[HISTORY: Adopted by the Rochester City Council 11-14-1978 by Ord. 78-600; amended in its entirety 2-20-1996 by Ord. No. 96-23. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Environmental Review Ordinance."
This chapter is enacted pursuant to Article 8 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law and 6 NYCRR Part 617, State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) regulations.
The basic purpose of this chapter is to incorporate consideration of environmental factors into the existing decisionmaking processes of City government at the earliest possible time. It is the intent of this chapter that all agencies of City government conduct their affairs with an awareness that they are stewards of the air, water, land and living resources and that they have an obligation to protect the environment for the use and enjoyment of this and all future generations. No decision to carry out, approve or fund any action subject to review pursuant to this chapter shall be made by any unit of City government until there has been full compliance with all applicable requirements of this chapter.
It is the intent of this chapter to supplement and not to replace or supersede 6 NYCRR Part 617.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A state or local governmental unit, including but not limited to City Council, departments, bureaus, offices, commissions, boards and officers.
- The City of Rochester.
- ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
- A preliminary analysis of the expected environmental impacts of a proposed action, resulting in a determination of whether or not the proposed action may significantly affect the environment. A determination that the proposed action may significantly affect the environment will require preparation of an environmental impact statement.
- MINISTERIAL ACT
- An action performed upon a given state of facts in a prescribed manner imposed by law or regulation without the exercise of any judgment or discretion as to the propriety of the action, although such law or regulation may require, to a limited degree, an interpretation of its language or intent. Such actions shall include, but not be limited to, the issuance of a building permit, certificate of zoning compliance or certificate of occupancy pursuant to the Municipal Code; or the issuance of a permit for fishing or hunting in the upland water supply watershed to holders of valid New York State fishing or hunting licenses.
- NEIGHBORHOOD CHARACTER
- The physical elements and attributes of the area within an action's potential area of environmental impact, including land use, streetscape characteristics, design and scale of existing structures, natural features, existing pattern of population concentrations and intensity of land development.
Any words appearing and not defined in this chapter, shall have the meaning found in 6 NYCRR 617.2.
The general rules shall be those found in 6 NYCRR 617.3.
Except as otherwise provided herein, the following are Type I actions:
All actions identified as Type I actions in 6 NYCRR 617.4.
Actions proposed in any of the following critical environmental areas and which involve a type of development listed below:
Critical environmental areas:
Land within 100 feet of the wall, bank or gorge of the Genesee River or of the high-water mark of Lake Ontario.
Slopes and crests of the following glacial formations:
The lesser hills, comprised of kames, kettles and eskers, generally located between the Conrail Railroad right-of-way on the west and Interstate Route 590 on the east, and generally situated north of Highland Avenue, encompassing Mount Hope Cemetery and Highland Park.
Areas zoned as Open Space District.
Any project area which is at least 50% covered by steep slopes of 15% or greater.
Heavily wooded land, which shall be defined as an area of at least two acres with at least 50% of its area covered by a canopy of mature trees.
Freshwater wetlands designated pursuant to Article 24 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law.
Areas designated as drainage systems on the Official Street Map.
Types of development:
Residential development of more than five single-family dwellings or more than 10 units in one or more multifamily dwellings.
Public or private utility stations, sewage treatment plants, water facilities, drainage channels or wastewater treatment facilities.
Transportation terminals, roads or highways.
Clear-cutting of trees.
Parking lot(s) with over 10 parking spaces.
Any facility, development or project which is to be located in a dedicated City park or a City school district playground, except projects which either:
Actions which would remove, without replacement, 1/3 or more of all street trees within the public right-of-way along the street frontage of a project area.
Reconstruction of any existing publicly dedicated roadway which would result in:
A total widening of the pavement by seven feet on any one side or by 10 feet in total on both sides in a residential area (both sides of the roadway section zoned residential);
A total widening of the pavement by two or more travel lanes in any other area; or
Any diminution of any unpaved median strip which is located within a Preservation District on a local landmark site, within a National Register of Historic Places District or on a National Register of Historic Places site.
Rezoning of areas in a district currently zoned Open Space District to any other district.
Disposition, including sale or lease, of City-owned property, including property acquired through foreclosure, which requires more than rehabilitation of an existing structure, for a use which involves a type of development and a critical environmental area listed in § 48-4B(1).
Establishment of new junkyards or alteration of existing junkyards.
Establishment of new waste centers involving hazardous wastes or any expansion or alteration of an existing waste center involving or introducing hazardous waste.
Construction of towers for personal wireless telecommunications facilities when located in Residential Districts, Open Space Districts and the Center City District.
[Added 2-11-1997 by Ord. No. 97-46; amended 11-19-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-354]
Establishment of new uses in the Rochester Science Park.
[Added 6-14-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-160]
The following are Type II actions:
All actions identified as actions not requiring environmental review in 6 NYCRR 617.5.
In addition, the following are deemed actions not requiring review, provided that no thresholds listed in 6 NYCRR 617.4 or § 48-4 of this chapter are exceeded:
[Amended 2-11-1997 by Ord. No. 97-46; 11-19-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-354]
The disposition, including sale, lease or other transfer, of City-owned and Urban Renewal Agency-owned property meeting one of the following criteria:
The parcel is occupied by an existing residential structure and will be continued in use as a residential structure; which is not designated as a landmark site or structure or within a preservation district pursuant to Chapter 120 or listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and which requires no more than a minimal amount of rehabilitation.
[Amended 11-19-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-354]
The parcel is vacant, zoned residential and:
Has a frontage of less than 40 feet and the lot area is less than 6,000 square feet; or
Has a frontage of less than 80% of the average frontage of adjacent developed parcels within 250 feet of either side of the lot and a lot area of less than 6,000 square feet; or
Contains a utility easement which prohibits any construction on the parcel; or
Is landlocked without means of access from another property.
The parcel is occupied by an existing structure which is not designated as a landmark site or structure or within a preservation district pursuant to Chapter 120; is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places; which requires no further discretionary actions by a governmental unit to permit its occupancy; and is either:
[Amended 11-19-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-354]
The parcel is vacant, zoned for commercial or industrial use and requires no further discretionary actions by a governmental unit to permit its development and use as a commercial or industrial activity.
Short-term leases (not more than five years) for uses not requiring further discretionary actions by a governmental unit.
Property rehabilitation and maintenance undertaken, to achieve compliance with the following chapters of the Municipal Code:
Street maintenance, reconstruction or rehabilitation work and underground utility work within the existing street right-of-way.
Acquisition of unimproved parcels of land up to 2,000 square feet for expansion of a street right-of-way.
Water service and hydrant use permit issuance.
Routine water system maintenance and rehabilitation activities, including upland water supply facilities.
Landscaping improvements and maintenance upon public property.
Licensing of commercial, industrial and institutional refuse/waste haulers who also hold valid permits/licenses from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Temporary permits or license agreements for the use of public property.
Administrative resubdivisions and administrative variances.
Residential use conversions authorized by zoning variance or by special permit.
Area variances for signs.
Area variances for City-wide design standards.
Site plan approvals not involving site or structural changes.
Site plan approvals for placement of signs.
Site plan approvals for alternate landscaping plans.
Site plan approvals for all exterior alterations to existing buildings or structures and all new construction in the Center City District (CCD) that meet the overall objectives set out in the CCD, to include minor deviations.
Official Street Map amendments of the following nature:
Minor right-of-way changes (realignments), including reservations for future widening, and deletion of widening lines.
Street or park naming or name changes.
Street abandonments which involve unimproved paper streets, where the right-of-way is not essential for future transportation purposes, does not provide the only means of access to an abutting parcel of land, is not utilized for public utility purposes and does not function as a drainageway.
Actions by the Traffic Control Board.
The issuance of certificates of appropriateness for the following types of improvements:
Alterations to buildings, but not demolitions or additions which change the volume of buildings;
Landscaping involving removal of nonspecimen trees less than five inches caliper and/or ground cover constituting 25% or less of the site;
Parking lots constituting less than 25% of the lot;
Erection of fences and walls;
Erection of fire escapes;
Erection of signs;
Erection of awnings;
The addition of live landscaping materials;
Temporary or seasonal alterations; and
Alternative sign programs.
The granting of demolition permits for the demolition of:
The following structures, provided that such structure is not designated as a landmark or within a preservation district pursuant to Chapter 120 of the Municipal Code; provided that such structure is not a designated building of value as defined in Chapter 120 of the Municipal Code; provided that such structure is not listed on the State or National Register of Historic Places; provided that such structure has not been proposed by the New York State Board of Historic Preservation for a recommendation to the State Historic Preservation Officer for nomination for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places; provided that the demolition of such structure would not expose the public or adjacent properties to hazardous substances or unsafe situations; and provided that the demolition is not part of an action which requires further discretionary action by any governmental agency:
Freestanding accessory structures such as fire escapes, antennas and small porches, provided that they are attached to walls or other structures suitable for exposure to the elements.
Accessory structures such as fire escapes, antennas and small porches, provided that they are attached to walls or other structures suitable for exposure to the elements.
Interior walls measuring less than 250 linear feet in total or structures totaling less than 1,875 cubic feet of material.
Formal dedication of parkland when the prior use of the parcel has been consistent with that of a park.
Erection of antennas for personal wireless telecommunications facilities on buildings, except on landmark buildings and sites, and on existing towers or other structures as described in § 120-143F of the Zoning Code.
Special permits for alternative sign programs.
Special permits for alternative parking plans.
Designation of an urban renewal area by City Council.
Alterations to buildings, but not demolitions or additions which change the volume of buildings, in the Harbortown and Public Market Village Districts.
The conversion in any residential, commercial or industrial district of floor area designed for nonresidential use to residential use, excluding the Village Center and C-2 Districts.
Procedures for the initial review of actions shall be as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.6(a) and for establishing lead agency as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.6(b).
A copy of each Type I environmental assessment form (EAF) shall be referred to the Environmental Commission by the designated lead agency prior to a significance determination having been tendered.
The Environmental Commission shall review and comment upon EAF referrals, including unlisted actions for which the lead agency has requested the input of the Commission.
Pursuant to § 12-12E(5) of the City Charter, the Environmental Commission shall comment upon referred environmental assessments within 15 business days of receipt of the completed environmental assessment. Failure by the Commission to comment upon a referred EAF within the established comment period shall not preclude the lead agency from making a significance determination for the action. The Environmental Commission's comments shall be deemed advisory only.
Procedures and criteria for determining significance shall be as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.7.
The scoping process shall be as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.8.
The procedures for preparing environmental impact statements (EIS) shall be as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.9(a). The content of EIS's shall be as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.9(b).
Upon receipt of an acceptable draft EIS, the Environmental Commission shall hold a public hearing on the draft EIS and discharge its further responsibilities as set forth in § 12-12E(3) of the City Charter.
A notice of hearing shall be prepared by the lead agency in the manner prescribed in 6 NYCRR 617.9.
The hearing shall commence not less than 15 calendar days nor more than 60 calendar days after the filing of the completed draft EIS, except as the lead agency may otherwise provide where it determines that additional time is necessary for public or other agency review of the draft EIS or where a different hearing date is required as appropriate under applicable law or where a different hearing date will reasonably permit consolidation with another hearing otherwise required concerning the action.
A transcript shall be made of any public hearing, and anyone wishing to obtain a copy of the transcript may do so, provided that the City is reimbursed for the cost of copying the transcript.
The description, purpose and procedures for generic EIS's shall be as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.10.
Decisionmaking and findings requirements shall be as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.11.
Document preparation, filing, publications and distribution requirements shall be as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.12.
Fees and costs for the preparation and review of draft and final EIS's shall be as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.13.
If the action is subject to environmental review and it is located within the boundaries of the City of Rochester's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) area, then the following is required:
Action involving a federal agency shall be treated as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.15.
Requests concerning confidential information shall be treated as set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.16.
The agency considering an action shall determine whether the action has been previously reviewed pursuant to this chapter; been previously reviewed by an agency pursuant to Article 8 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law; or been previously reviewed as part of a more comprehensive action pursuant to this chapter or said Article 8.
If an action is determined to have been previously reviewed, no further review of said action pursuant to this chapter may be necessary, provided that there have been no substantial changes in the action, the environmental factors which were previously assessed or the fundamental assumptions, e.g., location, use, density, traffic circulation and supporting infrastructure for the project since its previous review, and the agency considering the action was involved in the prior review process.
Use of a prior environmental impact statement shall not relieve an agency of the requirements set forth in 6 NYCRR 617.11.