The New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association recently awarded their 2014 Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC’s) new online Environmental Assessment Form tools: the EAF Workbooks and the EAF Mapper application.
These tools were developed by DEC, environmental planning consultants Nan Stolzenburg (Community Planning & Environmental Associates), Don Meltz (Don Meltz Planning and GIS), and the geographic information system development firm Fountains Spatial.
The annual Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice is given to a planning tool, practice, program, project, or process that is a significant advancement to specific elements of planning. Emphasis is placed on results, and how the best practice helps to promote efforts that foster greater participation in planning.
DEC prepared the EAF Workbooks to assist applicants, project sponsors, and reviewing agencies in completing the recently updated environmental assessment forms (EAFs). The workbooks provide background information for each question on the EAF, offer guidance on how to analyze issues, and provide additional resources that can be consulted if the project sponsor or the reviewing agency is seeking additional information on a specific topic. The workbooks make generous use of examples to illustrate typical situations that project sponsors and agencies encounter when conducting an environmental assessment.
The EAF Mapper is an Internet-based GIS tool that makes it easier for a project sponsor to prepare the EAF forms. To answer questions about a project site, the sponsor can either use the mapping software to identify the location by its tax map parcel number, or use a drawing tool built into the system to obtain the necessary site information.
Together, these new tools make it easier and quicker for applicants and reviewers to complete the forms that must be submitted as part of the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process.
Additional information about the new SEQR forms, the companion EAF workbooks, and the EAF Mapper can be found on DEC’s website.