CEQRCity Environmental Quality Review
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CEQR should consider socioeconomic impacts and the growing problem of
all, sites within a rezoning area." (48) Accordingly, in estimating the RWCDS, DCP used reasonable build-out assumptions (49) and the methodologies set forth in the 2001 CEQR Technical Manual, which identified "the amount and location of projected and potential development." (50)
Furthermore, the City respondents demonstrated how, using accepted planning methodologies largely set forth in the 2001 CEQR Technical Manual, DCP carefully and thoroughly evaluated the potential development associated with the Rezoning and properly determined that it was not of a size or character that could be expected to result in significant adverse impacts to the environment, including upon socioeconomic conditions and neighborhood character.
In accordance with accepted methodology, as set forth in the 2001 CEQR Technical Manual (the Manual), DCP considered both a 'reasonable worst-case scenario' in a future 'no-action' condition, as compared to a future 'with-action' condition over a 10-year period, and the environmental review categories identified in the Manual.
a high-rise luxury condominium, on a vacant lot in the Chinatown section of [Manhattan]." (99) Upon review of the statutory CEQR definition of "physical condition[]," which included socioeconomic conditions and neighborhood character, the court held that because the environmental analysis did not address these distinct elements, it had to be invalidated.
In particular, the EAS had included an assessment of the potential socioeconomic impacts of the Rezoning, which was conducted in accordance with the methodologies set forth in the 2001 CEQR Technical Manual, and DCP used an initial screening method to determine whether a more detailed socioeconomic analysis was warranted.
The proposed action would not exceed any of the initial thresholds cited in the CEQR Technical Manual.
First, we briefly examine petitioners' novel argument that the City's CEQR Technical Manual, which provides guidance on methodologies used in environmental review, was "promulgated" outside its authority.
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] ...
In particular, pursuant to the authority set forth in Title 6, section 617.14(b) of the N.Y.C.R.R., (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.