SEQRA, the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, creates a process whereby public actions are reviewed with the intent to mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of those actions. Recently decided New York case law has created flexibility in the SEQRA process by allowing developers, among others, to revamp proposed projects early in the application process in order to expedite SEQRA and save substantial amounts of money. A New York court held that using public meetings to garner information and negotiate different aspects of a proposed project, and a determination of a negative declaration (the proposed project will have no significant adverse environmental impact) was a proper decision under SEQRA. Professional facilitators have become an important tool to help guide the SEQRA process into being more efficient and cost effective.
John R. Nolon, Community Involvement: Facilitation Adds Flexibility to Land Use Decision-Making, New York Law Journal, Oct. 21, 1998, at 5.