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Determination of Significance - Full EAF (Part 3)

Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF)

Determination of Significance - Type 1 and Unlisted Actions
SEQR Status: __ Type 1 __ Unlisted
Identify portions of EAF completed for this Project:
__ Part 1 __ Part 2 __ Part 3

Identify Mitigations Included in the Project

For many proposed projects, many of the identified impacts can be or already are mitigated by changes or certain project components. Part 3 gives the reviewing agency and opportunity to examine the proposed project in relation to the potential impacts and identify if any mitigations have been included in the project plans.

Review the proposed action and identify methods that the project sponsor or applicant has included in the project design to avoid or reduce the identified impacts. Examples of mitigations could be:

  • Changes to the size or location of the structure or of the disturbance
  • Phasing of the project construction by time of day or season
  • Construction of a berm or fence to block noise or visual impacts
  • Permanent protection with a conservation easement of that part of the parcel that is a significant natural community.

It is feasible that the reviewing agency will identify a potential large, long-lasting, important impact that is likely to occur but the project includes features that mitigate those effects to the point where the impact is no longer a significant concern, Some projects include aspects that mitigate impacts partially or fully. This needs to be taken into consideration when determining significance of an impact.

Statement of Significance

Once you have determined the significance of the various impacts, it is time to write your decision. This statement is very important to record the rationale behind your decision making. It should include a short summary explaining how you determined that the impact will or will not be significant. It should summarize what the potential impacts will be, what your decisions about its magnitude, duration, importance and likelihood are, and how you used that information to reach your decision about significance. Part 3 does not include a specific place to record your statement, but you should attach additional sheets as needed.

If you used a chart or checklist to organize your decisions as described in this workbook, you can use that to describe the impact(s), and summarize your decisions about significance. The statement can be short or long, but ultimately should describe your evaluation process and the rationale used in your decision making. See the Examples page for model Part 3 statements.

Upon review of the information recorded on this EAF, as noted, plus this additional support information
and considering both the magnitude and importance of each identified potential impact, it is the conclusion of the
______________________________ as lead agency that:

A. This project will result in no significant adverse impacts on the environment, and, therefore, an environmental impact statement need not be prepared. Accordingly, this negative declaration is issued.

B. Although this project could have a significant adverse impact on the environment, that impact will be avoided or substantially mitigated because of the following conditions which will be required by the lead agency: There will, therefore, be no significant adverse impacts from the project as conditioned, and, therefore, this conditioned negative declaration is issued. A conditioned negative declaration may be used only for UNLISTED actions (see 6 NYCRR 617.d).

C. This Project may result in one or more significant adverse impacts on the environment, and an environmental impact statement must be prepared to further assess the impact(s) and possible mitigation and to explore alternatives to avoid or reduce those impacts. Accordingly, this positive declaration is issued.

A. Negative Declarations

If, after analysis, you have determined that none of the environmental impacts identified are significant, then check box 'A'. In this case, no additional study through an environmental impact statement is necessary and a negative declaration will be issued. Part 3 will serve as the negative declaration and a copy of this form should be filed as per the instructions on the form. Describe your reasoning behind this decision in a significance statement.

If one or more significant adverse environmental impacts have been identified, but the project includes, or the lead agency requires mitigation to reduce or avoid it, then you may decide that an environmental impact statement is not necessary. If so, describe this reasoning in your Part 3 statement. Then, check box 'A' stating that the proposed action will not result in any significant adverse environmental impact.

B. Conditional Negative Declarations

If the action being considered is an Unlisted Action (6NYCRR 617.d), and one or more significant adverse impacts have been determined but that certain project changes or conditions will allow the adverse impacts to be substantively avoided or mitigated, the reviewing agency can declare this a conditioned negative declaration. See 6NYCRR 617.7 (link leaves DEC website) and the SEQR Handbook (PDF) for full information on conditioned negative declarations.

