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Question E 1 - Land Uses On and Surrounding the Project Site - Full EAF (Part 1)

Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) Workbook

Background Information

Question E.1. provides information to help the reviewing agency understand if the proposed action is consistent with the surrounding area. Actions that are in conflict with the current uses in, or character of, the existing community or surrounding lands may have more potential for an adverse environmental impact.

The terms "on" and "surrounding", "near", and "adjoining" are all used in this question. "On" means physically within the boundaries of the proposed project, and "adjoining" means directly next to and contiguous with the proposed project site. However, the term "near" and "surrounding" will mean different things depending on the setting and type of action being considered. For example, when evaluating a 10-lot subdivision in a suburban residential district, "near" might include a radius of 1,000 feet. However, a new commercial use in an urban setting might include areas within 500 feet. Or, a new industrial use in a rural setting might include an area up to 2,500 feet (1/2 mile) from the proposed project site. Some communities may have "near" defined in local laws or ordinances and in those cases, that should guide what 'near' is in the context of the project. In other places where "near" or "surrounding" is not defined, applicants should use their local understanding of the on-the-ground conditions, and use their best estimation of what nearby or adjacent uses are. Or, generally use 500 feet as a minimum distance in urban settings, 1,000 feet in suburban neighborhoods, and 2,500 feet in rural areas. Remember, the goal of the EAF is to identify potential adverse impacts, so the term "near" should be interpreted in a way that helps identify land uses that might be impacted by the proposed project.

E1 a. Existing land uses.
i. Check all uses that occur on, adjoining and near the project site.
__ Urban __ Industrial __ Commercial __ Residential (suburban) __ Rural (non-farm)
__ Forest __ Agriculture __ Aquatic __ Other (specify): ____________________
ii. If mix of uses, generally describe:

General Land Uses

Answering Question E.1.a.

Check off all land uses that occur on, adjoining, or near the project site. Local land use maps showing this information may be available from the local town, village, city, or county planning or municipal clerk offices. Some communities may also have comprehensive plans that include helpful maps showing this information. Many comprehensive plans are on municipal web sites. You can also use your knowledge of the site and surrounding area. Check with the municipal clerk to find out if any land use maps of the area exist. Online mapping sites, such as Google or Bing may be also helpful when looking at nearby or adjacent lands.

E1 b. Land uses and cover types on the project site.

Land use or Cover type / Current Acreage / Acreage After Project Completion / Change (Acres +/-)

• Roads, buildings, and other paved or impervious surfaces
• Forested
• Meadows, grasslands or brushlands (nonagricultural, including abandoned agricultural)
• Agricultural (includes active orchards, field, greenhouse etc.)
• Surface water features (lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, etc.)
• Wetlands (freshwater or tidal)
• Non-vegetated (bare rock, earth or fill)
• Other Describe: ________________________________________

Land Cover Change

Answering Question E.1.b.

This question asks the applicant to identify any changes in land uses or land cover proposed for the project site. The answers should apply only to the project site itself. Land use refers to how the land is used (for example, as agriculture) and cover type refers to the vegetation found on the parcel. Answering this question will require taking measurements from a map or aerial photo with a known scale. Calculate the current acreage, acreage after full completion of the project, and the change. These measurements are very important and will be used by the reviewing agency frequently in Part 2 as they evaluate the impact of potential changes to land uses and cover types. If a detailed site plan map is required with the application, measurements can be taken from that. Viewing a recent aerial photograph of the site, or overlaying the site plan on an aerial photo will help with this calculation. The downloadable program Google Earth includes a measuring tool that can be used to estimate lengths and areas.

A description of terms used in this question are:

Impervious surfaces include buildings and roads along with paved parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, patios, pools, and anything else that will keep surface water from penetrating into the soil.

Forested areas are those that have mature trees growing.

Agricultural uses and land covers include cultivated fields, actively grazed or harvested grasslands, orchards, nurseries, barnyards, and animal pens. Agricultural uses also include any associated buildings such as barns, greenhouses, and silage storage systems. Note that some of these agricultural uses will overlap with the impervious surface cover type. Area measurements for these should be included in both categories. Abandoned agricultural cover types include former farm fields that have been allowed to grow to brush and shrubs, and overgrown orchards.

