. However, the project design and layout is on a state highway that can handle the traffic, is in an area that is planned to have higher intensity uses in the future, and the applicant has agreed to move all disturbances away from the historic mill site. These impacts are felt to have already been adequately mitigated. The impact to the stream and its downstream wetland could be negatively impacted and there is not adequate information or analysis on what those impacts would be.

Therefore, the Planning Board has determined that there is likely to be an adverse environmental impact to the stream's natural resources as a result of vegetation removal, changes to the stream bank, and risks of more flooding and erosion. An environmental impact statement would therefore be necessary. The core issues to be addressed in that EIS would be to further explore the impacts of vegetation removal, changes to the stream bank, and flooding and erosion.

Example 2

Proposed activity: A project includes dredging of bottom sediments along a lake shore for placement of a pier and marina. The project would take place during the summer and would involve removal of sediments and some shoreline aquatic vegetation. The location is included in a waterfront recreation zoning district and is consistent with the adopted comprehensive plan of the municipality. There is another marina within ¼ mile.

  • Using information from Part 1, the Planning Board has answered questions 1 through 11 on Part 2.
  • Using the Part 2 tools, the Planning Board determined that there would be no impact to the environmental resources evaluated in questions 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11. These were all checked as "no or small impact may occur" on Part 2.
  • However, the Planning Board determined that questions 3, 9, and 10 would need further evaluation in Part 3 because the impacts could potentially be moderate to large.
After further review, the Planning Board found:
  1. The project does not include sediment control measures to isolate the work area and there was concern about direct and indirect impacts of turbidity.
  2. The project could result in the loss of bottom habitats and an increase in water turbidity, at least temporarily.
  3. The Planning Board is also concerned about the associated loss of fisheries and impacts to water quality.
  4. They determined that the project was not a change in intensity of use because similar uses were nearby.
  5. Construction done in the summer may impact the aesthetic quality of the water and create nuisances that would negatively impact the character of the area.

As a result of this analysis, the Planning Board decided that these impacts would be moderate in magnitude, of moderate duration, and probably would occur. Because the project did not include mitigation for these impacts, further analysis is needed.

An appropriate Part 3 statement for this example would be:

The Planning Board has evaluated the magnitude, duration, likelihood, scale and context of potential adverse environmental impacts. As a result of this analysis, it was decided that the project would have significant adverse impacts on the environment because there is potential for uncontrolled erosion and sedimentation, loss of aquatic habitats, and changes to surface water quality.

The impacts would be moderate in magnitude because one localized area of the lake shore will be affected but some of the disturbed area (shore line and other aquatic habitats) could recover in time. Impacts to fisheries due to turbidity, loss of aquatic vegetation, and change in water temperature could occur and could be short to moderate in duration, depending on the species. Water quality may be impacted during the construction period due to turbidity. Loss of vegetation and water turbidity could also change the character of that part of the lake.

There is a high probability these impacts will occur given the nature of the project but there is not adequate information yet. Because the application did not include sediment control measures to isolate the work area, the Planning Board determined the direct and indirect impacts of sedimentation, turbidity, loss of habitats and fisheries and change in character would be significant impacts. An environmental impact statement would therefore be necessary. The core issues to be addressed in that EIS would be to further explore the impacts of erosion and sedimentation on water quality, aquatic habitats, and the lakeside character.

Example 3

Proposed activity: The proposed project is construction of a 55,000 square foot big-box style grocery store. It is located at the southern border of the municipality on a state highway, adjacent to a locally designated historic district, and within an area identified in the comprehensive plan as scenic. There are no public water, sewer, or infrastructure facilities to this location, but the proposal incorporates on-site facilities. Zoning allows for grocery store uses in the area but does not include any building size restrictions.

  • Using information from Part 1, the Planning Board has answered questions 1 through 11 on Part 2.
  • Using the Part 2 tools, the Board determined that there would be no impact to the environmental resources evaluated in questions 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11. These were all checked as "no or small impact may occur" on Part 2.
  • However, the Planning Board determined that questions 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8 would need further evaluation in Part 3 because the impacts could potentially be moderate to large.
After further review, the Planning Board found:
  1. The proposal may not be consistent with the comprehensive plan because the area is identified as a scenic location and a large structure of that design may not be consistent with, and could adversely impact, the scenic character of the area.
  2. The project introduces a land use that may adversely affect the nearby historic resources.
  3. The project introduces a land use that is more intense than any current use of land in the area.
  4. There will likely to be changes in traffic volumes in the area.
  5. The project could potentially induce growth of other similarly intense uses in the area.

