Q. 8, Short EAF (Part 2) History & Archeology
Short Environmental Assessment Form Workbook
Will the proposed action impair the character or quality of important historic, archaeological, architectural or aesthetic resources?
Historic, archaeological, architectural, and aesthetic resources are very important to many communities. These resources are a component of community character. These resources can be impacted by, for example, demolition, changes to the important architectural features of a building or structure, or introduction of elements that block or change views or streetscapes.
Aesthetic character is tied closely to the kind of architecture in the area. However, other features contribute to the aesthetic character too. These include the streetscape, width and type of road, presence of sidewalks, setbacks and heights of buildings, lighting, and signs. The aesthetic character in some communities is also influenced by nearby land uses, and even the topography of the area. For example, is the project site located near similar land uses or will the proposed project block views to important buildings, hills or mountains in the distance? Take these all into consideration when determining if there will be any impact to important architectural and aesthetic resources.
Some additional sources of information that may help assess impacts to historic resources are the municipality's historian, local historic society, or other knowledge groups such as a landmark agency or committee.
Applicable Part 1 Information
Some of the Part 1 questions that should be specifically reviewed when answering this question are:
- Question 12 (for historic and archaeological resources)
- Question 6 (for community character information related to architectural and aesthetic resources)
- Also review your decisions made for Part 2, Question 3
In order to decide if impacts will occur, the reviewing agency should look at the available information and ask:
- Does the proposed project contain, or does it adjoin a structure listed on the national or state register of historic places, or a structure that has been determined by the Commissioner of OPRHP to be eligible for listing on the State Register of Historic Places?
- Is the proposed project located in a national, state, or local historic district, or one that has been determined by the Commissioner of OPRHP to be eligible for listing on the State Register of Historic Places?
- Does the community have a local survey, inventory, or list of important historic, architectural, or aesthetic resources, and are there any resources recorded on or near the project site?
- Is the proposed project located in an archeologically sensitive area?
- If the project site is located in such an area, additional information may need to be collected to see if there are any resources in or near the specific location that may be impacted.
- Are there historic or archaeological resources on the property or nearby?
- Has an archeological survey been done to confirm if the project site has any such resources?
- Will the proposed project directly or indirectly affect them? How?
- Is the proposed project located in a scenic overlay district, scenic byway, or scenic area of state significance?
- Is there a specific architectural style that identifies the community or neighborhood? For example, most buildings may be predominantly of colonial architecture, or perhaps all the buildings in the neighborhood are constructed of red brick.
- Will the project block important scenic views, or change the aesthetic character of an area?
Will there be an impact?
There will likely be no impacts if, in reviewing Part 1, you have determined that the proposed project is:
- Not on a site that is listed on the state or National Register of Historic Resources, or not on a site that has been determined by the Commissioner of OPRHP to be eligible for listing on the State Register of Historic Places, or not on a site that is included in a local historic inventory, if one exists
- Not located in an area having sensitive archaeological features
- Consistent with the architectural and aesthetic character of the area
- Does not block or change scenic or aesthetically important views
- Does not have any impacts on the character or quality of the existing community as determined in Part 2 Question 3
If the proposed project is on a site that is listed on the State or National Register of Historic Places, or a site that has been determined by the Commissioner of OPRHP to be eligible for listing on the State Register of Historic Places, is in an archaeologically sensitive area, or the reviewing agency has decided that the project is not consistent with the character or quality of the aesthetic character, then there may be an impact, and this impact must be evaluated as to its size.
If there is an impact, how big will it be?
If there will be an impact, the reviewing agency must then evaluate the magnitude of that impact. This will depend on the overall scale and context of the proposed project as described in the Introduction to Part 2. The reviewing agency should be reasonable when conducting this review. For additional information on the concept of reasonableness as it applies to SEQR, refer to section F in the Introduction of the SEQR Handbook (PDF) (1.9MB).
A small impact could occur if:
- There is no historic or archaeological resource on the site, but you had previously determined in Part 2 Question 3, that there will be a small impact to community character because of concerns over consistency with existing architectural and aesthetic resources.
- There are historic or archaeological resources on the site, but the project design is such that no disturbances or major changes to historic structures will occur. For example, the location where archaeological resources exist will be avoided, or the historic structure on the property will be maintained and restored.
- There are archaeological resources in the vicinity of the project, but a site-specific inventory shows that there are none on the project site.
- Minor disturbances to the resources will occur or minor changes to the aesthetic or scenic quality of the area but these do not destroy the resource or drastically change the character of the area.
- The project includes a locally designated historic site, and historic preservation permits have been issued that are in compliance with the relevant local historic preservation code.
Moderate to Large Impact
Moderate to large impacts may occur if:
- Historic structures are planned to be demolished or relocated as part of the development plan.
- Historic structures are to be remodeled in a way that destroys or damages its historic value.
- Archeological resources are present on the actual site and will be removed, covered, or built on in a manner which makes it impossible to recover artifacts in the future.
- The project introduces an architectural design that is not consistent with an existing designated historic district and that is not consistent with the long-term vision the community has for its aesthetic character as identified in an adopted comprehensive plan.
- The project changes the character or view of important aesthetic resources.
Recording your decision
If you have determined that there are no impacts, or that only a small impact may occur, no further analysis of this topic is needed. Simply check the box under "No, or small impact may occur" next to the question and move on to Question 9. You may choose to include an explanation in Part 3 as to why you decided there were no, or only small impacts, but you are not required to do so.
If you have determined that one or more moderate to large impacts may occur, then additional analysis of this impact will be required in Part 3. You should note what the impacts are, and the reasoning that lead to your decision before moving on to Question 9.
Scenario 1: A lake-side residential condominium is planned
- The area is listed as being archaeologically sensitive due to Native American artifacts
- The project sponsor has provided an archeological survey of the property performed by a trained archaeologist according to SHPO guidelines
- The site has been previously built upon but at a less intense level, and not in the area where artifacts are known to exist
- The project sponsor has adjusted the plans to avoid all potential adverse impacts to the archeological resources described in the survey.
Then: The Planning Board has determined that there will be small impacts because the project avoids the identified archeological impacts, and the resources will be preserved
Scenario 2: A commercial project is planned on a site that has a historic structure listed on the state and National Historic Register
- There are other structures nearby that are also on the historic register
- The historic structure will be moved, but not demolished
- The architecture of the proposed building is modern, and not consistent with the historic features
Then: The Planning Board has determined that there will be moderate to large impacts because of the impact to the historic structure, as well as to the potential impact on the aesthetic character of the area.
Scenario 3: A vacant lot located along a village's historic main street is planned to be infilled with a new structure
- There are no structures listed on the State or National Register
- But, all the existing buildings are listed as historic on the local inventory and were built pre 1900
- They are all two story brick buildings
- The new building is consistent in design, setback, height, and architectural style so that it blends in with the existing buildings
Then: The Planning Board determines that there will be no impact to the historic, architectural or aesthetic resources of the main street area.
Scenario 4: A multi-family dwelling is planned on a vacant parcel that was previously used as a parking lot in a suburban area
- There are no structures on the parcel
- There are no historic resources, districts or artifacts on the parcel or nearby
- The surrounding structures are two-story single and two-family residences
- The new structure will maintain the setbacks, side yards, height, and architectural style of the existing neighborhood
Then: The Planning Board determines that there will be no impact to the historic, architectural, archaeological or aesthetic resources of the area.