Growing public demand to assess environmental impacts before land use decisions are made has precipitated the need of identifying and anticipating environmental problems. With sound information at hand, environmental degradation can be minimized. The environmental impact report legitimately places the burden of identifying environmental ills and offering feasible alternatives upon the individual, corporation or agency which proposes to alter the environment. The environmental assessment methodology will facilitate the fulfillment of the statutorily required planning, review and approval functions of the Township of Pequannock in order to maintain the health, safety and public welfare not only for the citizens of Pequannock Township, but for the surrounding area.
Prior to preliminary approval of any major subdivision, final approval of any site plan, major or minor, final approval of any minor subdivision, granting of a variance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d, the Planning Board, Board of Adjustment of the Township of Pequannock or, the Township Planner may require that an environmental impact report is submitted in conjunction with the application for development as required by N.J.S.A. 40:55D1 et seq., and in accordance with the standards set forth in this chapter.
When required, such report shall provide the information needed to evaluate the effects of a proposed project upon the environment. The Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, or Planning Director may require that any or all of the information listed below be included in the Environmental Impact Report.
A project description, which shall specify what it is to be done and how it is to be done during construction and operation, as well as recital of alternative plans deemed practicable to achieve the objective.
An inventory of existing environmental conditions and a description of how these components interact at the project site and in the surrounding region, which shall describe air quality, water supply, hydrology, geology, soils and properties thereof, including capabilities and limitations, sewerage systems, topography, slope, vegetation, wildlife, wildlife habitat, food sources, and corridors, aquatic organisms, noise characteristics, history and archaeology. Air and water quality shall be described with reference to standards promulgated by the Department of Environmental Protection of the State of New Jersey, and soils shall be described with reference to criteria contained in the Morris County Soil Conservation District Standards and Specifications.
An assessment of the probable impact of the project upon all topics set forth in "B" above.
A listing and evaluation of adverse environmental impacts, with particular emphasis upon air or water pollution; increase in noise; damage to plant, tree and wildlife systems; damage to natural resources; displacement of people and businesses; displacement of existing farms; increase in sedimentation and siltation; increase in municipal services; and consequences to municipal tax structure. Off-site impact shall also be set forth and evaluated.
A description of steps to be taken to minimize adverse environmental impacts during construction and operation, both at the project site and in the surrounding region, such description to be accompanied by necessary maps, schedules and other explanatory data as may be needed to clarify and explain the actions to be taken.
A statement concerning any irreversible and irretrievable commitment of resources which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented.
A statement of alternatives to the proposed project which might avoid some or all of the adverse environmental effects, including a no-action alternative.
The local municipal body requesting said report shall review the same within the time frame established for the review of the application pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq. and shall consider as part of its review of the application whether or not the project, as applied for, will have an adverse effect upon the environment. Nothing herein, however, shall be construed to limit or replace any other area of the municipal bodies' review and consideration of said application, and no approval shall be granted for any project use, subdivision or site plan, unless all other requirements, including local, state and county, have been complied with. In the event that the Planning Board or the Board of Adjustment determines that expert review of the environmental impact report or inspection of approved construction activity is necessary to insure that the impact on the environment will be minimized, the cost for this review and/or inspections will be charged the applicant's review deposit fee as established in Chapter 79 of the Township Code.