City Environmental Quality Review

The City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) is a process that assesses the environmental impact of certain developments or renovations in a given zoning lot. In accordance with state and local law, the CEQR will identify potentially negative environmental effects of a proposed action and offer measures that will eliminate or mitigate their impact. The only actions that are exempt from environmental review are called Type II actions, which include minor expansions under a certain number of square feet and various special permits for things like health care facilities and parking. (, 2014)

The process involves the following steps:

· Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS)

· Determination of Significance

· Scoping

· Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

· Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)

It is important to note that the CEQR is tasked with assessing a wide range of environmental impacts of a given project-- both built and natural-- based on definitions and guidelines set forth in their 2014 Technical Manual. Air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, sanitation and sewage infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, socioeconomic conditions and neighborhood character are just a few of the issues that fall under its purview. (, 2014)

Yet when it comes to socioeconomic issues such as displacement and gentrification, the CEQR has been the subject of some criticism about how they go about approximating the threat that certain development projects pose. The Pratt Research Center recently found that the environmental review fails to take into account inequitable impacts due to race and ethnicity, neglects low-income residents in larger buildings, and dismisses gentrification altogether. Due to these oversights, they recommend that the CEQR’s technical manual be revised in order to better evaluate residential displacement. (, 2018)

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