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: Mr. David Torres
FL Star Investments, LLC
7742 Alico Road
Fort Myers, Florida, 33912
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Orange Creek-Whiskey Creek watershed. The project site is located along Van Buren Street, Section 29, Township 44 S, Range 25 E, Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate 75 South take exit 138 towards Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (State Route 82). Turn right at the end of ramp onto Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and proceed for approximately 2.3 miles. Turn left onto Veronica South Shoemaker Boulevard and proceed for approximately 1 mile. Turn left onto Canal Street and proceed approximately 0.2 mile. Turn right onto Van Buren Street and proceed approximately 0.1 mile to the project site.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26.62500°
Basic: Industrial Development
Overall: To construct a warehouse, storage facility, and associated infrastructure, including a stormwater management system, in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 13.28 acres site includes a 6.11 acres wetland system that consists of a palustrine emergent freshwater system. The onsite vegetation consists of Carolina Willow (Salix caroliniana), Marsh pennywort (Hydrocotyle spp.), Spadeleaf (Centella asiatica), and Torpedo grass (Panicum repens). The existing area surrounding the project site consists of similar industrial developments and commercial developments. The project site was cleared in the early 1990’s and has been utilized as a staging area for surrounding developments. The Lee County Fleet Management facility is located directly across Van Buren Street east of the project site.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge 19,709 cubic yards of fill material into 6.11 acres of freshwater emergent wetlands for the construction of the industrial development. Additionally, the applicant seeks authorization to excavate 4,626 cubic yards of fill material from 0.96 acre of freshwater emergent wetlands for the construction of an on-site stormwater 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:
Due to the location of the wetland areas uniformly across the property, the applicant has determined development is not possible without wetland impacts. The functional quality of the on-site wetlands have been degraded by mowing and maintenance activities as well as altered hydrology from surrounding development and past clearing and filling activities on-site. Alternative sites were considered; however, it was determined this project site was considered ideal due to its location within the existing industrial area and the surrounding similar developments. Off-site alternatives were considered, but they were of higher ecological value.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant proposes to purchase the appropriate amount of compensatory wetland mitigation credits from the Little Pine Island Mitigation Bank.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has determined the permit area has been extensively modified by previous work and there is little likelihood a historic property may be affected.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus), Red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis), and Wood stork (Mycteria americana). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The Corps has completed an evaluation of the impacts the work may have on the Florida Panther (Felis concolor coryi). The Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Panther Effect Determination Key, February 19, 2007 (Panther Key). Use of the Panther Key resulted in the following sequential determination: A>B-May Effect since the project is not located in a focal area, but is greater than 1 acre and will have a net increase and/or change in vehicle traffic patterns. However, the project site is located in a heavily urbanized area with numerous existing industrial and commercial developments. Therefore, any increase in vehicle traffic from the project would not significantly alter the existing vehicle traffic patterns of the area. The Corps initial determination is the project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the Florida Panther. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This project is located above mean high water and does not require consultation under EFH.
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 South Florida Water Management District. The proposed project is currently under review, File No. 170526-12.
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 Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 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.
QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Allison C. Murphy, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd., Fort Myers, Florida, 33919; by electronic mail at Allison.C.Murphy@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (239) 334-0797; or, by telephone at (239) 334-1975 ext. 0008.
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 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. The proposed project is currently under review by the South Florida Water Management District, File No. 170526-12.
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.