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: SAI Fort Myers H, LLC
c/o Mr. John Russ, III
4401 Colwick Road
Charlotte, North Carolina 28211
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with freshwater wetlands within the Big Cypress Swamp watershed. The project site is located at 3550 Colonial Boulevard, in Section 6, Township 45 South, Range 25 East, Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75, take exit 136 and head west on Colonial Boulevard; continue to Plantation Road and make a left; project site will be immediately on left-hand side of intersection.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26.596215°
Basic: automobile sales/repair facility
Overall: provide an automobile sales/repair facility for the northeastern Fort Myers area with access to a major transportation corridor
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of a freshwater system. The project site measures 9.79 acres (ac) and contains 1.34 ac of jurisdictional freshwater wetlands. The site is classified into four (4) FLUCFCS codes: 190 Open Water (7.24 ac); 211H Improved Pasture, Hydric (0.47 ac); 500 Water (1.21 ac); and 624E3 Cypress/Pine Cabbage Palm (50-74% Exotics) (0.87 ac). The wetlands are composed of 211 H and 624E3. The FLUCFCS code 500 Water consists of two (2) stormwater lakes from a previous development. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of Plantation Road to the west; church construction to the south; existing commercial facilities to the east; and, Colonia Boulevard to the north.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge 8,508 cubic yards (cy) of fill into 1.34 ac of freshwater wetlands (FLUCFCS code 211H Improved Pasture – 0.47 ac/FLUCFCS code 624E3 Cypress/Pine/Cabbage Palm – 0.87 ac) and 12,916 cy of fill into 1.21 ac of other waters of the U.S. (FLUCFCS code 500-Open water/stormwater ponds) in order to construct an automobile sales/repair facility with associated parking lot, utilities, and surface water management system.
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:
To avoid impacts to waters of the U.S., a number of factors were taken into consideration during the selection of the project site. These factors included: availability, location, land use/zoning, size, and extent of environmental constraints.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant has proposed to purchase the appropriate number of Federal mitigation credits from an approved mitigation bank within the service area of the proposed project.
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 proposal may affect the Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus) and red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis). The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
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 determination is that the proposed action would have no adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico managed fisheries since the project site is located ~3.4 miles inland from the closest major tributary to the Gulf of Mexico, the Caloosahatchee River.
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 will be required from the South Florida Water Management District.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919 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, Ms. Muriel Blaisdell, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310; by electronic mail at Muriel.M.Blaisdell@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (239) 334-0797; or, by telephone at (239) 334-1975, ext. 33.
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 U.S. 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.