11-2-5: ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT WORKSHEETS AND IMPACT STATEMENTS:
   A.   Requirements Generally:
      1.   No building permit, site plan approval, variance, conditional use permit or ordinance amendment shall be approved prior to review by the Director of Community Development to determine the necessity for completion of an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) or environmental impact statement (EIS).
      2.   Procedures for EAWs and EISs are set forth in the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB) Regulations for the Environmental Review Program, 1987 edition and amendments thereto (6 MCAR sections 3.021 through 3.056), which are on file in the office of the City Clerk.
      3.   Environmental reviews (EAWs and EISs) shall be conducted as early as practicable in the development of a proposed project. Time delays in the normal permit process caused by the filing and review of the EAW or EIS shall not be considered part of the permit approval time requirements within this Title. Such delays shall be considered as additional required time for each required permit. The permit process for the proposed project may be continued from the point it was interrupted by the EAW/EIS process. No final decision on granting a permit or other approval required to commence the project may be issued until the EAW/EIS process is completed.
   B.   Environmental Assessment Worksheets (EAW):
      1.   Purpose: The purpose of an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) is to rapidly assess, in a worksheet format, whether or not a proposed action has the potential for significant environmental effects.
      2.   Mandatory EAWs: The preparation of an EAW shall be mandatory for those projects that meet or exceed the thresholds contained in the State Environmental Review Program Regulations (6 MCAR section 3.038).
      3.   Discretionary EAWs: A discretionary EAW may be required when it is determined that, because of the nature or location of a proposed project, the project may have the potential for significant environmental effects. The Director of Community Development may require the preparation of a discretionary EAW in the following situations; providing, that the project is not specifically exempted by 6 MCAR section 3.041:
         a.   Where a project has the potential for significant impact on areas of unique wildlife habitat, woodlands, historic sites, steep slopes, wetlands, soils unsuitable for development, surface water bodies, natural watercourses or any other unique or significant environmental features as noted in the Comprehensive Plan or revealed by a site inspection;
         b.   When it is determined, pursuant to the petition process of 6 MCAR section 3.026, that a project may have the potential for significant effects; or
         c.   When the proposer wishes to initiate environmental review to determine if a project has the potential for significant environmental effects.
      4.   EAW Procedures:
         a.   Preparation And Distribution:
            (1)   If the Director of Community Development determines that an EAW shall be prepared, the proposer of the project shall submit an application for environmental review along with the EAW prepared in draft form. The applicant shall agree in writing, as a part of the application, to reimburse the City prior to the issuance of any permits for all reasonable costs, including legal and consultant fees, incurred in preparation and review of the EAW.
            (2)   If sufficient detailed information is not made available from the project proposer, or if the Director of Community Development cannot complete the EAW because of time or workforce constraints, the Director of Community Development may utilize a professional consultant to gather necessary information and complete the worksheet.
            (3)   Within thirty (30) days of submission of the application for environmental review, the Director of Community Development shall review the draft EAW for completeness and accuracy, add supplementary material if necessary and approve the EAW for distribution.
            (4)   If the environmental assessment worksheet is ordered to be prepared pursuant to the petition process of 6 MCAR section 3.026F, the EAW must be prepared within twenty five (25) working days of the date of that decision, unless an extension of time is agreed upon by the proposer of the project and the Director of Community Development.
            (5)   Within five (5) days of approving the EAW for distribution, the Director of Community Development shall distribute copies of the EAW to the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) for publication of the notice of availability of the EAW in the EQB Monitor. Copies shall be distributed at the same time to the official EAW distribution list maintained by the EQB staff. Within five (5) days of submission of the EAW to the EQB, the Director of Community Development shall provide a press release to the City's official newspaper, containing notice of availability of the EAW for public review.
         b.   Review By Planning Commission: During the thirty (30) day comment period that follows publication of the notice of availability of the EAW in the EQB Monitor, the Planning Commission shall review the EAW. The Commission shall make recommendations to the City Council regarding potential environmental impacts that may warrant further investigation before the project is commenced and the need for an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposed project.
         c.   Decision By City Council:
            (1)   The City Council shall make its decision on the need for an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed project at its first meeting more than ten (10) days but not more than thirty (30) days after the close of the comment period. The Council shall base its decision on the need for an EIS and the proposed scope of an EIS, on the information gathered during the EAW process and on the comments received on the EAW. In deciding whether a project has the potential for significant environmental effects, the following factors shall be considered:
               (A)   Type, extent and reversibility of environmental effects;
               (B)   Cumulative potential effects of related or anticipated future projects;
               (C)   The extent to which the environmental effects are subject to mitigation by ongoing public regulatory authority; and
               (D)   The extent to which environmental effects can be anticipated and controlled as a result of other environmental studies undertaken by public agencies or the project proposer, or of EISs previously prepared on similar projects.
            (2)   Within the five (5) days of the Council's decision on the need for an EIS, notice shall be provided to all persons on the EAW distribution list, to all persons who commented in writing during the thirty (30) day comment period, to the EQB staff for publication of the decision in the EQB Monitor and to any person upon written request.
   C.   Environmental Impact Statements (EIS):
      1.   Purpose: The purpose of an environmental impact statement (EIS) is to provide information for governmental units, the proposer of the project and other persons to evaluate proposed projects which have the potential for significant environmental effects, to consider alternatives to the proposed projects and to explore methods for reducing adverse environmental effects.
      2.   Mandatory EISs: An EIS shall be prepared for any project that meets or exceeds the thresholds of any of the EIS categories listed in 6 MCAR section 3.039.
      3.   Discretionary EISs: An EIS shall be prepared when the City Council determines that, based on the environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) and any comments or additional information received during the EAW comment period, the proposed project has the potential for significant environmental effects; or when the City Council or the proposer of the project agrees that an EIS should be prepared.
      4.   EIS Procedures:
         a.   All projects requiring an EIS must have an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) on file with the City, which will be used to determine the scope of the EIS.
         b.   All EISs shall be prepared according to the procedures and requirements of the State Environmental Review Program Rules, 6 MCAR sections 3.029 through 3.033.
         c.   The costs of preparation of an EIS shall be assessed to the project proposer in accordance with 6 MCAR sections 3.049 through 3.054.
         d.   Any proposal, project or use on which an EIS is required shall be considered a "conditional use" as defined in this Title and shall comply with the procedure for approval of a conditional use permit. Mitigating recommendations of the EIS shall be incorporated as conditions of issuance on the conditional use permit. (1971 Code § 28-18.1; amd. 2000 Code)