Surface waters include streams, ponds, lakes, rivers, creeks, and reservoirs, whether man-made or natural.

Wetlands are known by many names such as swamps, marshes, bogs, and wet meadows. One thing all have in common is that they are areas saturated by surface or ground water to the point that they support distinctive vegetation that is adapted for life in wet soil conditions. Identifying wetlands and wetland boundaries may need a professional to inventory and delineate wetlands on the site. If known temporary pools of water or wetlands (vernal pools) are on the site, count these in the wetland acreage.

Some examples of non-vegetated land cover are beaches, sand dunes, mines, heavily eroded areas, rock outcroppings, or any other areas devoid of any vegetation.

E1 c. Is the project site presently used by members of the community for public recreation?
i. If Yes: explain: ________________________________________

Public Recreation

Answering Question E.1.c.

Public recreation can take many forms. Active recreation areas, such as ball fields and tennis courts are obvious public recreational uses. Passive recreational uses include public parks, conservation areas, and nature observation areas. Less obvious uses might include agricultural or forest lands where the owner allows friends and neighbors to hunt. Some land owners also have easement agreements that allow hikers to cross their property, or snowmobile clubs to maintain trails during the winter months.

E1 d. Are there any facilities serving children, the elderly, people with disabilities (e.g., schools, hospitals, licensed day care centers, or group homes) within 1500 feet of the project site?
If Yes,
i. Identify Facilities: ________________________________________

Public Facilities

The purpose of this question is to identify special facilities where children, the elderly, and people with disabilities are likely to be found on a daily basis for multiple hours per day. It is not meant to identify facilities like parks, where a diverse portion of the population may use them.

Answering Question E.1.d.

Some facilities, such as hospitals and schools, can be identified using online mapping sites such as Google or Bing. However, the most efficient way to identify these facilities is to simply perform a field survey. A windshield survey done by driving around the neighborhood within 1,500 feet (slightly more than a 1/4 mile radius which is 1,320 feet) should suffice to identify these facilities.

E1 e. Does the project site contain an existing dam?
If Yes:
i. Dimensions of the dam and impoundment:
• Dam height: ______________ feet
• Dam length: ______________ feet
• Surface area: _____________ acres
• Volume impounded: ________ gallons OR acre-feet
ii. Dam's existing hazard classification: ______________________________
iii. Provide date and summarize results of last inspection:


Presence of a dam on a project site poses different and potentially significant issues. Changes to the land cover or uses surrounding a dam can influence the hydrologic characteristics of the water sources supplying the impoundment. Changes to the waterbody or surrounding lands could affect the stability of the dam, or its hazard potential. It also may mean additional permits or inspections are needed. Depending on the size of the dam or impoundment, a Protection of Waters permit may be required for new construction or repair of an existing dam. Some other permits that may be required are a Freshwater Wetland Permit, a Mined Land Reclamation Permit, or other approvals. For a list of possible permits required by DEC, visit Permits, Licenses and Registrations page. For a list of application forms for these permits, visit the application forms page.

Answering Question E.1.e.

If the proposed project site currently contains a dam, supply the requested information. DEC has a Google Earth (KML) dataset that depicts the location of dams in the New York State Inventory of Dams. You can download the KML file and open it using Google Earth. (Note: This will require installing software on your computer. Once the KML file is opened in Google Earth, zoom in to the project site location and click on the dam in question.) The information included in the information box that opens up will provide most of the information needed to answer this question. This dataset may not include newer dams that have been built since the data was last updated. It also may not include smaller dams that did not require a DEC permit for construction. If there is missing information, or if the dam in question is not in the database, you might have to look for and refer to any available permitting documents that were submitted, or contact the DEC Regional Permit Administrator responsible for the area in which the pond or impoundment is located.