In that case, check box 'B' on Part 3 and describe those conditions. Part 3 will serve as the conditioned negative declaration and a copy of this form should be filed as per the instructions on the form.

A conditioned negative declaration (CND) is a form of negative declaration which may be used for Unlisted actions only, and only in limited circumstances. Use of a CND can be appropriate when a lead agency concludes that a proposed action may have a potentially significant adverse impact on the environment, but the impact can be eliminated or adequately mitigated by conditions imposed by the lead agency, without the need for additional environmental studies. Use of the CND acknowledges that without imposition of conditions by the lead agency, the action may have potentially significant impacts. In situations where those impacts are readily mitigated or avoided, use of the CND allows an agency to issue an approval with enforceable conditions. When a lead agency uses the CND process it must consider the whole action and all relevant impacts in identifying appropriate conditions.

The lead agency can attach conditions which are explicitly-articulated standards (either numerical or narrative) within that lead agency's underlying jurisdiction, or conditions that an applicant is otherwise legally obligated to meet in order to obtain a permit or approval. Under these circumstances, the lead agency could issue a Negative Declaration if the effects of the action will not be significant when such conditions are imposed. Typical examples of conditions that may be imposed based on the lead agency's underlying authority, and thus not require a conditioned negative declaration, are:

  • Requiring relocation of a building footprint during site plan approval;
  • Requiring conformance to a municipality's standards for setback from lot lines;
  • Meeting emission or discharge standards as required by law;
  • Locating septic tanks above seasonal groundwater levels;
  • Requiring erosion and runoff controls during construction; and
  • Requiring a detention or retention basin for stormwater control.

Typical examples of conditions that may be imposed through the conditional negative declaration process are:

  • Requiring addition of a turning lane and new traffic signal to mitigate traffic impacts
  • Addition of a permanent vegetated buffer area along the stream bank to protect the riparian corridor along the waterway
  • Requiring that all stonewalls located along public roads shall be maintained
  • Requiring that a landscape berm shall be built between the public road and the parking lot to screen and buffer a new shopping plaza; and
  • Requiring that the siting of the proposed parking lot shall be moved to from the eastern side to the western side of a proposed structure to avoid impacts to a wetland.

Note that using a conditioned negative declaration in a situation where the reviewing agency requires additional information to be submitted prior to approval is not an acceptable use of the CND procedure.

The reviewing agency will need to describe, in writing, how the whole action was considered and that all relevant areas of environmental concern were identified and thoroughly analyzed. A reasoned elaboration must be given as to why any areas of concern would not constitute significant adverse environmental impacts. The lead agency must document its conclusion that any potential impacts are not significant, or that any potentially significant impacts would be adequately mitigated through either the standards within the jurisdictions of the lead and other involved agencies, or through the special conditions of the CND.

C. Positive Declarations

If one or more significant adverse environmental impacts identified in Part 3 are not mitigated, then you may decide that an impact is significant and that an environmental impact statement is required. If so, describe this reasoning in your Part 3 statement. This is referred to as a 'positive declaration'. A positive declaration means that another phase of the SEQR process will be required and additional information on the impacts determined to be significant will need to be prepared via an environmental impact statement.

The environmental impact statement will study and evaluate the specific resources and significant adverse impacts in more detail. If you decide that further study and evaluation is needed, then check box 'C' stating that the proposed action may result in one or more potentially adverse impacts and that an environmental impact statement is required.

Not all resources or all impacts need to be included in the environmental impact statement. Work completed in Part 3 can be useful to identify the relevant areas of concern so a targeted study can be conducted. Thus, the results of your analysis of Part 3 should be used to identify the list of topics to be included in the environmental impact statement. This list of topics is known as the draft scope. Part 3 will serve as the positive declaration and a copy of this form should be filed as per the instructions on the form.

Complete the form

  • Fill in the Lead Agency information at the bottom of Part 3
  • Sign and date the form
  • This completes this stage of SEQR

Move on to the Filing Requirements page for final instructions.

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