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.
730 NW 107th Avenue, Suite 300
Miami, FL 33172
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project site is an undeveloped parcel located south of Northwest 170th Street, east of Northwest 97th Avenue and west of Interstate 75, approximately 1.2-miles east of the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike (HEFT), legally described as an unplatted parcel located in Section 16, Township 52 south, Range 40 east in Hialeah, Miami-Dade County, Florida (Folio #04-2016-000-0020).
Directions to the site are as follows: From the HEFT, take the North Okeechobee Road exit. Travel to Northwest 138th Street and head north and east approximately 1.3 miles to Northwest 97th Avenue. Travel north up NW 97th Avenue, about 1.75 miles to Northwest 169th Street a gated dirt road on the right. This is the entry access to the Site. The site abuts NW 97th Avenue about 250 feet to the south. Accessing the Site via NW 169th avenue to the east about 700-800 feet to the primitive trail that goes around the quarry pond.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is for a multi-family residential development.
Overall: The overall project purpose is for a multi-family residential development with associated infrastructure and storm water retention within the City of Hialeah, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is an approximately 88.21-acre undeveloped lot in a residential and agricultural area west of Interstate 75. The subject property is surrounded by an anthropogenic landscape of converted natural systems, comprised of: past mined lands in various states of succession, low intensity agricultural land, and residential developments across I-75. The site is bordered to the north by NW 170th Street, and vacant parcels further north. Directly to the east is I-75 with residential developments immediately beyond. To the south are residential developments in various stages of construction. To the west is Northwest 97th Avenue across which are by low intensity agricultural lands.
The subject property is a highly altered from natural conditions as a consequence of being a former quarry with a lake, in the northeast quadrant. Currently the lake is ±24.58 acres and will be re-shaped to ±21.80 acres, including 7.0 acres of fill. The majority of the site (44.75 acres) is covered by melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia) dominated wetlands, with minimal understory away from upland edges. Trunks show consistent water marks indicating surface water fluctuations of a few inches throughout the year, with standing water probably now present continuously. The latter point is also supported by the lack of recruitment of young melaleuca within the forest stands, even in gap areas created by fallen trees. There is a primitive roadway entering the property and around the lake created during past earthwork. Adjacent to this roadway are both mounds and depressions created during quarry earthworks. The depressions have recruited wetland plants, and have freshwater marsh characteristics. Invasive-exotic species – Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia) and Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolia) -- and grasses dominate the mounded areas. The marsh areas (3.59 acres) were dominated by maiden cane (Panicum hemitomon), Spikerush (Eleocharis spp.), and pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata), with sparsely spaced wax myrtle and saltbush. The edges of the marsh occasionally had giant leather fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium). The occasional deep edge of the marsh would have patches of cattail (Typha lattifolia). Other occasional species present included pickerelweed (Pontedaria cordata), duck potato (Sagittaria latifolia), shield fern (Thelypteris dentata), and yellow-eyed grass (Xyris caroliniana). Soils showed water at depths of 6-12 inches on the higher elevations, with soil saturation at low points.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil survey completed in 2012, suggests the parcel naturally was comprised of hydric soils including Dania muck, Lauderhill muck, and Plantation muck along with non-hydric Udorthents -water complex.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge 1,547,268 cubic yards of clean fill over approximately 48.34 acres of freshwater wetlands and 7 acres of surface waters for the construction of a multi-family residential development with associated buildings, driveways, lake, landscaping, parking, roadways, amenities, and stormwater treatment. Work is proposed in waters of the United States in accordance with the attached site plans. (7 pages).
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:
Based on the other development requirements such as roads, parking, stormwater lakes, sidewalks and green spaces, 43.53 acres is available for residential construction, which accounts for less than half the site (49%). The available gross residential building area is limited with regards to the total site acreage. The footprint per residential unit has been reduced by having townhomes and row houses in primary parts of the make-up of the mix of residential units.
The wetlands proposed for impact are of very low quality and do not provide high-quality habitat for native wildlife. Preserving these wetlands would not provide a high level of wetland function.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
If it is determined that the issuance of a DA permit is appropriate, compensatory mitigation would be satisfied via a contribution to the Hole-in-the-Donut Mitigation Bank (HID) or Florida Power and Light Everglades Mitigation Bank (EMB). To offset anticipated impacts to 48.34 acres of wetlands, the applicant has proposed to purchase the appropriate number of mitigation bank credits from HID or EMB.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: 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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has determined the proposal “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), Everglades Snail Kite (Rostrahmus sociabilis plumbeus), Florida Bonneted Bat (Eumops floridanus) and Wood Stork (Mycteria americana). The Corps will request Fish and Wildlife's concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined the proposal will not affect any other threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat other that the ones listed above.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This notice initiates consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996. The project is located within freshwater wetlands and would have no impacts on tidally influenced waters. Therefore, the proposed action would have no impact on EFH or Federally-managed fisheries within Biscayne Bay. The final determination relative to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to review by and coordination with NMFS.
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 Miami Permits Section, 9900 S.W. 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida 33176 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, Albert Gonzalez, in writing at the Miami Permits Section, 9900 S.W. 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida 33176; by electronic mail at Albert.Gonzalez@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (305) 526-7184; or, by telephone at (305) 779-6055.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. 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. By means of this notice, we are soliciting comments on the potential effects of the project on threatened or endangered species or their habitat
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 of 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 decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act 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.