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) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
APPLICANT: H. Robert Eggleston III
8902 N Dale Mabry Hwy Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33614
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Hunter Spring Run, Crystal River-Homosassa River Frontal watershed. The WaWa Gas Station is located at US 19 & SR 44, in Section 21, Township 18 South, Range 17 East, Cristal River, Citrus County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: To access the project area take Suncoast parkway north and merge into State Road (SR) 98 West Ponce De Leon Blvd. Turn right onto US 19 (SR 98) North Suncoast Blvd and travel approximately 13 miles north. The project is located at north of the intersection of US 19 & SR 44 Gulf to Lake Highway.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Gasoline Station
Overall: To construct infrastructure and a stormwater management system for the construction of a Gasoline Service Station & Store.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area includes a 1.01-acre restaurant site, a 4.29 acre vacant tract (Jacobs Trust) and a .067 acre vacant portion of the larger Crystal River Middle School property. The 1.01 acre site is completely paved and has no on-site stormwater treatment system. Land use maps show most the Jacobs tract and the school board site as stream and lake swamp, FLUCCS 6150. This land use type is usually found on but not restricted to river, creek and lake floodplain or overflow areas. This category has a wide variety of predominantly hardwood species of which are red maple, river birch, water oak, sweetgum, willows, tupelos, water hickory, bays, and ash and button bush.
The wetland is a mixed hardwood swamp with bay, red maple, sweet gum, black gum, laurel oak and cabbage palm.
On the north side of the Jacobs Trust tract and the school board property is a canal that runs east/west. There is also a ditch/canal that goes into the Jacobs Trust tract perpendicular to the north canal. The habitat on the south side is completely developed and there is a road on the east side.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization fill ±0.893 acres of waters of the United States in the form of wetlands for the development of a 3.35 acre property for the construction of a Wawa Gas Service Station. The project involves demolishing the restaurant and constructing a WaWa store. The wetland fill will isolate 0.02 acres of the wetland owned by the Suncoast Credit Union which is included in the UMAM calculations for 0.913 acres of impact.
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 worked diligently to minimize the impacts to the wetland and setback.
The Wawa layout took into consideration the natural site characteristics, projected customer traffic, and the nature of the customers expected for the demographics for this specific location. Wawa is utilizing its standard Florida prototype (f85) which consistent of a convenience store that is 6,119sf. Wawa operationally needs to have 50 parking spaces within a driveways length of the store. The parking count number is imperative given the customer counts they've seen in the over 100 stores they now operate in Florida. Given the narrow site characteristics for the southern portion of this project site where the store is located, Wawa is unable to place a row of parking along the south eastern boundary of the convenience store. This left Wawa with no choice but to add parking to the north side of the store in order to meet the necessary operational parking count. Wawa has created a designated boat/RV parking area as it is projected that there will be a lot of boat trailer traffic for this location given the proximity to the Gulf of
Mexico and Crystal River. Moving the furthest north row of parking any further east will= create dangerous traffic conflicts with the boat parking area. The 100-year floodplain compensation has required a larger pond than originally estimated. As shown on the revised construction plans, the flood plain compensation and storm water pond occupies the entire upland habitat on the north side of the driveway to 6th Avenue.
The size and location of these ponds are preventing the applicant from moving the parking from the north side of the building to the east and north of the trailer/RV parking spaces.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
There is not adequate habitat on site to compensate for this wetland impact. The filling into the wetland prevents a 25 feet setback to minimize secondary impacts. The loss of function to the wetland due to secondary impacts is provided on the UMAM analysis. The applicant is proposing to purchase 0.50 credits from the Upper Coastal/Old Florida Mitigation Bank: 0.486 credits for the wetland fill and 0.006 credits for the secondary impact. The applicant has a letter of availability and or reservation letter from the mitigation bank.
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 Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the (NLAA) the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). Additionally the Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), and the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) or their designated critical habitat.
Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi): By letter dated 25 January 2010 and addendum dated 13 August 2013, the FWS states that projects analyzed with the 25 January 2010 version of the Indigo Snake Key in which the Corps reaches a “may affect, not likely to adversely affect” determination (A>B>C), the FWS hereby concurs with the Corps' determination in accordance with 50 CFR 402.14(b) 1, and no further consultation with the FWS is required.
Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens): The project area is within the consultation area for the Florida scrub jay, however there is no suitable habitat for the species. The Corps has made the preliminary determined the proposal would have “no effect” on the Florida scrub jay or its designated critical habitat. This determination is based on review of the Species Conservation Guideline, consultation maps and information available about the species’ preferred habitat.
Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis): The Corps has determined that the proposed project “no effect” the RCW. The project occurs within the Consultation area of the endangered RCW, however No suitable habitat types exist on-site for the RCW, there are no open areas preferred by RCW’s for foraging and nest tree development. The nearest documented active RCW colonies 8 miles southeast and 9 miles north of the proposed project. This determination is based on review of the Species Conservation Guideline, consultation maps and information available about the species’ preferred habitat.
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 as the project is inland of fisheries resources. 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 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, Edgar Garcia, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (813) 769-7061; or, by telephone at (813) 769-7062.
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.