TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received an application for a Department of the Army permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344) as described below:
APPLICANT: Lennar Homes LLC
4600 W. Cypress St., Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33607
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Apollo Beach, Wolf Creek, and Cypress Creek waterways. The project site is located north of Cypress Village Drive at 19th Avenue, in Section 35, Township 31 South, Range 19 East, Hillsborough County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75 in Sun City area, exit onto SR 674, turn north on Cypress Village Drive. Follow until you reach 19th Avenue. Site is on north side of road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 27.7371°
Basic: Residential and Commercial development
Overall: Construct a multi-use (residential and commercial) development in the Sun City area of Hillsborough County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 284 acres site is largely improved pasture crisscrossed with agricultural ditches. The site contains 19.24 acres of freshwater wetlands and 6.57 acres of ditches. The onsite vegetation consists of bahia grass pastures, a small pine flatwoods area, herbaceous and forested wetlands. In addition, the ditches and wetland areas have been overwhelmed with Brazilian Pepper and other nuisance species. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of residential developments and improved pasture/agricultural areas.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct an 887-unit residential development with an accompanying commercial component. The proposed project will include fill placed in 0.28 acre of jurisdictional wetlands, 0.11 acre of non-jurisdictional wetlands, 2.52 acres of jurisdictional ditches, and 4.05 acres of non-jurisdictional ditches.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION INFORMATION – The applicant has provided the following information in support of efforts to avoid and/or minimize impacts to the aquatic environment:
The applicant has limited the proposed impacts to man-made ditches and three small man-made wetlands. Due to the configuration of the ditches, the development of the parcel would not be possible without impacts to the ditches. Effective site planning has greatly avoided wetland impacts, preserving 98% of the wetlands on site.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
“Since all of the impacts are to upland-cut ditches or man-made/low quality wetlands, we conclude that mitigation should not be necessary. Filling the ditches and removing the cattle will improve the value of the preserved wetlands.”
The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. By copy of this public notice, the Corps is providing information for review. Our final determination relative to historic resource impacts is subject to review by and coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern Indigo Snake. This determination was made using the 2013 Effect Determination Key for the Eastern Indigo Snake. Pursuant to the key, no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Wood Stork. This determination was made using the 2008 Wood Stork Key for Central and North Peninsular Florida. Pursuant to the key, no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the Florida Scrub Jay and Florida Grasshopper Sparrow as no suitable habitat exists for these species.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This notice initiates consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. Our final determination relative to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to review by and coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
NOTE: This public notice is being issued based on information furnished by the applicant. This information has not been verified or evaluated to ensure compliance with laws and regulation governing the regulatory program. The jurisdictional line has not been verified by Corps personnel.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or one of the state Water Management Districts.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610, within 21 days from the date of this notice.
The decision whether to issue or deny this permit application will be based on the information received from this public notice and the evaluation of the probable impact to the associated wetlands. This is based on an analysis of the applicant's avoidance and minimization efforts for the project, as well as the compensatory mitigation proposed.
QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Candice Wheelahan, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610; by electronic mail at Candice.M.Wheelahan@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (813)769-6061; or, by telephone at (813)769-7064.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Marine Fisheries Services, and other Federal, State, and local agencies, environmental groups, and concerned citizens generally yields pertinent environmental information that is instrumental in determining the impact the proposed action will have on the natural resources of the area.
EVALUATION: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including cumulative impacts thereof; among these are conservation, economics, esthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historical properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food, and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and in general, the needs and welfare of the people. Evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will also include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, EPA, under authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act or the criteria established under authority of Section 102(a) of the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.
The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other Interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this determination, comments are used to assess impacts to endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CONSISTENCY: In Florida, the State approval constitutes compliance with the approved Coastal Zone Management Plan. In Puerto Rico, a Coastal Zone Management Consistency Concurrence is required from the Puerto Rico Planning Board. In the Virgin Islands, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources permit constitutes compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Plan.
REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer within the designated comment period of the notice and must state the specific reasons for requesting the public hearing.