As a result of this analysis, the Planning Board decided that these impacts would be large in magnitude, of long-term duration, and possibly could occur. Because the project did not include mitigation for these impacts, further analysis is needed.

An appropriate Part 3 statement for this example would be:

As a result of this analysis, the Planning Board has evaluated the magnitude, duration, likelihood, scale and context of potential impacts. The Planning Board has determined that the magnitude of the project could be large because the entire neighborhood at the southern entrance to the municipality is likely to be impacted and because the scenic views could be disturbed. The project's design and scale may not be consistent with either the historic character of the area or protective of those resources.

The project will introduce a more intense land use to the area which may not be consistent with the comprehensive plan or existing uses. Because of increased traffic volumes, it is possible that traffic patterns into the municipality would change, and make it more difficult for area residents to access the neighborhood. Further, the Planning Board has determined that there is potential that the proposed project could induce similarly intense commercial uses in the future. These impacts are likely to be very long-term.

Given the nature of the project and the context of the location upon which it is proposed, the likelihood of these impacts occurring is very probable. Because of these concerns the Planning Board has determined that these are potentially significant impacts that would require additional analysis through an environmental impact statement. The core issues to be addressed in the EIS would be to explore impacts on scenic and historic resources, consistency with community character, traffic, and growth inducing aspects.

Example 4

Proposed activity: A single family residence is proposed to be converted into a bed and breakfast in a village zoning district that does not allow that use. The residence would continue to house the owner along with use of 3 bedrooms as part of the B&B. A use variance will be required. On-street parking is available but a three car parking lot is proposed to be added as an extension to the existing driveway located to the rear of the existing structure. A small illuminated landscaped sign 2 x 3 feet in size with one shielded, exterior light is proposed to be placed in the front yard.

Because this is a use variance, the Zoning Board of Appeals is the reviewing agency.

  • Using information from Part 1, the ZBA has answered questions 1 through 11 on Part 2.
  • Using the Part 2 tools, the Board determined that there would be no impact to the environmental resources evaluated in questions 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. These were all checked as "no or small impact may occur" on Part 2.
  • However, the ZBA determined that questions 2, 3, and 5, would need further evaluation in Part 3 because the impacts could potentially be moderate to large.
After further review, the ZBA found:
  1. There may be changes to neighborhood character due to introduction of a different and more intense use than normally found in the area.
  2. The small parking lot may also adversely impact the character of the area but will not be highly visible from the street or from nearby neighbors. There is a possibility that it could introduce noise or additional traffic not normally associated with residential uses in the area.
  3. New outdoor lighting associated with the sign may impact neighbors.

As a result of this analysis, the ZBA decided that these impacts would be small in magnitude, could be of long-term duration, and possibly could occur. Taken together in context of the neighborhood, the ZBA determined that these impacts would not be significant and that no further analysis was necessary.

An appropriate Part 3 statement for this example would be:

After evaluation and consideration of the scale and context of the proposal, the ZBA has determined that the addition of a two car parking lot along with a shielded outdoor light fixture and small sign could impact the immediate neighborhood long term, but the impact is small in magnitude. The impacts are already mitigated through use of a shielded light fixture that will reduce glare onto neighboring properties. Impacts from the new parking lot are also already mitigated because the parking lot will be placed to the rear of the building and will not be visible from the street or nearby houses. Three additional cars entering and exiting per day on the street are likely to be insignificant given the normal daily traffic volumes at that location. For these reasons, the ZBA has determined that there would not be a significant impact and no further environmental analysis is required.

Example 5

Proposed activity: An eight-lot subdivision is planned on a vacant lot in an area that already has public water, sewer, and stormwater facilities with adequate capacity to handle additional residences. The area is zoned for residential use, and there is adequate street access. There are archaeological resources on the site but no wetlands, streams, or other natural resources of concern, and no previous agricultural use, or history of solid or hazardous material use or waste.

