The information below provides a basic understanding of what CEQR is, when it is triggered, what an applicant needs to do to get started with CEQR, and how the public may be involved with a CEQR review.
As mandated by the State Environmental Quality Review Act, CEQR is the process by which New York City agencies determine what effect, if any, a discretionary action they approve may have upon the environment. CEQR is a disclosure process and not an approval process in and of itself. Completion of an environmental review supports other decisions made by agencies such as approvals of rezoning or variance applications, funding, or issuance of discretionary permits. Ministerial actions, such as the issuance of a building permit, are not subject to environmental review.
A project may need certain discretionary actions or approvals by one or more city, state, or federal agencies before it can start. An action may be initiated by the City or proposed by private applicants for approval by a city agency. To determine whether a project needs to be reviewed under CEQR, ask the following:
If the answer is *YES* to any of these questions, a project needs to undergo a CEQR review. If state or federal funding or approvals are also needed, a project must comply with the requirements of SEQRA and NEPA, respectively. The lead agency is primarily responsible for the review and assists the applicant through this process. To learn more, please see the CEQR Technical Manual.
To get started an applicant or agency needs to have the following:
The necessary level of review depends on the type of action(s), as defined by state rules, to be approved, funded, or undertaken by a city agency. To determine the appropriate level of review, determine the following:
To help understand the overall steps CEQR reviews may take from beginning to end, click on this CEQR process diagram to enlarge it.
Public participation in the environmental review process is important because it provides a different perspective from project proponents and agencies in examining potential environmental effects. Valuable information may be provided by people who live and work in areas of proposed projects. New York City encourages all interested parties to participate in the environmental review process.
Public comment periods are mandated by state and city rules at certain steps of the environmental review process. Such comment periods provide the public, agencies, and other interested parties the opportunity to provide input into the process for specific reviews. For example, substantive comments on a draft scope of work may focus the issues and analysis topics to be included in the draft EIS, the methodologies for analysis (such as the size of a study area, the type of data to be gathered, or the type of analysis to be conducted), the alternatives to the proposed project, and any special conditions or concerns that the lead agency should consider.
Opportunities for public participation, review and comment are listed below.
For reviews resulting in a *Conditional Negative Declaration (CND):*
For reviews resulting in a *Positive Declaration (Pos Dec):*
*Public Comment Period (for draft Scope of Work):* When the lead agency issues a draft Scope of Work (the document that outlines the extent of what will be analyzed in the EIS and how such analyses will be conducted), the public may comment on the substance of the scope. This comment period begins when the draft scope is issued, includes a public scoping meeting (discussed below), and extends for a minimum of 10 days after this meeting. These comments are then taken into account in developing the final scope of work for the Draft EIS.
The chart below illustrates the CEQR draft Scope of Work & Public Scoping Meeting process.
The chart below illustrates the regulatory process for a public hearing on the DEIS.
Before you contact your lead agency or MOEC, see whether your question has been addressed in the CEQR Frequently Asked Questions.
If you still need additional information on CEQR, please see any of the following sources of information or contact MOEC to assist you: