The Use of the City's CEQR Technical Manual in Environmental Review
Petitioners' threshold argument, raised only in the Court of Appeals, (138) was that the CEQR Technical Manual was a City regulation "impermissib[ly] .
141) and Executive Order 91, (142) and following the Court of Appeals' invalidation of co-lead agency designations, (143) the CEQR Technical Manual was developed as part of the Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination ("MOEC")'s mandate to assist agencies, project sponsors, the public, and other participants in the procedures and substance of the CEQR process, including developing technical guidance and methodologies for environmental review.
147) The amici also argued that the potential for significant impacts could not be determined based on using screening threshold analyses and the guidance provided in the CEQR Technical Manual.
150) In order to assist agencies in making this determination, the CEQR Technical Manual provides screening thresholds, or a series of questions, that can be used to assess whether an action is likely to have a significant adverse impact on various aspects of the environment.
In particular, as reviewed in the City respondents' brief and as described in the Dobruskin Affidavit, DCP used reasonable build-out assumptions and CEQR Technical Manual methodologies that identified the amount and location of projected and potential development to estimate the RWCDS and produce a reasonable conservative estimate of future growth consistent with prevailing development trends in Sunset Park and the City in general.
159) Given the guidance set forth in the 2001 CEQR Technical Manual 3B-2 that, "[r]esidential development of 200 units or less or commercial development of 200,000 square feet or less would typically not result in significant socioeconomic impacts," the projected increases in residential units and commercial development expected to result from the Rezoning was well below these levels.
170) In response, the City respondents argued that DCP, informed by the CEQR Technical Manual guidance, properly recognized that secondary displacement occurs by reason of rent pressure on lower income tenants who lack the protection of rent regulation arising from the introduction of significant numbers of new residents with higher incomes into the neighborhood within new development facilitated by the Rezoning.
Since the EAS, standing on its own, complied with SEQRA and CEQR, DCP could rely on the supplemental affidavits to explain the analyses and assumptions set forth in the EAS in response to the specific critiques petitioners raised in this proceeding.
SEQRA and CEQR is whether an EIS [environmental impact statement] is required, which in turn depends on whether an action may or will not have a significant effect on the environment.
Most importantly, a socioeconomic analysis was conducted in accordance with the methodologies set forth by expert City Planning officials and other experts, with guidance from the CEQR Technical Manual.
Part II of the EAS, titled "Potential Impacts of the Proposed Actions," discussed potential impacts, or explained why a further discussion of such impacts was unnecessary, for the categories of land use, zoning, and public policy, socioeconomic conditions, community facilities and services, open space, shadows, historic resources, urban design]visual resources, neighborhood character, natural resources, hazardous materials, waterfront revitalization program, infrastructure, solid waste and sanitation services, energy, traffic and parking, transit and pedestrians, air quality, noise, and construction impacts, the range of factors that may be subject to analyses depending on the project, as set forth in Chapter Three of the 2001 CEQR Technical Manual.