  • Using information from Part 1, the Planning Board has answered questions 1 through 11 on Part 2.
  • Using the Part 2 tools, the Board determined that there would be no impact to the environmental resources evaluated in questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11. These were all checked as "no or small impact may occur" on Part 2.
  • However, the Planning Board determined that question 8 would need further evaluation in Part 3 because the impacts could potentially be moderate to large.
After further review, the Planning Board found:
  1. The subdivision design incorporates establishment of building envelopes that places houses, driveways, and other disturbed areas outside the location where the resources occur and thus disturbance of the archeological resources will be avoided.
  2. The developer has also voluntarily offered to place a deed restriction on the new lots to prevent further disturbances to the archaeological resources.

As a result of this analysis, the Planning Board has decided that the impacts will be avoided and thus small in magnitude and unlikely to occur. They made a determination that the project was not significant and would not need further analysis in an EIS.

An appropriate Part 3 statement for this example would be:

The Planning Board has determined that the impact to the archaeological resources would be small in magnitude, but unlikely to occur because the subdivision layout and use of deed restrictions will mean the resources will be completely avoided on this part of the parcel. Given the scale and context, the Planning Board determined there would not be any significant adverse impacts and no EIS would be required.

Example 6

Proposed activity: A non-retail commercial use already located and operating in a rural area wants to expand. The proposal is to add more parking spaces and enlarge the structure to accommodate an increase in the number of employees. The project is located along a local town road and there will be additional commuter and truck delivery traffic. The facility depends on a drilled well for water supply and an onsite septic system for wastewater disposal. The Health Department has determined there is capacity to accommodate the additional employees. Surrounding land uses include farms and single-family residences. The project design includes construction of the new parking lot that will use crushed gravel instead of asphalt, will include six more shielded lighting fixtures to be placed in landscaped planting islands, and a vegetated berm between the parking lot and the road to screen views of some of the parking lot. New drainage and erosion controls designed according to a DEC approved stormwater pollution prevention plan are also planned. To accommodate additional cars and trucks, the applicant has also included a re-design of the local road.

  • Using information from Part 1, the Planning Board has answered questions 1 through 11 on Part 2.
  • Using the Part 2 tools, the Planning Board determined that there would be no impact to the environmental resources evaluated in Questions 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9,10 and 11. These were all checked as "no or small impact may occur" on Part 2.
  • However, the Planning Board determined that questions 2, 3, and 5 would need further evaluation in Part 3 because the impacts could potentially be moderate to large.
After further review, the Planning Board found:
  1. There is ample acreage on the parcel to accommodate these enlargements and such enlargements are adequately sized.
  2. A 25 foot forested buffer already exists on all sides of the parcel except along the road frontage, so screening of the facility will be maintained.
  3. Stormwater runoff will be mitigated by use of pervious surfaces in the parking lot and new stormwater control facilities.
  4. There will likely be issues handling the anticipated additional commuter and delivery truck traffic, but that these will be mitigated by the road redesign. The design has been approved by the local highway department.
  5. The aesthetics of the parking lot will be improved due to placement of landscaped islands.
  6. Lighting fixtures will be shielded so no glare will occur on neighboring properties.
  7. The community has a comprehensive plan that seeks to maintain rural character, but also recognizes the need for jobs in the area and encourages re-use of existing buildings.

After this analysis, the Planning Board decided that the magnitude of the project was large, that the impacts to changes in intensity and traffic would be long-term, but are unlikely to occur because of the mitigation included in the project design. Given the scale and context of the proposed project, the Planning Board determined there would be not be significant impacts.

An appropriate Part 3 statement for this example would be:

The Planning Board has evaluated the magnitude, duration, likelihood, scale and context of the project and has decided that the potential impacts could be large in magnitude because it could change the character of the area, increase the intensity of land use in a rural community, and impact roads and traffic. However, because the use already exists, and because the project includes features such as use of a pervious parking lot surface, screening, new landscaping, use of shielded lights, incorporation of erosion and stormwater control devices, and a redesign of the road to accommodate traffic, the impacts are largely mitigated. Short-term impacts may occur during construction, but in light of the scale and context of the project area, is seen as a small impact. As a result of the project design the Planning Board has determined that significant adverse impacts are unlikely to occur and will not require preparation of an environmental impact statement.

Back to Part 3 - Determination of Significance || Back to Statement of Significance


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