[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 6-25-1985 by L.L. No. 22-1985 (Ch. 279 of the 1985 Code). Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
GENERAL REFERENCES450a Uncod LL Pro
Conveyance of property — See Ch. 29.
Land exchanges — See Ch. 141.
Utility easements — See Ch. 245.
Open space preservation — See Ch. 633.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 763.
Land development — See Ch. 1001.
Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law, known as the "State Environmental Quality Review Act of 1975" (SEQRA), provides that all agencies shall prepare, or cause to be prepared by contract or otherwise, an environmental impact statement (EIS) on any action they propose or approve which may have a significant effect on the environment. This chapter is adopted pursuant to Subdivision 3 of § 8-0113 of the Environmental Conservation Law, which requires agencies to adopt and publish such additional procedures as may be necessary for the implementation by them of SEQRA, consistent with the statewide rules and regulations, 6 NYCRR 617 (the "Regulations"), adopted by the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation pursuant to Subdivision 1 of § 8-0113 of the Environmental Conservation Law.
This chapter shall govern the implementation of SEQRA by all units of Suffolk County government.
No decision to carry out or approve an action, other than a ministerial, exempt or a Type II action, shall be made by any unit of County government until there has been full compliance with all requirements of this chapter and SEQRA and the Regulations; provided, however, that nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting the conducting of contemporaneous environmental, engineering, economic feasibility or other studies and preliminary planning and budgetary processes necessary to the formulation of a proposal for action which do not commit the County to approve, commence or engage in such action.
Unless the context shall otherwise require, the terms, phrases, words and their derivatives used in this chapter shall have the same meanings as those defined in SEQRA and the Regulations.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Suffolk County Council on Environmental Quality.
- The Chairman of CEQ.
- COUNTY-INITIATED ACTION
- An action subject to SEQRA that is directly undertaken or financed by the County of Suffolk and is subject to a final decision by the Suffolk County Legislature and the Suffolk County Executive.
- INITIATING UNIT
- Any department, board, commission or agency of the government of the County of Suffolk, including the County Legislature and Office of the County Executive, that carries out a County-initiated action subject to SEQRA.
- NON-COUNTY-INITIATED ACTION
- An action subject to SEQRA that is neither directly undertaken nor financed by the County of Suffolk but that requires the approval of one or more permitting units of the government of the County of Suffolk.
- PERMITTING UNIT
- A department, board, commission or agency of the government of the County of Suffolk, including the County Legislature and the County Executive, responsible for issuing a permit or granting approval or funding for a non-County-initiated action subject to SEQRA.
County-initiated actions. Where County-initiated actions are involved and the County of Suffolk is lead agency or is considering an unlisted action, implementation of SEQRA shall be governed by § 450-5 of this chapter. Where a permit, funding or approval from another level of government is involved in a County-initiated action, the initiating unit shall determine whether to seek lead agency status on behalf of the County of Suffolk pursuant to SEQRA and the Regulations. If an agency other than the County of Suffolk is a lead agency, the procedures of § 450-6 of this chapter shall apply.
Non-County-initiated actions. Where a County permit or other form of approval or funding is requested from a permitting unit for a non-County-initiated action, implementation of SEQRA shall be governed by § 450-10 of this chapter. Where a permit, approval or funding from an agency other than the permitting unit is also required for a non-County-initiated action, the permitting unit shall determine whether to seek lead agency status for itself pursuant to SEQRA and the Regulations.
This procedure shall apply to all County-initiated actions when the County of Suffolk is the lead agency or is considering an unlisted action.
The environmental review process shall be commenced as early as possible in the formulation of a proposal for an action.
The initiating unit shall be responsible for commencing the environmental review process.
In the course of complying with SEQRA and the Regulations, the County of Suffolk and its initiating units shall, in accordance with Section 617.14(c) of the Regulations, utilize the advice and assistance of the CEQ on SEQRA matters, including the following:
Advice on preparation and review of environmental assessment forms.
Recommendations on the significance and nonsignificance of actions.
Preparation of EIS's and recommendations on the scope, adequacy and contents of EIS's.
Preparation and circulation of SEQRA notices and documents.
Conduct of public hearings.
Recommendations to decision-makers.
If the initiating unit considers the action to be Type II, ministerial or exempt, it shall so notify CEQ in writing, setting forth the basis for its conclusion that the action is a Type II, ministerial or exempt action.
If the initiating unit considers the action to be Type I or unlisted, it shall so notify the CEQ in writing, setting forth the basis for its conclusion that the action is Type I or unlisted, and it shall also submit to the CEQ an environmental assessment form (EAF) in accordance with § 450-9 of this chapter.
The CEQ shall consider the submissions from the initiating unit and shall recommend whether or not the action is correctly classified and whether or not an EIS is required. The CEQ's recommendation shall be made within 30 days of receipt of the submissions by the initiating unit; however, if the CEQ finds that insufficient information has been provided to allow said recommendation and notifies the initiating unit in writing of the specific deficiencies, the time allowed for a recommendation may be extended. A recommendation by the CEQ that an action is correctly classified and whether or not an EIS is required must be made by resolution of the full Council, with a quorum present and voting. In the event that no recommendation is made by CEQ within the thirty-day time frame set forth above, or as properly extended, then the County Legislature shall be authorized to make its own determination under Subsection H of this section without said recommendation from the CEQ.