Useful Links

E1 f. Has the project site ever been used as a municipal, commercial or industrial solid waste management facility, or does the project site adjoin property which is now, or was at one time, used as a solid waste management facility?
If Yes:
i. Has the facility been formally closed?
• If yes, cite sources/documentation: ______________________________
ii. Describe the location of the project site relative to the boundaries of the solid waste management facility:
iii. Describe any development constraints due to the prior solid waste activities:

Solid Waste

Solid Wastes are managed in solid waste management facilities. There are many different kinds of solid waste management facilities in New York. They range from construction and demolition processing facilities to solid waste landfills. Some are closed and not used any more, while others are still active. All solid waste management facilities are regulated through 6NYCRR Subchapter B: Part 360. The general operational requirements for all solid waste management facilities are contained in the Part 360 regulations, Subpart 360-1. Solid Waste Management facilities are permitted, registered and controlled at the regional level. Each DEC Region has staff that is responsible for permitting, facility inspection and assessment of facility compliance. You can contact them for information on solid waste management facilities.

Answering Question E.1.f.

This question asks about previous uses on the proposed project site that may have involved solid wastes. Using the links below, or your knowledge of the project site, answer yes or no to the question regarding past use of the site or an adjoining site as a solid waste facility. If the answer is yes, continue with the next three parts of this question:

i. If the facility has been formally closed under the supervision of DEC pursuant to Part 360, there will be documentation confirming that. The owner of the property or the operator should be able to supply this information.

ii. If the project location is on the same parcel as a closed facility, describe the relative locations of the proposed project and the former facility. If the project is adjoining a current or former use, you can provide a description here, or refer to the location on a site plan or map.

iii. If there are any constraints placed on the proposed site or adjoining properties, describe those here. These should be included in any closure documentation.

There are many resources on the DEC website where you can find information about types and locations of active solid waste management sites in New York. The following links will help you find information or maps showing solid waste management facility locations:

Useful Links

You can find more information on waste management on DEC's Chemical and Pollution Control/Waste Management page.

E1 g. Have hazardous wastes been generated, treated and/or disposed of at the site, or does the project site adjoin property which is now or was at one time used to commercially treat, store and/or dispose of hazardous waste?
If Yes:
i. Describe waste(s) handled and waste management activities, including approximate time when activities occurred:

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it potentially dangerous or harmful to human health or the environment. There are many different kinds of hazardous wastes. Hazardous wastes can be liquids, solids, or contained gases. They can be the by-products of manufacturing processes, discarded used materials, or discarded unused commercial products such as cleaning fluids (solvents) or pesticides. If a site has been part of a remediation (clean-up) in the past, or presently, then there is a higher likelihood of significant adverse environmental impacts resulting from development of that site.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Environmental Remediation is in charge of all hazardous waste management programs, including remediation. Their web pages include definitions, regulations, databases, and other information about hazardous waste. Through Part 373 permits, the DEC ensures that environmentally protective design and operational standards are maintained at treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs). As a part of this permit program, DEC reviews permit applications and prepares permits for all facilities. A facility involved in the storage or treatment of hazardous waste receives an operating permit. See additional information on hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs).

Answering Question E.1.g.

This question asks about previous uses on the proposed project site that may have involved hazardous wastes. You may be able to answer this question based on your own knowledge of the site and its history.

To confirm or find hazardous waste remediation information about your project site, you can do a search of the DEC's environmental site remediation database. This database contains records of the sites which have been remediated or are being managed under a remedial program (e.g., State Superfund, or Brownfield Cleanup). All sites listed on the "Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites in New York State" are included in this database. You can search this database by zip code or by exact address.

You can also get information by searching maps using the DEC Environmental Navigator (Environmental Facilities).

E1 h. Potential contamination history. Has there been a reported spill at the proposed project site, or have any remedial actions been conducted at or adjacent to the proposed site?
If Yes:
i. Is any portion of the site listed on the NYSDEC Spills Incidents database or Environmental Site Remediation database?
Check all that apply:
__ Yes - Spills Incidents database Provide DEC ID number(s): __________
__ Yes - Environmental Site Remediation database Provide DEC ID number(s): __________
__ Neither database

ii. If site has been subject of RCRA corrective activities, describe control measures:

iii. Is the project within 2000 feet of any site in the NYSDEC Environmental Site Remediation database?
If yes, provide DEC ID number(s): ______________________________

iv. If yes to (i), (ii) or (iii) above, describe current status of site(s):
v. Is the project site subject to an institutional control limiting property uses?
• If yes, DEC site ID number: _____________________________________________________
• Describe the type of institutional control (e.g., deed restriction or easement): ______________
• Describe any use limitations: ____________________________________________________
• Describe any engineering controls: _______________________________________________
• Will the project affect the institutional or engineering controls in place?
• Explain: _____________________________________________________________________


When a new or expanded use is proposed for a site that has a history of contamination, this may lead to an increase in potential human contact with that contamination, or potential disturbance of any controls put in place to contain that contamination.