[Amended 12-18-1990 by L.L. No. 6-1991]
Editor's Note: This local law was adopted by the Legislature after disapproval by the County Executive on 12-13-1990.
Determination by resolution.
Upon receipt and consideration of the CEQ's recommendation and accompanying documentation, the Presiding Officer shall cause to be brought before the Legislature for a vote a resolution determining that the proposed action is either:
In the event that the proposed action is determined to be either a Type I action or an unlisted action, then the resolution shall also determine whether the action:
This resolution shall then be submitted to the County Executive for his approval or veto. The resolution shall then be filed in accordance with Section 617.12 of the Regulations, with the initiating unit and with the CEQ.
Draft environmental impact statement.
Upon notification that an EIS is required, the initiating unit shall prepare or cause to be prepared a draft EIS (DEIS) and shall submit copies of the DEIS to the CEQ. The CEQ shall determine whether or not the DEIS is satisfactory with respect to its scope, content and adequacy for purposes of the Regulations. If the CEQ determines that a DEIS is unsatisfactory, then it shall notify the initiating unit in writing of the specific deficiencies. The initiating unit shall make any necessary revisions in its DEIS. Upon receipt of a satisfactory DEIS, the CEQ shall prepare a notice of completion in accordance with Section 617.12 of the Regulations. The CEQ shall also prepare, file and circulate copies of the DEIS and notice of completion, in accordance with Section 617.12 of the Regulations, with the Legislature, the County Executive and the initiating unit.
If the Chairman, the County Executive or a majority of the Legislature determines that a public hearing is required on a DEIS, then the CEQ shall hold a public hearing on the DEIS, at which the Chairman or his designee shall preside. Public notice of the hearing shall be provided in accordance with Section 617.12 of the Regulations. Representatives from the initiating unit, the Legislature and the County Executive's office shall attend the public hearing. A summary or other record of the hearing shall be prepared.
The CEQ shall forward the DEIS and all comments on the DEIS received from concerned parties, together with the record of the hearing, if held, including any written statements, accompanied by the CEQ's recommendations, if any, to the initiating unit, the Legislature and the County Executive within 30 days of the close of the hearing or comment period. The Presiding Officer shall then cause to be brought before the Legislature for a vote a resolution determining that a final EIS need be prepared, or the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the environment (negative declaration) and a final EIS need not be prepared. This resolution shall then be submitted to the County Executive for his approval or veto. The resolution shall then be filed in accordance with Section 617.10 of the Regulations, with the initiating unit and with the CEQ.
Final environmental impact statement.
If required, the initiating unit shall prepare or cause to be prepared a final EIS (FEIS), in accordance with Section 617.9 of the Regulations, and shall file copies of the FEIS with the CEQ.
Upon receipt of the FEIS, the CEQ shall prepare a notice of completion, in accordance with Section 617.12 of the Regulations. The CEQ shall also file, circulate and make available the notice of completion and copies of the FEIS, in accordance with Section 617.12 of the Regulations.
The CEQ shall forward the FEIS and notice of completion, together with its comments and comments received from other parties on the FEIS, to the County Executive and Legislature within 30 days of the receipt thereof and shall provide a copy of its comments, and any others, to the initiating unit.
The County Executive and Legislature, upon consideration of the FEIS and all comments, shall, by resolution:
Remand the case to the initiating unit for necessary changes in the project or the FEIS; or
Order the termination of the project.
If the case is remanded, then the initiating unit shall, after making the indicated modifications, submit a report thereof to the County Executive and Legislature, with copies to the CEQ, for reconsideration of the determination pursuant to Section 617.11(c) and (d). The CEQ shall provide its comments on the report to the County Executive and Legislature within 30 days of receipt thereof, to aid in the reconsideration.
This procedure applies to County-initiated actions subject to SEQRA that the County undertakes or approves, when an agency other than the County is designated lead agency.
All County-initiated actions shall be carried out in compliance with the relevant determination, environmental impact statement and/or findings.
Whenever the findings made pursuant to § 450-5K of this chapter are dependent on the specific plans, conditions or procedures set forth in an environmental impact statement, then:
The relevant plans, conditions and procedures shall be made part of any contract entered into by the County to carry out all or part of the action which was the subject of the environmental impact statement; and
Within 60 days after the completion of the action or prior to final acceptance, whichever shall be later, the initiating unit shall submit to the County Legislature, County Executive and the CEQ a report setting forth the steps that were taken during final implementation of the action to conform to the findings made pursuant to § 450-5K of this chapter.
Type I actions. Type I actions shall be those actions identified as Type I in Section 617.4 of the Regulations. The County Legislature, with the approval of the County Executive, may from time to time, by local law, establish local thresholds and designate critical environmental areas for purposes of identifying Type I actions.
Type II actions. Type II actions shall be those actions identified as Type II in Section 617.5 of the Regulations. The County Legislature, with the approval of the County Executive, may from time to time, by local law, add to that list or adopt its own list, consistent with the provisions of Section 617.5 of the Regulations.
The environmental assessment form (EAF) shall be the form set forth in Appendix A of this chapter.
Editor's Note: Appendix A is on file in the office of the Clerk of the Legislature.
For non-County-initiated actions subject to SEQRA requiring a permit, approval or funding from one or more permitting units of County government, the procedures as set forth in SEQRA and the Regulations shall govern. The CEQ shall have no responsibilities under this section unless specifically requested by the permitting unit.