A spill is any accidental release of petroleum, toxic chemicals, gases, and other hazardous materials. Remediation is the act or process of removing contamination from the soil, groundwater, or other medium.

Answering Question E.1.h.

EAF mapper icon

You can access and search for both spills and remediation efforts through the NYS DEC Environmental Remediation Databases page. Use that site to provide information for Question E.1.h. Most if not all of the information needed to answer these questions can be provided by these search results.

To search the Spill Incidents Database for all years from 1978 to the present, use search method #2. You will have to enter a complete address that includes the county, city (town or village), and street name. Make sure you change the date range to include 1978 to the present date. To get a complete picture of the area surrounding the project site, you should do multiple searches that include surrounding street names in the search criteria.

To search the Environmental Site Remediation Database for any remedial actions on or adjacent to the proposed project site, use search method #2. Entering the county and city (town or village) will limit the search results to your area of interest. Leave the rest of the search criteria at the defaults to get a complete list of all programs and control types.

The search results will include sites that are subject to RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) corrective actions and any control measures in place and that can be included in sub-question E.1.h (ii).

The EAF Mapper will partially answer this question. The partial answers to this question will be automatically inserted on the pdf generated by the EAF Mapper and a report generated. If any portion of the project site is listed in the Environmental Site Remediation Database, the EAF Mapper will check "yes" on the FEAF Part I pdf. If there are none within the project boundaries, the EAF Mapper will check "no" on the form for this resource topic. . If a 'yes' answer is returned for either E.2.h.i or E.2.h.iii, applicants should consider this as a screening of the Site Remediation Data Base. In that case additional research of the this database should be done to completely fill out the answers to this question. If the applicant or project sponsor believes the answer filled out by the EAF Mapper is incorrect, supplemental information should be provided that explains that discrepancy.

For more information on the EAF Mapper application, see the EAF Mapper section of the How to Use The EAF Workbooks page.

In order for the applicant to answering the portion of the question that deals with spill incidents, they should consult the Spills Database identified above.

If the EAF Mapper is not used to complete part of this question in Part 1, the applicant should use both the Spills incident Database and the Environmental Site Remediation Database described above.

When these two searches are complete, you can enter the appropriate information in the spaces provided on the EAF. If the project site is not on either Spills Incident or Environmental Site Remediation database, check 'neither database".

Note that while question E.1.h. pertains to both the site and adjacent properties, certain elements of the question are site specific, and others pertain to both the site and adjacent properties. Section i, ii, and v pertain to only the project site. The initial E.1.h. question and section iv pertain to both the project site and adjacent properties.

Please note: The Hudson River is in remediation. The site's name is The Hudson River PCB Sediments. The Site Code is 546031. The site is also a State Superfund Program with a classification of 2. This site includes the nearly 200 mile stretch of the Hudson River that extends from Hudson Falls in Washington County to the Battery in New York City. Dredging has been completed in 2015, however habitat reconstruction is ongoing. Because the EAF Mapper uses a 2000 foot buffer zone for remediation and hazardous waste sites, the EAF Mapper will display a positive hit or a "YES" return value on your application for sites within 2000 feet of the shore or banks of the Hudson River from Hudson Falls to New York City's Battery and reference the above Site Code. If other remediation sites are within 2000 feet of your project, additional site codes will be displayed.

The environmental site remediation database offers detailed information regarding the Hudson River and remediation. When using the search, at the top of the search page, enter code 546031 and you will receive a return value of the Hudson River PCB Sediments in detail.

Useful Links

Glossary of hazardous waste terms:

Environmental Remediation Databases

Part 371 - Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste in NY

Part 375 - Environmental Remediation Programs (sub-parts 1-6):

Hazardous Waste Management Programs

All regulation links leave DEC website.

Back to Part 1 (FEAF) Project and Setting || Continue to Part 1 (FEAF) Question E 2 - Natural Resources On or Near Project Site

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